Prime Minister Bennett spoke to Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, owner of Ben & Jerry’s, and made it clear that he views with the greatest seriousness Ben & Jerry’s decision to boycott Israel and added that ‘this is a subsidiary of Unilever, which has taken a clearly anti-Israel,’ the prime minister’s office said on Twitter.
Prime Minister Bennett stressed that from the point of view of the State of Israel, this is an action that has serious consequences, including legal ones, and that he will take strong action against any directed boycott. against its citizens. “
The British consumer goods conglomerate acquired Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s in 2000.
The threatening statement comes after Ben & Jerry’s bowed to pressure from online protesters, announcing on Monday that it would halt sales in “the occupied Palestinian territory.”
“We believe it is incompatible with our values that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT),” the company said in a statement.
The term “Occupied Palestinian Territories” has been used for years to describe areas occupied by Israel since 1967 – namely the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, according to the European Council on Foreign Relations.
The ice cream maker has made it clear that it will not withdraw from Israel, where it will continue to sell ice cream.
When Unilever acquired Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, the companies crafted an unusual deal that gave an independent board of directors from Ben & Jerry’s control over the social mission and policies of the subsidiary.
In a statement released on Monday, Unilever said it “has always recognized the right to [Ben & Jerry’s] and its independent Council to make decisions regarding its social mission.
“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a very complex and sensitive situation,” the company added.
“As a global company, Unilever’s brands are available in more than 190 countries and in all countries, our priority is to serve consumers with essential products that contribute to their health, well-being and enjoyment.
“We remain fully committed to our presence in Israel, where we have been investing in our people, our brands and our business for several decades. “
However, Anuradha Mittal, chair of Ben & Jerry’s independent board of directors, told NBC News that Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s clashed over the move.
Mittal said Ben & Jerry’s wanted to issue a stronger statement emphasizing the company’s commitment to social justice – and made no commitment to stay in Israel.
But Unilever reversed the move and released Ben & Jerry’s statement on Monday without board approval, she told NBC News.
“I am saddened by the deception,” Mittal told the outlet.
“They are trying to destroy the soul of the business. We want this company to be driven by values and not dictated by the parent company. “
Unilever representatives did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.