Ben & Jerry's sparks Israel ire with pullout

Ice cream just got political.

Ben & Jerry's says it will stop selling its products in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The firm says operating there is 'inconsistent' with its values.

And that hasn't gone down well with some in Israel.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the decision was 'morally wrong'.

His party favors building Jewish settlements in the West Bank, though most countries view the practice as illegal.

The decision by Ben & Jerry's - which is known for taking a strong stance on ethical issues - also means a headache for parent firm Unilever.

Bennett called the move a 'glaring anti-Israel measure', and said the UK giant should expect 'severe consequences'.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid used even stronger language.

The move is a disgraceful capitulation to anti-semitism, he says.

Lapid added he would urge U.S. states that have opposed corporate divestments in Israel to take action against the firm.

The company's local sales outfit is also angry.

Avi Zinger, head of the Ben & Jerry's licensee in Israel, said he wouldn't go along with the move:

"I refuse it. Number one, legally, in Israel, you cannot stop selling or deciding not to sell to a customer, it doesn't matter if the customer is in Tel Aviv or in Haifa. So legally I cannot do it. And as an Israeli and as a manufacturer and company that lives here, there is no way I can say no to Israeli citizens."

In a statement Unilever said it remained committed to the Israeli market, but respected Ben & Jerry's right to make its own decisions.

The brand is given considerable autonomy under terms agreed when Unilever bought it in 2000.

A spokesman for the Palestine Liberation Organization said it welcomed moves by any company to withdraw from the settlements.

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