The U.S. State Department announced Tuesday that they were opposing the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement a day after ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s announced that they would no longer be selling their products in parts of Israel.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price explained during a press briefing that while he himself didn’t have anything to say regarding Ben & Jerry’s Monday announcement to stop selling its products in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the U.S. State Department “firmly” opposes the BDS movement, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
The BDS movement describes itself as being a “Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality,” that calls for “boycotts, divestment and sanctions as a form of non-violent pressure on Israel,” according to the website for the movement.
“We firmly reject the BDS movement, which unfairly singles out Israel,” Price explained, adding that “while the Biden-Harris Administration will fully and always respect the First Amendment rights” of American citizens, that the U.S. would focus its efforts on fighting against any efforts which “seek to delegitimize Israel.”
US State Department on @benandjerrys: We firmly reject the BDS movement, which unfairly singles out Israel.”
— Emily Schrader – אמילי שריידר (@emilykschrader) July 20, 2021
The two regions in which Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be selling it’s products in, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, were won by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, and now contain around 700,00 citizens who live in the region, The Associated Press (AP) reported. While East Jerusalem is considered by Israel to be part of the capital, the West Bank is considered to be “disputed territory.”
“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” the Monday statement from the ice cream company read.
“We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region. We have been working to change this,” the statement continued, adding that the company would not be renewing their license which is set to expire at the end of the following year. (RELATED: ‘I Won’t Be Eating Anymore Cherry Garcia For Awhile’: De Blasio Calls Ben & Jerry’s Israel Boycott A ‘Mistake’)
Following the announcement from Ben & Jerry’s, the BDS movement announced that they were encouraging the progressive ice cream company to “end all operations,” in Israel.
Following years of #BDS campaigns @benandjerrys has announced it will end sales of its ice cream in Israel’s illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land.
We warmly welcome their decision but call on Ben & Jerry’s to end all operations in apartheid Israel.#BDSsuccess pic.twitter.com/0n1AjnPFaA
— BDS movement (@BDSmovement) July 19, 2021
Ben & Jerry’s faced criticism in 2018 after partnering with anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour and several activist organizations such as the Women’s March and Color of Change to promote a new anti-Trump flavored ice cream, “pecan resist.”
The company explained that in partnering with Sarsour and other activist organizations, that the plan was to promote “those who are heading the resistance to the current administration’s regressive agenda,” in addition to “celebrating the activists who are continuing to resist oppression, harmful environmental practices and injustice.”