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The Simon Wiesenthal Center received a call Wednesday morning from Unilever CEO Alan Jope, who informed the SWC of the company’s decision to put a halt to Ben & Jerry’s Israel boycott.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and CEO of the SWC, was informed of the decision personally in a phone call Wednesday morning from Unilever CEO Alan Jope. Shortly after the call between Rabbi Hier and Mr. Jope, Unilever officially announced it reached a new agreement with its current licensee in Israel to sell ice cream under both its Hebrew and Arabic names in Israel and the West Bank.
“We commend Unilever for finally doing the right thing and putting an end to the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, and anti-peace boycott by extremists on Ben and Jerry’s Board,” Rabbi Hier and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC’s associate dean and director of Social Global Action, said in a joint statement.
“We want to personally thank Nelson Peltz, SWC Chairman of the Board of Governors, for his ongoing personal efforts to bring about today’s announcement.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center took a leading role in denouncing Ben and Jerry’s unjustified boycott and the pro-BDS propaganda that the ice cream brand foisted on its own workers. The SWC created its own national ad campaign since the announcement.
“Unilever rejects completely and repudiates unequivocally any form of discrimination or intolerance,” the firm said in its statement. “Antisemitism has no place in any society. We have never expressed any support for the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement and have no intention of changing that position.”
“This is a stinging rebuke to the BDS movement by one of the world’s leading corporations,” Rabbis Hier and Cooper concluded.
“We were deluged by thousands of our members infuriated that an iconic ice cream company had suddenly become the tipping point for the global anti-Semitic BDS movement. Unilever’s about face also sends a signal to other major corporate entities that they should shun BDS, which has never helped a single Palestinian, but has only one goal in mind: Demonize and weaken the democratic State of Israel and actively work for its demise.”
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).