Ben & Jerry’s CEO in Israel, Avi Singer, tweeted Monday night asking Israeli consumers to continue to purchase his ice cream until the end of the term of his franchise from Ben & Jerry’s at the end of 2022. According to Singer, the reason he is losing his franchise has to do with his adamant refusal to boycott Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria.
“We continue to sell throughout Israel, and will not succumb to the pressure and boycott of Unilever (a British multinational consumer goods company headquartered in London – DI) and Ben & Jerry’s Global,” Singer clarified, adding, “Ice cream is not part of politics. We call on Israelis to continue to buy the Israeli products that support hundreds of workers in the south.”
The legendary Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company was founded in 1978 by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield and sold to Unilever in 2000. The company announced Monday that its management believes “it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners. (Ben & Jerry’s Joins BDS Boycott of Israel).”
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett responded to Ben & Jerry’s statement with a statement of his own, saying: “There are many ice cream brands, but only one Jewish state. Ben & Jerry’s has decided to brand itself as the anti-Israel ice cream. This decision is morally wrong and I believe that it will become clear that it is also commercially wrong. The boycott against Israel – a democracy surrounded by islands of terrorism – reflects a total loss of way. The boycott does not work and will not work, and we will fight it with full force.”
And former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted: “Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy.”
But according to Singer, sales in the liberated territories will continue for as long as he owns the franchise in Israel and employs hundreds of Israelis in his Kiryat Malachi plant in the northern Negev, which he started in 1982.
“In the end, this is a war of the Israeli government against the boycotts and the BDS – and we are caught in the middle,” Singer told Channel 12 News Monday night. “I hope that the whole public and government officials will support us, and vice versa – that they will consume more and fight this phenomenon. It starts with Ben & Jerry’s and you don’t know where it will end. If the public and the government do not understand that we have to fight against it with all our might, this can go very far.”
The Israeli company issued a statement saying, “Ben & Jerry’s Israel is an independent entity that manufactures in Israel and employs about 200 workers in Kiryat Malachi. We do not accept the demand of Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s Global – that’s why they don’t want to extend our franchise. The Israeli consumer must not punish the Israeli plant, which is independent and employs hundreds of people in the south.”
Meanwhile, the war at home (the United States of America) continues, as anti-Israel influencer Sana Saeed reported on Monday: “After weeks of silence and BDS campaigns, from groups like Vermonters for Justice in Palestine, pressuring the company to stop selling/manufacturing in settlements, Ben & Jerry’s is stopping sales in the West Bank & not renewing its Israel distribution licensee agreement.”
Of course, folks to the left of this anti-Israel influencer wondered loud on Monday why Ben & Jerry’s continues to sell in Israel away from the territories, whether they will continue selling to stores in the Palestinian Authority (not to worry, they’ve been boycotting Israeli products for years – DI), and, naturally, “Who needs this garbage full of sugar,” a fine point all by itself but well outside the political arena.