sen. James Lankford (R-OK) is among an annoyed group of lawmakers who have come forward with threats to cancel ice cream after Ben & Jerry’s announced this week it would not renew its current licensing deal with its manufacturer in Israel, which also distributes frozen treats. to the West Bank.
“If Ben & Jerry’s wants to have a meltdown and boycott of Israel, OK is ready to respond. Oklahoma has enacted an anti-boycott of Israeli law,” Lankford wrote on Twitter Wednesday. More than two dozen states have laws against boycotts of Israel.
The Oklahoma Republican urged his state to “immediately block the sale of all #Benandjerrys” to Oklahomans.
The collapse comes after the top-selling ice cream maker said a statement it was “inconsistent” with its values to sell its ice cream in “the occupied Palestinian territories”. The Vermont-based company, founded by outspoken liberal activists Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, said it would find another way to stay in Israel after the existing agreement expires late next year.
The resulting war on ice has been rapid.
“Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy,” Israel’s former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on Twitter.
The country’s newly sworn in president Isaac Herzog on Wednesday called the boycott “a new kind of terrorism,” according to the Israeli newspaper. Haaretz. “Terrorism seeks to harm the citizens of Israel and the economy of Israel. We must oppose this boycott and terrorism in any form,” he said at a memorial ceremony for dead Israeli leaders.
The country’s newly elected Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, also warned that the decision would have “serious consequences” for Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company Unilever, which bought Ben & Jerry’s in 2000. Unilever called the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a “very complex and sensitive situation,” in a statement Monday, adding that it is committed to its continued presence in Israel and welcomes Ben & Jerry’s plans to be in the country. to stay.
But outraged GOP lawmakers used some twisted logic, calling for the boycott to be quashed with a boycott, and resuming attempts to brand supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as anti-Semitic.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) released a statement labeling the ice cream maker’s decision “discriminatory” and “an embarrassment” and targeting Jewish customers. He urged his state to quickly cut ties with the largest ice cream maker and parent company.
“Our state must follow its self-imposed standards, lead by example, and stand up to this anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discrimination,” he said.
Pennsylvania Republican State Representative Aaron Kaufer also wrote a letter Tuesday urging the state’s governor, attorney general and treasurer to “end any hookup or serving of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream” in the state government, agencies and affiliates of Pennsylvania, state-related universities, parks, prisons and others on the basis of an act instituted to assist Israel by promoting trade and commerce in the country.
In an interview with former New York State Councilman Dov Hikind, Representative Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) criticized Ben & Jerry’s for robbing Americans of their ice cream, while also urging Americans not to buy their ice cream.
“I think it’s really important that Americans here message Ben & Jerry’s by not buying their ice cream frankly,” she said. “Trying to deprive people of their ice cream is really just outrageous and they shouldn’t participate in what the BDS movement is.”
While he didn’t call for an end to the sale of Ben & Jerry’s, New York City Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters that he thought the decision was a mistake and that he probably “will take a while.” won’t eat Cherry Garcia again,” one of the company’s signature flavors.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said Tuesday that the Biden administration does not support the BDS movement, which seeks to exert international economic and political pressure on Israel in solidarity with the Palestinians.
“We firmly reject the BDS movement, which unfairly singles out Israel,” Price told reporters on Tuesday. “While the Biden-Harris administration will fully and always respect the First Amendment rights of our citizens, of the American people, the United States will be a strong partner in fighting efforts around the world that may seek to destroy Israel. delegitimize and will work tirelessly to aid Israel’s further integration into the international community.”