JERUSALEM, July 20 (Reuters) – Israel has warned consumer goods company Unilever PLC. (ULVR.L) The “severe consequences” of the decision by Ben & Jerry, a subsidiary to stop selling ice cream in Israeli-occupied territories, on Tuesday urged U.S. states to implement anti-boycott laws.
Ben & Jerry’s announcement on Monday was handled by a licensed partner since 1987 following pro-Palestinian pressure on Vermont – based South Burlington, its trade in Israel and Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Ben & Jerrys said it would not renew the license when it expires at the end of next year. It said the Palestinians were staying in Israel under a different arrangement, with no sales in the West Bank, between areas where the state seeks. read more
Most world powers consider Israeli settlements illegal. It has moved to impose fines for anti-immigration activities under Israeli law, citing historical and security ties with the land, while gaining similar legal protection in some US states.
The office of Israeli Prime Minister Nabdali Bennett said he had spoken with Unilever CEO Alan Job about the ice cream maker’s “transparent anti-Israel move.”
“In Israel’s position, the move has serious and legal consequences, and it will move aggressively against any boycott that targets the public,” Bennett said in a statement from his office.
Britain’s Unilever did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Gilad Erton, said in a letter to 35 U.S. governors that Ben & Jerry’s decision had been raised.
Read the letter tweeted by the ambassador that “swift and decisive action must be taken to confront such discriminatory and antisemitic measures”, which compares the case to Airbnb’s 2018 announcement, announcing that it would eliminate settlement rental property.
Airbnb reversed that decision in 2019 following legal challenges in the United States, but said it would donate the profits from booking immigration to humanitarian causes.
The Palestinians welcomed Ben & Jerry’s announcement. They want the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip for the future state. Israel considers the whole of Jerusalem as its capital – it is not recognized internationally.
Edited by Don Williams by Jeffrey Heller and Raisa Kasolowski
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