Look BDS and their supporters in the eye and do not blink
The company that demanded that Ben & Jerrys boycott Judea and Samaria received a blow from investors.
The achievement is the result of vigorous Israeli activity in the United States, which caused $ 26 billion in damage.
Thursday, January 20, 2022, 12:02 Updated: Friday, January 21, 2022, 08:45
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Exactly half a year has passed since the affair in which I was required by Unilever Global to stop selling Ben & Jerry's ice cream in Judea and Samaria exploded. My stubborn refusal to submit to a boycott led Unilever to inform me that my contract would not be renewed at the end of 22. In a continuous and unsuccessful collapse, unlike competing companies.
Behind the scenes, international moves were made that caused a crash. For many months, the State Department and Jewish communities in the United States led an international move to enforce existing boycott laws in 33 countries.
The results are amazing:
States like New York, Florida, Illinois and Texas and more, have imposed sanctions and attracted nearly $ 1 billion in investments, state attorneys have opened an investigation, U.S. lawmakers have opened an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and last week's highlight: Terry Smith, one of the biggest investors
has sharply criticized it for losing its way and focusing on political issues
(such as the Ben & Jerry's event), at the expense of its financial performance.
The company, which is down 20.7% and the total loss in share value stands at $ 26 billion, and in addition, a failed Unilever deal with a large pharma company certainly did not help restore investor confidence.
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Avi Singer, owner and CEO of Ben & Jerry's in Israel: A business affair that began sitting on the carpet with Ben and Jerry (Photo: Matan Portnoy)
Just before we returned to Israel ...
The story of Ben & Jerrys Israel begins 35 years ago in a small studio apartment in Vermont. I was in my 30s, and at that time my wife Debbie and I were living in New York. I watched with satisfaction the passing period during which I worked at the Israeli embassy and set up a thriving business for electrical products, but the longing for Israel and the desire to provide my children with an Israeli education decided the matter. "Returning to Israel" Debbie and I told the children.
Just before we returned to the country, while skiing in Vermont, I stumbled upon Ben and Jerry's ice cream quite by chance. Even then I decided: I will bring the young state of Israel the delicious ice cream from faraway Vermont.
With the help of my late friend Nahum it did not take long until we found out where Ben (from the Ben and Jerry duo) lives. I drove from New York to Vermont, knocked on Ben's house door, woke him up and walked inside a small studio without sofas. On the carpet, and at that moment, a 35-year journey began.
Avi Singer in the factory.
The Israeli government demands that it take action against Unilever, as it requires countries around the world to take action against the boycott (Photo: Reuven Castro)
I said to Ben: "I want to make your ice cream in Israel"
I opened the meeting and said to Ben: "I want to make your ice cream in Israel." Ben looked at me in surprise and did not know if I was serious. After a few minutes of conversation in which I flattened my business plan in front of him, his gaze softened and he said, "No problem. But since this is the first time I'm making such a deal, let me consult."
Very quickly I found myself in a meeting with Ben's lawyer Jeff. I dressed nicely, even on a suit I did not give up. As soon as I entered the cafe I realized the terrible mistake - he was wearing a sweatshirt. Jeff immediately went to bed: "I do not know how to do it. Let's write 3 pages, sign, and it's okay." And so it was: we wrote 3 pages, signed each page, shook hands and said congratulations.
How innocent and beautiful everything was ...
In 2001, when Unilever Global took over Ben & Jerry's, I bought their share of the Israeli plant from Ben and Jerry and remained the sole owner.
The factory prospered and the Israelis fell in love with ice cream.
According to market shares, one in two Israelis who went to the supermarket to buy ice cream finally bought Ben & Jerry's.
I was on the roof of the world ...
"While the Foreign Ministry is operating the world, what is being done in Israel? Why is the State of Israel not enforcing the boycott law that it itself enacted?"
Demonstration by BDS supporters in London (Photo: screenshot, Twitter)
Why is the Israeli government not enforcing the law against Unilever?
About 10 years ago the first BDS pressure on Ben and Jerry began.
From the first moment, I took care to involve the relevant government ministries and warned them about the enormous pressures that are being directed at international businesses that have a representative office in Israel.
Long years of putting out fires came to an end during Operation Wall Guard when the factory workers and I were sitting in shelters with the rest of the Israeli citizens.
The BDS managed to subdue the company.
I received a direct instruction from the board of directors not to sell ice cream in the territories of Judea and Samaria anymore.
When I vehemently refused and even informed them that their request was against Israeli law, I knew it was over.
Two months later the announcement came out on behalf of Unilever in which they inform me that at the end of 2022 they will not renew the contract with me.
Despite years of preparation in front of government ministries, Unilever's announcement surprised most government ministers.
While the Foreign Ministry was operating the world, what was being done in Israel?
Why does the State of Israel not enforce the boycott law that it itself enacted precisely for such cases?
Why does Israel not fulfill what it itself demands, through the State Department, from US states?
Here Unilever continues to sell in all parts of Israel - including Judea and Samaria,
the IDF continues to purchase millions of goods from Unilever every month, and for dessert it receives generous regulatory benefits.
And I ask: is it possible?
How is it that at a time when sanctions are being imposed on Unilever all over the world and here in Israel they have not even called on the CEO of Unilever for clarification?
The citizens of Israel embraced society with love.
Ben & Jerry's factory in Beer Tuvia (Photo: Maariv, Naor Rahav)
The Israeli government must act today
The eyes of the world are now on Israel, which is required to prevent a dangerous precedent from being created for many other businesses in Israel.
The Ben & Jerrys case will serve as a test case for the sequel.
If Israel does not act today, the BDS will win.
When the State of Israel never does what we demand, it may have a practical impact on its national resilience
The time has come for the State of Israel to look BDS and their supporters in the eye and not blink.
This is the only way to win.
And Ben and Jerry?
I'm sure they follow from afar and see the immense love that the factory workers and I receive from the citizens of Israel who continue to support us and enjoy a product made entirely in Israel and support 169 workers in the south, dairymen, and many suppliers.
Avi Singer is the owner and CEO of Ben & Jerrys Israel, which employs 169 people at the Beer Tuvia factory in the south of the country.
Ben & Jerrys
an ice cream