Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma called on his state to immediately block sale of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, given the company’s decision to boycott Israel’s West Bank.
“#Benandjerrys has now decided they know more about Jerusalem than the Israelis. If Ben & Jerry’s wants to have a meltdown & boycott Israel, OK is ready to respond. Oklahoma has an anti-boycott of Israel law in place,” Lankford tweeted Wednesday.
“We should immediately block the sale of all #Benandjerrys in the state and in any state-operated facility to align with our law,” he added.
We should immediately block the sale of all #Benandjerrys in the state and in any state-operated facility to align with our law.
— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) July 21, 2021
The BDS movement seeks to destroy Israel’s economy by cutting it off from the rest of the world.
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) April 27, 2021
Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United States and the United Nations, wrote a letter to all 35 governors of the states that have anti-BDS legislation on Monday urging them to enforce their laws against Ben & Jerry’s.
“Ben & Jerry’s announced their intention to boycott hundreds of thousands of citizens living in Judea and Samaria [in the West Bank]. We view this decision very seriously as it is the de-facto adoption of antisemitic practices and advancement of the de-legitimization of the Jewish State and the de-humanization of the Jewish people,” Erdan wrote in part.
“I ask that you consider speaking out against the company’s decision, and taking any other relevant steps, including in relation to your state laws and the commercial dealings between Ben & Jerry’s and your state,” the ambassador concluded.
I urged them to act against @benandjerrys decision to not sell its products in the eastern part of Jerusalem and Judea & Samaria. We will make clear to Ben & Jerry’s that its antisemitic decision will have consequences. 2/2
— Ambassador Gilad Erdan גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) July 20, 2021
In addition to Oklahoma, some of the other states that have anti-BDS legislation on the books include Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, California, Maryland and Texas, according to the Jewish Virtual Library.
On Monday, Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would no longer be selling its products in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners,” the company’s statement read in part.
— Ben & Jerry’s (@benandjerrys) July 19, 2021
Historically speaking, there never was a country of Palestine. What is currently known as the West Bank was part of Jordan prior to the Six-Day War in 1967.
Before that, it was controlled by the British following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I.
To the extent that the West Bank is “occupied,” it’s because Jordan and its Arab allies lost to Israel in 1967. Jordan initiated fighting in and around the West Bank and Jerusalem. Israel counterattacked and prevailed, according to History.com.
Besides the laws of war, the Jews make a claim on the land, including Jerusalem, going back to biblical times.