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Why does Israel fear a boycott by an ice cream company?

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The giant American ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's announced last week that it is going to stop selling its products in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Such sales, it believes, are "inconsistent" with its values, the company said on its website. "We also hear and recognise the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners."

Ben & Jerry's is known for taking stands on social issues. It took a historic stance in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2016, for example. Although its factory in southern Israel will continue to operate, it will stop sales in Israeli Jewish settlements, which are illegal under international law.

The decision by the Vermont-based company, which was founded by two Jewish Americans, turned the boycott of illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian lands into the latest front for Israel's war against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. BDS is a Palestinian-led grassroots campaign against Israeli businesses, cultural institutions and universities; it has worldwide support and is entirely peaceful.

According to President Isaac Herzog, the former head of the Israeli Labor Party, though, Ben & Jerry's decision is "a dangerous, Nazi-like act of economic terrorism that dehumanises the Jewish people." Prime Minister Naftali Bennett accused the company of siding with "terrorists", and warned the ice cream maker's parent company, Unilever, of "severe consequences".

Israeli envoy to the US and UN, Gilad Erdan, said that, "Businesses are surrendering to BDS pressure and bringing anti-Israel political considerations into their decisions." For Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, the decision is a "shameful surrender to anti-Semitism, to BDS and to all that is wrong with........

© Middle East Monitor

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