Israel launches pressure campaign against Ben and Jerry’s after company announced boycott of Israeli settlements

On Tuesday Axios reported that the Israeli government has assembled a special task force to pressure the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company as well as its head company, Unilever, to reverse their decision to boycott Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

In early July the ice cream company along with Unilever put a halt to selling their products in the west bank declaring it as “Israeli occupied palestinian territory.” Isreals President, Isaac Herzog made an analysis on the issue, “The boycott of Israel is a new sort of terrorism, economic terrorism,” Herzog said, as quoted by Haaretz. “Terrorism tries to harm the citizens of Israel and the economy of Israel. We must oppose this boycott and terrorism in any form.”

Israeli authorities are worried the flow through of Ben & Jerry’s will inspire different global corporations to take comparable steps to distinguish among Israel and the West Bank settlements. A labeled Foreign Ministry cable, visible through Axios, makes clear the government’s desires to ship a message. The Israeli Embassy in Washington and the Israeli Consulates across the U.S. had been requested to push for the activation of anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) rules in numerous states and to interact with governors, mayors, individuals of Congress and state officials like lawyers general.

According to RT news, “Israel’s president has been targeted by a barrage of social media snark after he bravely compared Ben & Jerry’s decision, to stop selling its ice cream in the occupied Palestinian territories, to terrorism.” After the conflict between Gaza and Israel elapsed, the pressure on the company rose which led to an imminent boycott on the settlements. “Israel’s president isn’t alone in using such strong language to push back against the ice cream company. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett claimed that Ben & Jerry’s had rebranded as an “antisemitic ice cream.” (RT news).

Tel Aviv demanded that the US government take action to punish the company. Israel’s United Nations Representative, Gilad Erdan, sent a letter to 35 US governors to do so. Gilad Erdan sent this letter to US states such as Florida, Texas, New Jersey and New York. These states have taken further actions regarding Israel and the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream company. Unilever declared that it remains fully committed to keeping the business dealings in Israel, however only in the pre-1967 israeli territory (sputnik news).



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