Scoop: Israel launches maximum pressure campaign against Ben & Jerry's
Barak Ravid, author of from Tel Aviv
The Israeli government has formed a special task force to pressure Ben & Jerry's ice cream and its parent company Unilever to reverse their decision to boycott Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israeli officials tell me.
Why it matters: The Israeli government is concerned the move by Ben & Jerry's will encourage other international companies to take similar steps to differentiate between Israel and the West Bank settlements. A classified Foreign Ministry cable, seen by Axios, makes clear the government wants to send a message.
Driving the news: Last week, Ben & Jerry's announced that from January 2023 they will no longer allow their Israeli franchisee to market their ice cream in the settlements, but will continue to sell it within Israel’s pre-1967 borders.
That decision from the company, which has taken political positions on a range of issues, came after almost a decade of pressure from pro-Palestinian activists. In the past, the Israeli government managed to convince Ben & Jerry's not to take such steps.
But after the recent fighting in Gaza, the pressure on the company increased. In the last two weeks, it became clear that a decision to boycott the settlements was imminent.
The Israeli government tried to press Unilever to stop Ben & Jerry's from making that decision, but Unilever said the company had the right to take such steps as part of its corporate responsibility and social justice policy.