Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan

United Nations Gilad Erdan sent an urgent letter to 35 governors of US states that have enacted laws against the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and boycott of Israel, calling on them to act following Ben & Jerry’s announcement that it will no longer sell its products in the eastern part of Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria.

Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid was involved in the process.

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In his letter sent on Tuesday, Erdan called on the governors to take action against Ben & Jerry’s under state laws enacted in recent years, noting that “not only is the decision both an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel one, but it also harms the Palestinians living in the eastern part of Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria.”

Erdan noted a similar occurrence in 2018 with Airbnb, which also announced a boycott of Judea and Samaria. Erdan led a campaign with the governors to pressure Airbnb to reverse its BDS decision – a decision Airbnb quickly reversed.

“As Arab nations cancel their decades-long boycott of the Jewish state and sign peace agreements with Israel, and cultural and economic cooperation in our region is growing, American companies with radical ideological agendas cannot be allowed to go against the policy of the United States and act against normalization and peace,” the letter stated.

Erdan added, that he believes today, as he did in 2018, that “rapid and determined action must be taken to counter such discriminatory and anti-Semitic actions. We must stand united and send an unequivocal message that this will not be tolerated.”

He further underscored that the BDS movement is “not interested in promoting peace or a better future for the Palestinians, but rather in demonizing and discriminating against Israel, the one true democracy and America’s strongest ally in the Middle East.”

“I ask that you consider speaking out against the company’s decision, and taking any other relevant steps, including in relation to your state laws and the commercial dealings between Ben & Jerry’s and your state,” Erdan concluded.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke on Tuesday with Alan Jope, the CEO of Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s, following the company’s attempt at boycotting Judea and Samaria, and warned the global conglomerate that Israel would act against it.

Bennett “made it clear that he views with utmost gravity the decision by Ben & Jerry’s to boycott Israel and added that this is a subsidiary of Unilever, which has taken a clearly anti-Israel step,” his office stated.

He further emphasized that from the perspective of the State of Israel, this action “has severe consequences, including legal, and it will take strong action against any boycott directed against its citizens.”

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.
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