A week after Ice Cream maker Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would no longer serve in “occupied Palestinian territory”, the chair of its board of directors rejected the notion of the move being antisemitic. In fact, she found herself being proud of the company for taking a stand.
On Tuesday, Anuradha Mittal, the chair of Ben & Jerry’s board of directors, tweeted her first comments on the boycott since it was announced last week. She stood by the company’s decision and denied being antisemitic following Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s statement that the boycott is a “shameful surrender to antisemitism.”
She claimed that “I am proud of @benandjerrys for taking a stance to end the sale of its ice cream in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” she tweeted, using the same term for the West Bank that the announcement used. “This action is not anti-Semitic. I am not anti-Semitic. The vile hate that has been thrown at me does [not] intimidate me. Pls work for peace – not hatred!”
Looking back at her Twitter account, Mittal has previously endorsed the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel.
On the other hand, the brand’s parent company, Unilever, disavowed the movement to boycott Israel. The disavowal comes as Unilever faces the prospect of being penalized financially in states that have anti-boycott laws. Unilever is also stressing that the settlement boycott is not the same as BDS.
The company’s statement was sent out in the form of letters to various Jewish organizations. It read, “We look forward to investing in our business in Israel long into the future. We have never expressed any support for the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement and have no intention of changing that position.”