Lapid working on plan to stop Ben & Jerry’s Israel boycott

Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company Unilever Global decided to end their licensing agreement in Israel in protest of West Bank settlements.

WHILE BEN & JERRY’S may only be boycotting east Jerusalem and the West Bank, in the ostensible hope that it will lead to an equitable solution for both sides, this partial boycott of Israel is of no interest to the BDS leadership. (photo credit: FLASH90)
WHILE BEN & JERRY’S may only be boycotting east Jerusalem and the West Bank, in the ostensible hope that it will lead to an equitable solution for both sides, this partial boycott of Israel is of no interest to the BDS leadership.
(photo credit: FLASH90)

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is working behind the scenes to enable Ben & Jerry’s Israel to continue to abide by Israel's anti-boycott regulations, The Jerusalem Post learned on Tuesday.

Ben & Jerry’s Israel licensee Avi Zinger has been fighting Ben & Jerry’s in the US and its parent company Unilever Global for their decision to end their licensing agreement in Israel due to his refusal to break Israeli law and stop selling over the pre-1967 border. The effort is being fought on multiple diplomatic, legal and legislative fronts.

Senior sources close to Lapid said there are things happening on the issue that they cannot yet disclose and they hope that picture will soon become clear.

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar (New Hope) took a step in February to allow Israel to take action against Ben & Jerry’s in the US and Unilever Global. In coordination with Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, Sa’ar authorized anti-boycott regulations against companies that harm Israel.

“The State of Israel must fight against attempts to boycott us, which are part of a larger strategy of delegitimizing the Jewish state,” Sa’ar said at the time.

As recently as April 2021, current Foreign Minister Yair Lapid stated: ‘I’ll continue to fight for an Israeli recognition of the Armenian genocide.’  (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)As recently as April 2021, current Foreign Minister Yair Lapid stated: ‘I’ll continue to fight for an Israeli recognition of the Armenian genocide.’ (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

The Boycott Law, passed by the Knesset in 2011, enacts immediate sanctions on a boycotting company or organization. But Sa’ar’s decision to implement the law in the case of Ben & Jerry’s required the approval of the Knesset’s Law and Constitution Committee.

The committee met on the issue in March at the request of five MKs from New Hope, Likud, Shas and United Torah Judaism. But the legislators were disappointed that the meeting ended without a vote, even though they had a majority.

The MKs wrote committee chairman Rabbi Gilad Kariv (Labor) last week, complaining that no follow-up meeting had been set and accusing him of giving in to pressure from left-wing groups that oppose the anti-boycott regulations. They warned Kariv that action must be taken immediately to prevent the Israeli factory in Be’er Tuviya from closing and its employees from losing their jobs.

Sources close to Kariv said a follow-up meeting and vote would take place next month. They said the reason for the delay was that the Foreign Ministry had asked Kariv for more time to consider the issue.

Officials in the Foreign Ministry said Lapid was handling the issue himself and there would soon be news on the matter.