Israel promises to “act in aggressive way ” against Ben & Jerry’s

of Israel prime minister he promised Tuesday to “act in aggressive way ” against the decision of Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling his ice cream in Territories occupied by Israel, as the country’s ambassador to the United States urged dozens of state governors to punish society in based on anti-boycott legislation.

The strong reaction reflected concerns in Israel than the ice cream maker decision he could lead other companies a follow suit. is also It seemed set the stage for a protracted public relationships and legal battle.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office he said he spoke with Alan Jope, managing director of Ben & Jerry’s parent Unilever company, and expressed concern over what it called a “clearly anti-Israeli” step.” Said that move it would have “serious consequences, legal and otherwise”, and Israel “will act in aggressively aggressive against all boycott direct actions against its citizens “.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Ned Price declined for comment directly on the company decision. But he said the United States rejected the boycott movement against Israel, saying “single unfairly” out” Country.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations and the United States, Gilad Erdan, has sent letters to 35 governors whose states have laws against boycott Israel by asking them to take in consider the possibility of speaking out against Ben & Jerry’s decision “and taking any other relevant ones steps, Including in relating to the laws of your state and the business relationship between Ben & Jerry’s and your state. “

Erdan said Israel sees society decision as “de facto adoption” of anti-Semitic practices and progress of delegitimization of the Jewish state and dehumanization of the Jew people. “

“While the Arab nations cancel their ten years boycott of the Jewish state e sign agreements of pace with Israel, and cultural and economic cooperation in our region is growing, American companies with radical ideological agendas cannot be let go against the policy of the United States and take action against normalization e pace”wrote Erdan.” Furthermore, the, past showed that citizens of Israel is never the only one who they suffer from such boycotts as they also significantly harm the Palestinians “.

on Monday announcement, Ben & Jerry’s said they would stop selling ice cream in the occupied and disputed West Bank East Jerusalem. The company, known for his social activism, said such sales were “inconsistent” with our values. “

The statement was one of the strongest reproaches from a high profile company of Settlement policies of Israel in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which he controlled for more of an half-century after capturing them in war in Middle East of 1967.

The Palestinians, with broad international support, claims both areas as parties of a future independent state. Israeli settlements now home to about 700,000 Israelis, they are widely considered illegal and obstacles to pace.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem after the 1967 war and considers the whole city its undivided capital, even if the annexation is not internationally recognized. is says the West Bank is disputed territory e says his final state should be solved in negotiations. The international communityhowever, it largely considers both areas as occupied territory.

In its statement, Ben & Jerry’s said it informed its longtime Israeli partner that it will not renew its licensing agreement when it is expires at the end of 2022.

While noting that it would not serve areas occupied by Israel, it said it would continue to supply ice cream in Israel “through a different agreement”. A number of companies, in notably the beverage company SodaStream, they closed the factories in the occupied West Bank, but few have targeted Israeli consumers living there.

is remains unclear how Ben & Jerry’s plans do that. Israeli supermarket chains, a primary distribution channel for the cleverly named flavors of ice cream, operate in settlements, and under Israeli law, people or companies that boycott agreements can be cited.

On the global phase, Israel makes no distinction between settlements and the rest of Country. when home-Airbnb rental company announced in 2018 that would no longer be list property in Settlements in West Bank, Israel severely condemned the move as a part of broader Palestinian leadership boycott movement against Israel.

Israel’s strategy affairs minister at the time, Gilad Erdan encouraged Israelis harmed by the decision sue Airbnb. Several months later, after continued Israeli criticism and a US federal lawsuit filed by Israeli Americans, the company reversed course.

Erdan, now Israel’s ambassador to the United States, said Tuesday he had sent a letter to the governors of 35 states that have passed laws against anti-Israeli boycott activities.

“Quick and determined action must be taken to counter these counters discriminatory and anti-Semitic actions, “he wrote.” We must stick together and send an unequivocal message that this will not be tolerated. “

But also some of Supporters of Israel said the company was on Solid ground.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the pro-Israeli liberal group J-Street said it was not anti-Semitism to distinguish between Israel and the settlements built on occupied territory.

“Instead of demonize and attack companies and individuals for make principles decisions”he said,” these leaders would make a greater contribution to the fight against anti-Semitism helping to peacefully end the unjust and harmful occupation “.

The dispute has turned Israeli ice cream market inside latest front in The long run of Israel battle against the BDS movement, a Palestinian-led base campaign which promotes boycotts, divestments and sanctions against Israeli businesses, cultural institutions and universities.

BDS organizers say they are protesting what they think call Israeli oppression of Palestinians in a campaign modeled on the anti-apartheidid movement in South Africa. His non-violent message resonated with the audience around the world, Including on many US college campuses.

But Israel says the movement has a deeper agenda aimed at delegitimizing and destroying the country.

Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of BDS, said the movement urged Ben & Jerry’s to withdraw out of Israel for years. He called his decision “quite significant”.

“IS’ shows you can’t have business with an apartheid state without being complicit, “he said.” We expect … more socially responsible companies a follow dressed, perhaps less publicly.

Unilever, which acquired Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, which appeared on Tuesday in distance himself from the ice cream maker. In a statement, Unilever noted that under the purchase agreement, recognized Ben & Jerry’s independence and the right to “take” decisions on his social mission. “

“We remain fully committed to our presence in Israel, where we have invested in our people, brands and business for several decades, “he said.

Eugene Kontorovich, a professor at George Mason University’s Scalia Law School, said that despite such assurances, global society may be vulnerable to US state laws banning anti-Israel boycott activities.

Kontorovich, who consulted with legislators in some states that have adopted the laws have said that treat anti-Israel boycotts as a form of discrimination. Violating these laws, he said, could make both Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever inadmissible for state contracts or quick states a drop Unilever shares when I grow up pension funds.

“They might see that mixing ice cream and anti-Israel politics it may not be the best an idea, “he said.

The battle arrives against the background of shifting the US attitude towards Israel. Where Israel once enjoyed solid bipartisanship support in the United States, the country has transformed in a division issue in recent years, with Republicans strongly supporting it and Democrats, in particular young liberal voters, more and more supporting the Palestinians.

Several factors have fueled this trend, including former The close alliance of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with former President Donald Trump.

Michael Oren, who served as Netanyahu’s ambassador to the United States, he said the trends were worrying for Israel.

While Ben & Jerry’s said decision it posed no immediate threat to Israel’s rugged people economy, said that boycott movement could contribute to “constant erosion” of The legitimacy of Israel “.

“Our enemies know they can not destroy us with all those missiles, “he told reporters.” They can … destroy us economically through sanctions and boycotts. And this is where BDS lays a long-term threat.”

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