The increasingly political ice cream maker, Ben & Jerry’s, is being accused by Israeli President Isaac Herzog of committing “economic terrorism” amid a new ban that impacts the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The Vermont-based ice-cream maker folded to pressure from social media on Monday and halted its sales in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
“The boycott of Israel is a new sort of terrorism, economic terrorism,” Herzog said on Wednesday, “Terrorism tries to harm the citizens of Israel and the economy of Israel. We must oppose this boycott and terrorism in any form,” the president explained to the Israeli paper, Haaretz.
The leader announced that the move amounts to a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.
Herzog’s comments come just one day after Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett weighed in and warned Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, that the ice cream maker’s ban “is an action that has severe consequences” and that Israel could “take strong action.”
Prime Minister Bennett spoke with Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever which owns Ben & Jerry’s and 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.
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) July 20, 2021
The prime minister’s office said they would consider taking strong legal action against the ice cream maker to rebut any boycott directed against its citizens.
The controversial Ben & Jerry’s announcement came amid “concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.” Evidently, selling ice cream in Occupied Palestinian Territory “is inconsistent with our [Ben & Jerry’s] values.”
— Ben & Jerry’s (@benandjerrys) July 19, 2021
This sort of woke corporatism is nothing new, but it’s an interesting move by the company considering Israel has occupied the region since 1967.
Bennett said the company has rebranded as an “antisemitic ice cream, ” adding, “There are many brands of ice cream, but we only have one country.”
“The boycott of Israel – a democracy surrounded by isles of terrorism – reflects a complete loss of direction,” Bennett stated, calling the decision “morally wrong” and “financially wrong.”
While Unilever owns Ben & Jerry’s, it has a non-traditional agreement with the company that allows its board to control its own social mission and policies.
“[Unilever has] always recognized the right of [Ben & Jerry’s] and its independent Board to take decisions about its social mission. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a very complex and sensitive situation. As a global company, Unilever’s brands are available in more than 190 countries and in all of them, our priority is to serve consumers with essential products that contribute to their health, wellbeing and enjoyment. We remain fully committed to our presence in Israel, where we have invested in our people, brands and business for several decades,” Unilever said in a statement.
The company, however, has committed to remain in all other parts of Israel.
Israeli people are far from the only demographic upset by this developing news. Many social media users took to Twitter to voice their disdain for the ice cream company’s decision:
#Benandjerrys has now decided they know more about Jerusalem than the Israelis. If Ben & Jerry’s wants to have a meltdown & boycott Israel, OK is ready to respond. Oklahoma has an anti-boycott of Israel law in place
— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) July 21, 2021
You could say the strategy was half-baked
— (((Steve C))) (@Steverc99) July 20, 2021
A reminder that Ben & Jerry’s still sells ice cream in China and hasn’t said anything about Hong Kong or the Uyghurs. https://t.co/0p1NLJwEY7
— tedfrank 💉 (@tedfrank) July 19, 2021
Wouldn’t eat it if they paid me anyway!
— heroralman, Veteran,Naughty as Hell Patriot! (@oralwonder) July 19, 2021
They could stop selling their shitty ice cream everywhere and life would go on unaffected.
— Ray Clarkston (@rclarkston) July 19, 2021
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