One of America’s most outspoken, liberal companies just gave conservatives one more reason to boycott them.
The ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s released a statement this week announcing it will no longer sell its products in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a statement of protest against Israel. (Story continues below.)
From the company:
We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.
We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region. We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year.
Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT, we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement. We will share an update on this as soon as we’re ready.
The decision sparked backlash from supporters of Israel and even the prime minister himself.
“Ben & Jerry’s decided to brand itself as anti-Israel ice cream,” said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. “This is a moral mistake and I believe it will turn out to be a business mistake as well. The boycott against Israel… reflects that they have totally lost their way. The boycott doesn’t work and won’t work and we will fight it with all our might.”
Others on Twitter weighed in as well, drawing a backlash and criticism for the company, which has a history of stepping into dicey political territory.
“Our supermarkets have taken action against Ben & Jerry’s, which is boycotting Jewish communities that are at the center of a territorial dispute in Israel, including the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem – inhabited by Jews for over 3,000 years,” wrote Avi Karner, co-owner of a supermarket in New York.