It’s a return to Nazi-era Jew hatred.
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Boycotting Israel is a ‘new form of terrorism’, President Herzog claims in wake of Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop selling ice cream in the West Bank
- Isaac Herzog described boycotts against Israel as ‘economic terrorism’
- He said such action ‘seeks to harm Israeli citizens and the Israeli economy’
- PA dismissed his remarks, saying Israeli occupation was ‘worst kind of terrorism’
- Comments followed a decision by Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling ice cream in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem
- Israeli officials slammed move, which was celebrated by supporters of “Palestine”
By Charlotte Mitchell, Mail Online, 22 July 2021:
Israeli President Isaac Herzog described boycotts of the country as ‘a new kind of terrorism’ on Wednesday.
His comments followed an announcement by Vermont-based firm Ben & Jerry’s that they will no longer sell ice cream in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
‘The boycott against Israel is a new type of terrorism — economic terrorism. Terrorism that seeks to harm Israeli citizens and the Israeli economy. We must oppose this boycott and terrorism of any kind,’ Herzog said while speaking at a memorial event.
‘The BDS campaign does not pursue peace and seeks to undermine the very existence of the State of Israel. It is aiming its arrows at the Israeli economy,’ he claimed, in reference to the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement.
BDS aims to apply economic pressure to Israel to compel compliance with international law regarding Palestine. Critics frequently accuse the group of anti-Semitism and attempting to delegitimise Israel.
Herzog’s comments were swiftly rejected by the Palestinian Authority (PA), according to a foreign ministry statement, reported by The Times of Israel, which said: ‘the occupation is terrorism itself. It is the worst kind of terrorism.’
‘The Israeli president should thank Ben & Jerry’s. They’re an alarm bell. Either Israel wakes up from its occupation and works to end it, or it will face a total boycott’.
Yair Golan, a former chief of staff in the Israeli ministry and current left-wing parliament member, criticised Herzog’s description, saying: ‘An ice cream boycott is not terrorism.’
‘As someone who knows terrorism and has been fighting terrorism all his life, what is happening in the international arena is not terrorism,’ he wrote in a Twitter post.
‘We must fight against the boycott with one hand, and for a two-state solution with the other. But using concepts drawn from the
Ben & Jerry’s made the announcement on Monday, saying that continuing to sell its product in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem was ‘inconsistent with our values,’ citing ‘the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.’
The company did not explicitly identify those concerns, but last month, a group called Vermonters for Justice in Palestine urged Ben & Jerry’s to ‘end complicity in Israel’s occupation and abuses of Palestinian human rights.’
While Ben & Jerry’s products will not be sold in the settlements, the company said it maintain a presence in Israel through a different arrangement, a move criticised by the Vermonters for Justice in Palestine.
Doing so will be difficult, however, as major Israeli supermarket chains, the primary distribution channel for the ice cream maker, all operate in the territories.
Palestinians seek the return of the territories, with an aim of establishing a future independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The announcement from Ben & Jerry’s provoked outrage from Israeli politicians while being celebrated by supporters of Palestine.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a former leader of the West Bank settlement movement called the move ‘an immoral decision,’ saying: ‘I believe that it will turn out to be a business mistake, too.’
Bennett later said he had spoken with Unilever CEO Alan Jope about the ‘glaring anti-Israel measure’ and said he would react aggressively against any boycotts.
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also slammed the decision, tweeting that: ‘Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy’.
But Aida Touma-Sliman, an Arab-Israeli lawmaker with the Joint List of Arab parties countered Bennett’s remarks, writing on Twitter that the move by the ice cream company was ‘appropriate and moral.’
She added that the ‘occupied territories are not part of Israel’ and that the move was an important step to helping pressure the Israeli government to end the occupation.
The BDS movement applauded Ben & Jerry’s decision as ‘a decisive step towards ending the company’s complicity in Israel’s occupation and violations of Palestinian rights,’ but called upon the company to do more.
‘We hope that Ben & Jerry’s has understood that, in harmony with its social justice commitments, there can be no business as usual with apartheid Israel,’ a statement read.
Some 700,000 Israeli settlers now live in the two territories – roughly 500,000 in the occupied West Bank and 200,000 in east Jerusalem.
Israel considers East Jerusalem as part of its capital but sees the West Bank as disputed territory whose fate should be resolved through negotiations with the PA.
However the international community considers both areas to be occupied territory. The Palestinians seek the West Bank as part of a future independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Ben & Jerry’s Israel CEO says ‘I refuse’ ice-cream ban decision
The decades-long dispute, along with that over Gaza, periodically flares up, at times threatening to become an all-out conflict.
In May, at least 256 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during 11 days of fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas, a militant and political group which administers Gaza.
Protests in Jerusalem over the planned eviction of Palestinian families from the city’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood were put down by Israeli riot police who then stormed the al-Aqsa mosque compound.
This prompted more demonstrations as well as attacks by ultra-right-wing Israeli groups before Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another group operating in Gaza, launched rockets into Israel after a Hamas ultimatum for Israeli forces to leave the compound expired.
Israel responded by firing rockets into the heavily-populated Gaza, destroying hundreds of buildings. Almost all rockets fired into Israel were intercepted by the country’s Iron Dome air defence system.
The incident ended in a ceasefire amid mounting international pressure, with both sides claiming victory.
It saw what analysts said was unprecedented international interest in the Palestinian cause, particularly on social media, and may have been a catalyst for the decision by Ben & Jerry’s.
Founded in Vermont in 1978, but currently owned by consumer goods conglomerate Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s has not shied away from social causes. While many businesses tread lightly in politics for fear of alienating customers, the ice cream maker has taken the opposite approach, often espousing progressive causes.
Ben & Jerry’s took a stand against what it called the Trump administrati
on’s regressive policies by rebranding one of its flavors Pecan Resist in 2018, ahead of midterm elections.
The company said Pecan Resist celebrated activists who were resisting oppression, harmful environmental practices and injustice. As part of the campaign, Ben & Jerry’s said it was giving $25,000 each to four activist entities.
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