Israel's President: Ben & Jerry's Boycott Is Part of 'A New Form of Terrorism'

Newly sworn-in Isaac Herzog argues 'terrorism tries to harm the citizens of Israel and the economy of Israel. We must oppose this boycott and terrorism in any form,' after ice cream company vows to stop sales to settlements

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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President Isaac Herzog at the UAE Embassy opening in Tel Aviv, last week.
President Isaac Herzog at the UAE Embassy opening in Tel Aviv, last week.Credit: Moti Milrod
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Israel's President Isaac Herzog called the boycott of Israel "a new kind of terrorism" on Wednesday, in light of the U.S. ice cream company Ben & Jerry's decision not to sell their products in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

"The boycott of Israel is a new sort of terrorism, economic terrorism," Herzog said at a ceremony commemorating prime ministers and presidents of Israel who have passed away. "Terrorism tries to harm the citizens of Israel and the economy of Israel. We must oppose this boycott and terrorism in any form."

He added, that the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel "does not seek peace, and wishes to undermine the very existence of the State of Israel. It takes aim at the Israeli economy."

The iconic Vermont-based ice cream company announced on Monday that it would no longer sell ice cream in West Bank settlements, following "concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners."

The statement added, "Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories], we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement. We will share an update on this as soon as we’re ready."

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett rebuked the company's decision, saying that the company has decided to rebrand as an "antisemitic ice cream." "There are many brands of ice cream," Bennett said. "But we only have one country."

In his statement, Bennett called the company's decision "morally wrong," and said that he believes it will also prove to be "financially wrong." "The boycott of Israel – a democracy surrounded by isles of terrorism – reflects a complete loss of direction."

On Tuesday, Bennett spoke with Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, the company that owns the ice cream maker. Bennett told Jope that he "gravely views" Ben & Jerry's decision, adding that Israel "will act aggressively against any type of boycott against its citizens."

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