Jewish leaders in Israel and abroad slam Ben & Jerry’s Judea and Samaria boycott

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(Arutz Sheva) After the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company announced it was ending all sales in Judea and Samaria, caving to the BDS movement, Jewish sources in Israel and abroad were quick to denounce the move, pointing out its hypocritical treatment of the Jewish State.

Israel’s Minister of the Interior, Yamina’s MK Ayelet Shaked slammed the ice cream chain via a Twitter post, writing: “Your ice cream doesn’t sit well with us anyway,” and adding, “We’ll be just fine without you.”

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid responded to the move saying: “Ben & Jerry’s decision is a shameful surrender to anti-Semitism, BDS, to all that is evil in the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse. We will not allow them to silence us.”

“More than 30 American states have passed anti-BDS laws over the past years. I am going appeal to every one of them to [uphold their jurisdiction] and sanction Ben & Jerry’s. They will not get away with treating us like this without encountering a response,” warned Lapid.

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman posted a Facebook picture of himself having ice cream, with the inscription: “Nokdim (home to Liberman’s family in Gush Etzion, Judea) must receive the same treatment as Tel Aviv (pre-’67 Israeli borders). I’ve already found a better ice cream – a tastier one that refuses to boycott [Israel].”

Chairman of the Otzma Yehudit party, Itamar Ben-Gvir, joined a chorus of others ripping the decision. “This announcement shows the Israeli resilience that transcends above world anti-Semitism. We must continue to buy Ben & Jerry’s Israel. (The Israeli brand of the company which will continue offering their services in Judea and Samaria). I call on Jews in the Diaspora to stop buying Ben & Jerry’s. Those who boycott Jews using anti-Semitism will be boycotted back,” he said.

The Yesha Council responded to the resolution by encouraging Israelis to boycott the ice cream chain in response to its ruling.

“Unfortunately, Ben & Jerry’s has decided to boycott Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, and as a result force hundreds of Israeli employees in the south of the country out of their jobs. [We urge you to avoid doing business with companies boycotting hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens and offer our support for businesses who have refused to boycott a significant portion of our country]. We hope Ben & Jerry’s goes back on its discriminatory ruling, which makes such a sweet field look so bad,” it said in a statement.

“On hot summer days, we recommend that Israelis all over the country eat delicious, sweet Israeli-made ice creams, which don’t support laying off hundreds of our employees,” it added.

Mayor of the city of Ariel in Samaria, Eliyahu Shaviro, voiced his disappointment with the decision, writing:

“An unfortunate step by Ben & Jerry’s. A populist and backwards decision stemming from a narrow world view that ignores the reality in which Israelis and Palestinians work side-by-side in numerous professional fields. We strongly denounce the policy of boycotts and call on Ben & Jerry’s leadership to experience first-hand the fruitful cooperation [between Jews and Arabs], and get a taste of Israel’s top home-made ice creams.”

Spokeswoman of Samaria Regional Councilman, Yossi Dagan, Esther Silam Alush, quoted Dagan as saying: “Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria will continue to exist long after Ben & Jerry’s has melted.”

“We will not give up Samaria, the ancient kingdom of Israel, for ice cream,” continued Dagan. “Nor will we compromise Joshua’s alter or the ancient town of Shiloh for a McDonalds or hamburger,” he said.

“The people of Samaria and this country will continue standing firm long after Ben & Jerry’s is gone,” he asserted.

“We will not give in to this anti-Semitism, which also permeates the [Jewish community] of the United States. I call on all residents of the State of Israel and Samaria, as well as all supporters of Israel overseas, to stop buying [Ben & Jerry’s]. We will not succumb to threats from either left-wing NGOs or companies willing to boycott Israel in order to make certain individuals feel better. We will continue building in Samaria, enjoying a tradition of high-quality education and good ice cream – not necessarily Ben & Jerry’s.”

Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote in response to the ruling, “Now we, Israelis, know which ice cream NOT to buy.”

Israel activist and former Democratic New York State Assemblyman from Brooklyn’s Assembly district 48, Dov Hikind, accused the ice cream firm of hypocrisy, posting: “But Ben & Jerry’s will still sell their product in unoccupied Palestinian Territory despite the fact that if you’re LGBTQ there’s no way you can survive a day in Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin or Gaza! Because ‘consistency'”…

Unilever Israel said it was not aware of the decision.

“We are aware that Ben & Jerry’s has recently made an announcement. To be clear, Unilever Israel does not manage Ben & Jerry’s locally. The brand is run by a competitor’s business which owns the Ben & Jerry’s franchise in the Israeli market. Unilever Israel had no involvement in this decision. It was made by Ben & Jerry’s globally and its independent Board of Directors. We are very proud of our history in Israel and are fully committed to our long-term presence. We employ around 2,000 employees, the majority of which in our factories in Arad, Acre, Safed and Haifa. In the last decade alone, the company has invested in the Israeli market more than 1 billion NIS, and will continue to invest in its people, brands, and business in the local market.”

Israel’s foreign ministry also denounced Ben & Jerry’s father company, the Anglo-Dutch Unilever, for going along with the move.

“The company’s decision constitutes a surrender to ongoing and aggressive pressure from extreme anti-Israel groups. The company is voluntarily cooperating with economic terrorism, led by the BDS movement; an anti-Israeli movement with anti-Semitic undertones.”

“The decision is immoral and discriminatory, as it singles out Israel, harms both Israelis and Palestinians and encourages extremist groups who use bullying tactics. Not only does the decision not promote peace or a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it strengthens those who oppose reconciliation between the two nations and who call for the destruction of the State of Israel.”

“Unilever’s announcement cannot hide the fact that it decided to allow Ben & Jerry’s, a company it owns, to immorally boycott Israel. it is turning a blind eye to an injustice, when its statement relies on contractual clauses, rather then express an unequivocal moral stance against the BDS movement.”

“We call Ben & Jerry’s to withdraw its wrong decision.”

“We are confident that this wrong decision will resonate among Israel’s many friends worldwide.”

Others, both in Israel and around the world, were not so quick to come to the aid of the Jewish state, however.

The radical left-wing Peace Now organization released a statement on “Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop selling in the settlements.”

“[The] decision makes it clear that even if right-wing settlers continue to obscure the [difference between Judea and Samaria and pre-’67 Israel], the world clearly distinguishes between sovereign Israel and the occupied territories. International companies are interested in doing business with the State of Israel, but are unwilling to accept military rule over millions of Palestinians along with the settlement enterprise.”

“[Bennett’s] government is well aware of the enormous damage that the settlement enterprise is inflicting on the country. Anyone who wants to strengthen the Israeli economy by avoiding boycotts and international criticism will work to end the occupation [of Jewish-owned land in Judea and Samaria],” the group was quoted as saying.

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