Israel takes action against Unilever

February 7, 2022 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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The State of Israel has commenced with a process to level sanctions against Unilever Global after the company announced a boycott on the country.

The Ben & Jerry’s factory in Kiryat Malachi. (Eitan Elhadaz/TPS)

Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s mother company, stated in July that it was ending the ice cream company’s sales in Israel as “we believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territoryץ”

Avi Zinger, the Israeli license owner, refused Ben and Jerry’s demand to withdraw his sales from Judea and Samaria. Unilever announced it would not renew his license, essentially boycotting Israel.

Minister of Justice Gideon Sa’ar announced Saturday night that he had launched a legal process at the end of which the country will level sanctions against Unilever.

Minister of Finance Avigdor Liberman passed to Sa’ar legal regulations that prevent the harming of Israel through a boycott, and he gave his approval to the enactment. The regulations still require the approval of the Knesset’s Constitution Committee.

Sa’ar explained that the purpose of the legal action is to restrict the participation in tenders and to prevent benefits from entities who have issued a call to boycott Israel or those who participate in a boycott on it.

“The State of Israel must fight the foolish attempts to boycott it, which are part of a broader process of attempts to delegitimize the Jewish state,” he stated.

In 2011, the Knesset passed a boycott law that stipulates that the Minister of Finance, with the consent of the Minister of Justice and the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, can enact provisions restricting participation in a state tender from an entity that knowingly published a call to boycott Israel.

The Ministers of Finance and Justice are currently promoting the boycott law so that it can be used against bodies calling for a boycott of the State of Israel or parts of it. The implementation of the law in practice promotes the possibility that this law can also be applied to Unilever Global, which in July 2021 notified Singer that it does not intend to extend his contract to produce ice cream beyond the end of 2022 following his refusal to withhold the sale of ice cream in parts of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.

Currently, Unilever operates without interruption in Israel and receives unprecedented regulatory benefits, and the IDF continues to purchase products worth millions of shekels a year from the company.

Singer stated Sunday that “this is another important step on the way to enforcing the boycott law against Unilever Global, which demanded that we not to sell in parts of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.”

He noted that “while many states in the US have enacted the boycott law against Unilever Global in the form of retracting investments and holdings worth about $1 billion, it is time for the State of Israel to do what it itself demands of the world, and stand firm against any demand for a boycott against Israel.”

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Jewish communities have been waging a struggle against Unilever Global, and have managed to trigger the anti-boycott laws against Unilever which led to the withdrawal of investments, holdings and pension funds, including from the state of New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, and Arizona.

Unilever was on the Simon Wiesenthal Center Global Anti-Semitism Top Ten list for 2021. From the outset, the SWC labeled the boycott “a purely political act.”

It was pushed forward by its activist board Chairwoman, Anuradha Mittal, who has a track record of endorsing the BDS movement and defending Hezbollah and Hamas terrorist groups.

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