Justice Min. Sa'ar enables retaliation against Ben & Jerry's

"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. 

Ben & Jerry's ice cream (Illustrative) (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Ben & Jerry's ice cream (Illustrative)
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar took a key step on Saturday night that will allow Israel to take steps against Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company Unilever Global for its decision to end its licensing agreement with Ben & Jerry’s Israel for refusing to stop selling over the pre-1967 border.

In coordination with Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, Sa’ar permitted anti-boycott regulations against companies that harm Israel. The decision must be approved by the Knesset’s Law and Constitution Committee.

“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.

The Boycott Law, passed by the Knesset in 2011, enacts immediate sanctions on a boycotting company or organization.

The CEO of Ben & Jerry’s Israel, Avi Zinger, asked last week to retaliate against Unilever Global, claiming that it is promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) with one company, while supplying the IDF, the government and the State of Israel with goods worth millions of shekels with its other companies

Hallel Silverman and two other members of the Digitell visiting group stand on a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream truck, while CEO Avi Zinger gives the thumbs up. (credit: IDO DANIEL)Hallel Silverman and two other members of the Digitell visiting group stand on a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream truck, while CEO Avi Zinger gives the thumbs up. (credit: IDO DANIEL)

“The [country’s] helplessness in the face of a company that is taking boycott measures is undermining Israel’s deterrent power and will lead not only to fatal damage to Ben & Jerry’s Israel, but to many other businesses in the future,” Zinger wrote. “Do not look away and allow a wonderful enterprise to meet its end – [implement] the boycott law.”

MK Simcha Rothman, who is a member of the Law and Constitution Committee, said the decision should have been made six months ago. He said it was absurd that several American states took such steps before Israel.

“It is still better late than never, and I hope the committee approves it,” he said.

Zachy Hennessey contributed to this report.