New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined those condemning Ben & Jerry’s decision to ban ice cream sales in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory” (OPT) and said on Tuesday he would hold his own boycott.
“I can say that I won’t be eating Cherry Garcia for a while,” said de Blasio in reference to one of the company’s most beloved flavors.
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“It’s sad for me. I don’t know them that well, but I’ve met them over the years and I think they’re good people, literally Ben and Jerry, ”he added. “I think they’re good people with good values, but that’s a mistake. They shouldn’t be doing this. “
The New York mayor’s comments come a day after the ice cream company announced it would halt all sales in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
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“We have a long-standing partnership with our licensee, which manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region,” the company said in a press release Monday. “We have been working to change that, so we have informed our licensee that we will not be renewing the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year. “
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The statement said it will continue to sell ice cream in Israel “through a different arrangement,” but the announcement was condemned by top Jewish leaders.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned Ben & Jerry’s parent company Unilever Plc of “serious consequences” in a phone call Tuesday with CEO Alan Jope.
Bennett called the move a “blatant anti-Israel step” and said Israel would act “aggressively against any boycott measures targeting civilians,” Reuters reported.
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Some grocery stores in New York City – home to one of the largest Jewish populations in the United States – are pulling the best ice cream chain off their shelves, according to local media outlet WLNY.
And State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States continued to “strongly reject” the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement “unfairly” targeting Israel.
Houston Keene contributed to this report.