Ben & Jerry’s is being pressured by Israel’s parliament to end its boycott.
On Wednesday, three-quarters of Israel’s parliament urged Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Holdings Inc. to reconsider its decision to stop selling ice cream in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Ninety Knesset members signed a letter denouncing the boycott issued to the Vermont-based ice cream manufacturer, urging them to “rethink this choice and to remedy this injustice.”
“This decision to boycott Israeli towns and cities, as well as the company’s attempt to impose this boycott on the Israeli manufacturer immediately, is an immoral and regrettable decision that harms all residents of Judea and Samaria, as well as hundreds of Israeli workers, Jews and Arabs alike,” the members wrote in the letter.
Arab parties and other dovish politicians declined to sign the petition, according to ABC News.
On July 19, Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would no longer sell its products in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in order to exert pressure on Israel on behalf of Palestinians. The corporation did not, however, totally boycott the West Bank, stating that it would remain in Israel.
Both Israeli officials and pro-Palestinian groups reacted negatively to the boycott. The latter claimed that the ice cream company was not doing enough, while Israel denounced the action as anti-Semitic.
On Wednesday, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations and the United States, Gilad Erdan, informed the United Nations Security Council that Israel was partly to blame for Ben and Jerry’s decision.
“It’s no surprise that corporations like Ben and Jerry’s and Unilever allow themselves to target out Israel for boycott when this council fails to take significant action against the world’s worst human rights violators like Iran and Syria and instead singles out the world’s only Jewish state,” he said.
“These corporations have no moral qualms about doing business with nations that are among the world’s worst human rights violators while enforcing an anti-Semitic boycott on the Jewish state.
“In face of these double standards, U.N. bodies and firms like Ben and Jerry’s claim to be driven by high ideals and objective standards melt away like ice cream in the summer sun.”
Around 700,000 Israelis live in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, which Israel took in the 1967 Mideast conflict and which the international community considers illegal. The Palestinians, who have widespread international support, claim both territories as components of a future independent state, according to the Associated Press.