Ben & Jerry’s is in big trouble over its decision to join in on the boycotting of Israel. The company revealed its decision to do so yesterday, Monday. Politicians and journalists alike in Israel are up in arms over it. From the news anchors, to the pundits, to the person on the street, Israelis seem to be in agreement in their outrage over the move.
When the announcement was made, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet issued a condemnation stating, “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, “added the prime Minister. And he promised to continue to fight any Israel boycotts “with full force.”
Ben & Jerry’s parent company Unilever is also under a great deal of political pressure right now. Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with Alan Jope, the CEO of Unilever. According to Pime Minister Bennet’s office, he told Mr. Jope 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.”
Prime Minister Bennett stated that he emphasized that from the perspective of the State of Israel, this is an action that has “severe consequences, including legal, and it will take strong action against any boycott directed against its citizens.”
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has been speaking out on the local news programs slamming Ben & Jerry’s for the decision. Even Ben & Jerry’s chairman Anuradha Mittal is angry about what has happened and that the move could even be a breach of contract on their part.
Ben & Jerry’s Israel said, “Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Holdings Inc. decided not to renew the agreement with us in eighteen months’ time because of our refusal to stop selling throughout Israel. We call on the government of Israel and on consumers not to allow a boycott of Israel. This is an unprecedented action on the part of Unilever, the owner of Ben & Jerry’s Inc. Ice cream is not part of politics. We call on Israelis to continue buying the local product, which provides a livelihood to hundreds of workers in the south.”
Avi Zinger founded the Israeli Ben & Jerry’s almost 30 years ago and continues to own it to this very day. A source at the Israeli company told Globes that Avi Zinger, “won’t surrender so quickly, and clearly there’ll be a protracted legal-contractual proceeding here over the next year and a half, and he’ll continue producing ice cream and also continue to sell in the territories, and it’s clear to me that it will end in a blow-up. It’s also clear to me that whatever happens he will continue producing ice cream. He has all the know-how and all the machinery. It could be that in the end it will under a different brand.”
The Ben & Jerry’s chair Anuradha Mittal, however, has shown that she certainly has a great deal of chutzpah. She told CNBC that that, “This is not about Israel.” She insists, rather, that this is about, “the soul of the company.”
This person is taking pride in the decision while saying that it came as a result of, “what happens when you have a board with all women and people of color who have been pushing to do the right thing.”