The Israeli government were left fuming at US-based ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s decision to withdraw their product from Occupied Palestinian Territories.
According to Al-Jazeera, Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett frostily declared that Ben & Jerry’s would face “serious consequences” for the move, and Israel would “act aggressively” against “boycott actions directed against its citizens”.
Bennett has said he has spoken with Unilever’s CEO — the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, which was bought in 2000 on the proviso the ice cream maker had a level of autonomy from the mega corporation to protect the company’s “social mission”.
Furious Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid also weighed in on the decision, taking to Twitter to accuse the popular ice cream outlet of “surrendering to anti-semitism”, and said he would be asking 30 US states — which have passed anti-Boycott Divestment Sanctions legislation — to act against Ben & Jerry’s.
Over 30 states in the United States have passed anti-BDS legislation in recent years. I plan on asking each of them to enforce these laws against Ben & Jerry's. They will not treat the State of Israel like this without a response.
— יאיר לפיד – Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) July 19, 2021
He said in a tweet: “Ben & Jerry’s decision represents shameful surrender to antisemitism, to BDS and to all that is wrong with the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse. We will not be silent.”
He continued: “Over 30 states in the United States have passed anti-BDS legislation in recent years. I plan on asking each of them to enforce these laws against Ben & Jerry’s. They will not treat the State of Israel like this without a response.”
However, the BDS movement have embraced this move as a sweet victory, and welcomed the decision, but has however called for Ben & Jerry’s to cease all trade in Israel.
It said in a statement posted on Twitter: “We hope Ben and Jerry’s has understood that, in harmony with its social justice commitments, there can be no business as usual in apartheid Israel,” BDS said in a statement.
— BDS movement (@BDSmovement) July 19, 2021
Ben & Jerry’s have been vocal about its support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and other social justice movements, and has been subject to a longstanding campaign to stop selling its iconic ice creams in occupied land.
It said in a statement posted on the website: “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). We also hear and recognise the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”
The ice cream company will continue to trade with Israel actual under a new agreement, but will not be renewing its current licence agreement.