Pressure had been on ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s for years to make it in Israel. Now the company gives in. Israel’s government threatens consequences.
The US ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s has drawn anger from the Israeli government. The Vermont-based company has announced that it will stop selling its products in the Israeli-occupied areas of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Foreign Minister Jair Lapid accused the company of giving in to anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda. Ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a boycott of ice cream.
The manufacturer, who is known for addressing social and political issues, justified the ban on sales with ethical reservations. Further distribution of its products in the occupied territories is “incompatible with the values of Ben & Jerry’s,” it said in a statement. Register and acknowledge the concerns of fans of the company and trusted partners.
“Shameful Surrender to Anti-Semitism”
The decision sparked outrage in Israel. Ex-Prime Minister Netanyahu wrote on Twitter: “Now we Israelis know which ice cream we CANNOT buy anymore.” Secretary of State Lapid said Ben & Jerry’s move represented a “shameful surrender to anti-Semitism, to BDS, and to anything wrong with anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse.”
BDS stands for “boycott, divestment and sanctions”. Disinvestments are the withdrawal of investments. The internationally active movement, which is supported by numerous celebrities, calls for an end to the occupation of the West Bank, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem and the complete equality of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel. Nonetheless, critics accuse the movement of spreading anti-Semitism in the guise of “criticism of Israel”.
Anti-Semitism in the guise of “criticism of Israel”
Lapid announced plans to take action against the company. He will be in touch with the 30+ states that have passed laws against the BDS movement and will urge that those laws now also be used against Ben & Jerry’s. “You will not treat the State of Israel that way without it going unanswered.”
Ben & Jerry’s has been the target of BDS criticism for years. Accordingly, the campaign also celebrated it as its success that the manufacturer decided to discontinue sales “in Israel’s illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land”. However, the licensee of the ice cream company in Israel has announced that it does not feel bound by the decision of the US parent company. “Ice cream is not part of politics,” says a statement. “We call on the Israelis to continue buying Israeli products that will secure hundreds of jobs in the south of the country.”