State Department Rejects BDS After Ben & Jerry's Joins Anti-Semitic Movement

Biden admin rejection of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement likely to enflame Democratic Party's left flank

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July 20, 2021

The State Department on Tuesday said it "firmly rejects" the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, just a day after ice cream giant Ben & Jerry's announced that it would stop selling its products in what it called "occupied Palestinian territory."

The left-wing ice cream company announced its support for the BDS movement, which seeks to wage economic warfare on Israel, by stating that its products will no longer be sold in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Supporters of the BDS movement, which is widely seen as anti-Semitic, say that these contested territories are Palestinian lands and that Israel is occupying them.

When asked to clarify the Biden administration's stance on the BDS movement in light of Ben & Jerry's decision, a State Department spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon, "The United States firmly rejects the BDS movement, which unfairly singles out Israel." The statement is likely to rankle far-left elements of the Democratic Party that have sought to push the Biden administration into endorsing BDS.

"While the Biden-Harris Administration will fully and always respect the American people's First Amendment rights, the United States will be a strong partner in fighting efforts to delegitimize Israel, and we will work tirelessly to support Israel's further integration into the international community," the spokesman said.

The ice cream company explained in a Monday statement on its decision that "it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry's ice-cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory." The company will not renew its contract with the Israeli manufacturer that distributes its ice cream in Israel after it expires later this year.

Recently elected Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett said Ben & Jerry's has "decided to brand itself as anti-Israel ice-cream."

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.), a leading pro-Israel lawmaker, accused the company of catering to anti-Semites and discriminating against Jews.

The decision "to target hundreds of thousands of Jewish customers abroad with this discriminatory boycott is a disgrace and a direct embrace of the anti-Israel BDS movement," Zeldin said, adding that he will pressure New York state to cut ties with the company under laws prohibiting the government from partnering with companies that back the BDS movement.

"The state needs to end any current business and suspend any future business with Ben & Jerry's," Zeldin said.