Israel promises to ‘act vigorously’ in response to the ban on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sales.
Israel’s prime minister has vowed to “act aggressively” in response to Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop selling its ice cream in Israeli-controlled territory.
It occurred as the country’s envoy to the United States asked dozens of state governors to use anti-boycott legislation to punish the corporation.
The outpouring mirrored Israeli concerns that the ice cream maker’s decision would inspire other businesses to follow suit. It also appeared to be setting the ground for a long-running public relations and judicial war.
According to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office, he met with Alan Jope, CEO of Ben & Jerry’s parent firm Unilever, and expressed worry about a “obviously anti-Israel step.”
Israel “would act firmly against all boycott efforts conducted against its nationals,” he added, adding that the move would have “severe legal and other implications.”
Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department in Washington, declined to comment directly on the company’s decision. However, he stated that the United States opposes the boycott movement against Israel, claiming that it “unfairly singles out” the country.
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations and the United States, wrote to 35 governors whose states have laws prohibiting boycotts of Israel, urging them to consider speaking out against Ben & Jerry’s decision “and taking any other relevant steps, including in relation to your state laws and Ben & Jerry’s commercial dealings with your state.”
According to Mr. Erdan, Israel views the company’s action as “the de-facto acceptance of anti-Semitic activities and progress of the de-legitimization of the Jewish state and the dehumanisation of the Jewish people.”
“As Arab countries end their decades-long boycott of Israel and sign peace treaties with the Jewish state, and cultural and economic cooperation in our region grows, American companies with radical ideological agendas cannot be allowed to go against US policy and act against normalization and peace,” Mr Erdan wrote.
“Moreover, history has shown that Israeli people are seldom the only ones who suffer from boycotts like this, which disproportionately afflict Palestinians.”
Ben & Jerry’s said Monday that it would no longer sell ice cream in the occupied West Bank and contested east Jerusalem. Such sales, according to the corporation, which is known for its social activism. “The summary has come to an end.”