PM Bennett Warns Unilever of Counteraction Following Ben & Jerry’s Boycott

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke on Tuesday spoke with Alan Jope, the CEO of Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s, following the company’s attempt at boycotting Judea and Samaria, and warned the global conglomorate that Israel would act against it. Photo by Shalev Shalom/TPS on 5 July, 2021

By: Aryeh Savir

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke on Tuesday spoke with Alan Jope, the CEO of Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s, following the company’s attempt at boycotting Judea and Samaria, and warned the global conglomorate that Israel would act against it.

Ben & Jerry’s announced Monday that it was ending sales in Israel as “we believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

“We have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year,” the company said.

Bennett “made it clear that he views with utmost gravity the decision by Ben & Jerry’s to boycott Israel and added that this is a subsidiary of Unilever, which has taken a clearly anti-Israel step,” his office stated.

He further emphasized that from the perspective of the State of Israel, this action “has severe consequences, including legal, and it will take strong action against any boycott directed against its citizens.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the US and the United Nations Gilad Erdan sent an urgent letter on Monday to 35 governors of states in the US that have laws against the boycott of Israel.

In his letter, Erdan asked the governors to take action against Ben & Jerry’s under the laws enacted in those states in recent years, noting that the decision is an anti-Israel decision that discriminates against Israeli citizens, but also harms the Arab population living in Judea and Samaria.

Erdan noted Israel’s success against a similar boycott launched by Airbnb in 2018 that ended quickly following joint pressure from Israel, American Jewry and the governors of the US states.

“While Arab countries are lifting the boycott of Israel and signing peace agreements with Israel, and cooperation in our region is growing, it is inconceivable that American companies with radical agendas will go against US policy and work against normalization and peace,” he wrote.

“I believe that a quick and determined counter-action must be taken against all those who boycott us in order to deal with such discriminatory and unjust actions. We must stand united and send an unequivocal message that we will not tolerate such conduct by commercial companies,” he added.

Over 30 US states have laws that prohibit it from contracting with companies that boycott Israel or are connected to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Similarly, Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid stated that Ben & Jerry’s decision “represents shameful surrender to anti-Semitism, to BDS and to all that is wrong with the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse. We will not be silent.”

“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,” he warned.

(TPS)

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