Lapid slams ‘antisemitic’ Ben & Jerry’s move to stop selling in settlements

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Lapid slams ‘antisemitic’ Ben & Jerry’s move to stop selling in settlements

The ice cream giant said on Monday that carrying on with its current arrangement would be 'inconsistent with our values'

Michael Daventry is Jewish News’s foreign and broadcast editor

Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid has denounced the decision by Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling its products in West Bank settlements as a “disgraceful capitulation”.

He said he would seek further measures against the US ice cream maker after it announced on Monday that it was responding to “the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners”.

The decision was hailed by BDS, the Israel boycott movement.

“Ben & Jerry’s decision is a disgraceful capitulation to antisemitism, to BDS, to all that is evil in the anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish discourse,” Lapid said in a statement.

“We won’t be silent. Over 30 states in the United States have passed anti-BDS legislation in recent years.

“I plan on asking each of them to enforce these laws against Ben & Jerry’s. So they won’t treat us in such ways.”

The ice cream maker had earlier said it believed it was “inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).”

It said it was ending its Israeli distributor’s licence next year but that its products would stay in Israel under a different arrangement.

Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett said the decision showed Ben & Jerry’s had decided to rebrand as an “antisemitic ice cream” while his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted: “Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy.”

Ben & Jerry’s owners are both Jewish, and have long sided with so-called progressive causes in the US.

In 2018 they received criticism for promoting the Women’s March and Linda Sarsour—Women’s March board member— who is a BDS supporter who once tweeted “Nothing is creepier than Zionism.”

Today the company operates globally as a fully owned subsidiary of Unilever.

It has faced calls to stop selling their produce in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem for over a decade.

A Ben & Jerry’s tweet in May 2021 asking “Any mint lovers out there?” prompted hundreds of responses from around the world criticising the company for selling their ice cream outside the original boundaries of Israel and in Israeli settlements located in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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