New York Post
Israeli PM heat on Ben & Jerry’s
This is an action that has severe consequences, including legal, and [Israel] will take strong action against any boycott directed against its citizens.
— Office of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday told the head of Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, that the ice cream maker’s move to halt sales in “the Occupied Palestinian Territory” could carry “severe consequences.”
“Prime Minister Bennett spoke with Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s, and made it clear that he views with utmost gravity the decision by Ben & Jerry’s to boycott Israel,” the PM’s office tweeted.
“Prime Minister Bennett 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.”
Unilever, the British consumer-goods conglomerate, acquired Vermontbased Ben & Jerry’s in 2000.
The statement comes after Ben & Jerry’s caved to pressure from online protesters, announcing Monday it would halt sales in “the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the subsidiary said.
When Unilever acquired Ben & Jerry’s, the companies crafted an unusual agreement that gave an independent Ben & Jerry’s board control over the subsidiary’s social mission and policies.
In a statement issued Monday, Unilever said it has “always recognized the right of [Ben & Jerry’s] and its independent board to take decisions about its social mission.”
However, Anuradha Mittal, chair of Ben & Jerry’s independent board, told NBC News B&J’s wanted to release a stronger statement that emphasized the company’s commitment to social justice — and did not vow to remain in Israel.
But Unilever overrode that decision and released the Ben & Jerry’s statement on Monday without board approval, Mittal told NBC News.
Reps for Unilever did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.