Jennie Taer on July 20, 2021
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop selling products in parts of Israel “a mistake.”
- The ice cream brand announced the move Monday and has since received backlash from top officials.
- De Blasio has been an outspoken critic of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and reiterated that its efforts “will undermine peace in the Middle East.”
- Some U.S. grocery chains have responded by pulling Ben & Jerry’s products from their shelves and there is pressure on many governors to take action against the company.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized Ben & Jerry’s latest decision to stop selling their products in parts of Israel, during a news conference Tuesday.
“I can say that I won’t be eating anymore Cherry Garcia for awhile,” de Blasio said, referring to the brand’s popular flavor.
He added, “That’s sad to me. I don’t know them well, but I’ve met them over the years and I think they’re good people, literally Ben and Jerry. I think they’re good people with good values, but this is a mistake. They shouldn’t do this.”
The progressive ice cream company announced Monday its decision to cease sales in “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” meaning the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel gained control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War, but the areas are considered “occupied” by some in the international community.
“BDS is a movement that will undermine peace in the Middle East,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. You cannot have peace if you undermine the economic reality and create division. I just believe that’s absolutely the wrong approach and I don’t think Ben & Jerry’s should be doing that.”
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 and added that this is a subsidiary of Unilever, which has taken a clearly anti-Israel step.— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) July 20, 2021
De Blasio went on to acknowledge that the ice cream company had “done a lot of good in the world,” but that its latest move takes opportunities away from both Israelis and Palestinians.
“As interesting as the Israeli government is, it at least is a different government and the potential for a different path forward exists now, but not if the economy doesn’t work because the path to peace is going to have to involve economic justice for Israelis and Palestinians alike and that won’t work if the economy doesn’t function,” de Blasio explained.
“So, I think BDS is just absolutely mistaken and I’m sorry to hear that news,” he concluded.
In coordination w/ @yairlapid, I sent a letter to 35 Governors of US states that have legislation against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/tGW720oRZL— Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) July 20, 2021
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called Ben & Jerry’s decision “ethically bereft” and said “the boycott will not work.” Bennett later spoke with the CEO of Unilever, the company that owns Ben & Jerry’s, and threatened “severe consequences.”
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Gilad Erdan and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid sent a letter Monday to governors from 35 U.S. states that have anti-BDS legislation urging them to speak out against Ben & Jerry’s decision and to take appropriate action against the company.
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