Unilever, the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, is facing backlash as a result of the ice cream maker’s boycott of Israel.
Unilever PLC has been linked to the decision of its ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling its products in the occupied territories of Israel.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett threatened Unilever Chief Executive Alan Jope of “serious consequences” if the company’s unit moved.
According to Bennett’s office, the prime minister “made it clear” how Unilever “had taken an obviously anti-Israel decision” by not renewing Ben & Jerry’s license arrangement with the Israeli partner after late 2022.
Bennett reportedly assured Jope that the country will “aggressively” respond to any attacks against Israelis. Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, said he has written to governors urging them to censure the ice cream maker. Erdan’s letter was addressed to 35 governors of states that had passed legislation prohibiting boycotts against Israel.
Yair Lapid, Israel’s foreign minister, has also urged the US to act. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Lapid has called for domestic action against the ice cream company under state legislation prohibiting government engagement with enterprises that take anti-Israel positions.
Unileveer could be exposed to legislation prohibiting boycotts of Israel, according to Eugene Kontorovich, a professor at George Mason University’s Scalia Law School. According to the report, violations might result in “both Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever being ineligible for state contracts or governments dropping Unilever shares from significant pension funds.”
Amichai Chikli, a politician, and Orna Barbivay, a cabinet minister, are among the Israeli leaders who have spoken out against Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever.
Several Jewish organizations in the United States have expressed displeasure with the decision, while others have defended it.
Selling its products in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory” is “inconsistent with our beliefs,” according to Ben & Jerry’s. The ice cream company may still operate in Israel under alternate circumstances, but board approval is required to carry out such a plan.
According to Reuters, tensions between Unilever and the independent board of Ben & Jerry’s have been high since news of the growing Israeli outrage emerged.
Anuradha Mittal, the board’s chair, stated that the board wished to issue a separate statement from its parent business regarding the cessation of product sales.
Unilever’s move to issue a statement without the board’s approval, according to Mittal, was a violation of the purchase agreements between the subsidiary and the parent firm. Mittal told NBC News that she is “saddened by the deception of it.”
Following Ben & Jerry’s, Unilever issued a comment. Brief News from Washington Newsday.