Unilever is embroiled in a series with Israel after its ice cream business, Ben & Jerry’s, announced that it would no longer sell its products in territories occupied by the land but claimed by Palestine.
Following the boycott announcement yesterday (July 20), Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke to Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, which has owned the US ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s since 2000.
In a statement from the prime minister’s office following the call, Bennett said „that he regards Ben & Jerry’s decision to boycott Israel with the utmost seriousness, adding that this is a subsidiary of Unilever that is clearly anti-Israeli Took step „.
In the statement, Bennett added that „from the point of view of the State of Israel, this is an action that has grave consequences, including legal consequences, and that it will take firm action against any boycott directed against its citizens.”
The Israel Foreign Ministry also condemned Ben & Jerry’s decision on what the company calls „Occupied Palestinian Territory.” The ministry described Ben & Jerry’s move as „a surrender to continued and aggressive pressure from extreme anti-Israeli groups” and said the company was cooperating with „economic terrorism”.
The decision by Ben & Jerry to stop selling its products in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is said to have caused unrest internally. Yesterday, the company’s independent board of directors criticized statements made by its parent company and by Ben & Jerry’s itself that the ice cream business would continue to sell its products in the rest of Israel.
In an interview with the US broadcaster NBC newsThe ice cream company’s chairman Anuradha Mittal said the line in the Israel Remaining Declaration was not agreed and Unilever had no authority to make such a promise.
Ben & Jerry’s, who have taken political positions in the past on issues such as climate change and the Black Lives Matter movement, may now face backlash from supporters of Israel in the US.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Gilad Erdan, has sent letters to the governors of 35 states that have laws against boycotting Israel asking them to sanction Ben and Jerry under their own legislation.
The Times of Israel The newspaper reported that Erdan wrote in the letter that it was „boycotting hundreds of thousands of citizens living in Judea and Samaria,” „de facto adopting anti-Semitic practices and promoting the delegitimization of the Jewish state and the dehumanization of the Jewish people.” “Be.” He used the biblical terms for the occupied territories.
The ice cream maker said its measures would take effect in late 2022 when its contract with the current Israeli maker and distributor expires.
Just Food asked Unilever to respond to Prime Minister Bennett’s comments and Ambassador Erdan’s call for sanctions against Ben & Jerry’s, but the company said there were no further updates after yesterday’s statement.
In this statement, Unilever said: “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a very complex and delicate situation. As a global company, Unilever brands are available in more than 190 countries and in all of them our priority is to provide consumers with essential products that contribute to their health, wellbeing and enjoyment.
“We remain fully committed to our presence in Israel, where we have invested in our people, brands and business for several decades.
“Ben & Jerry’s was acquired by Unilever in 2000. As part of the acquisition agreement, we have always recognized the right of the brand and its independent board of directors to make decisions about their social mission. We also welcome that Ben & Jerry’s will stay in Israel. ”