The State Department said on Tuesday, they "firmly reject" the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel one day after Ben & Jerry’s announced they would no longer sell ice cream in "Occupied Palestinian Territory."
"We firmly reject the BDS movement, which unfairly singles out Israel," State Department spokesman Ned Price said. "While the Biden-Harris administration will fully and always respect the First Amendment rights of our citizens, of the American people, the United States will be a strong partner in fighting efforts around the world that potentially seek to delegitimize Israel and will work tirelessly, to support Israel's further integration into the international community."
The move by Ben and Jerry's is part of a broader Palestinian-led campaign to protest Israeli involvement in the West Bank and Gaza strip.
The White House has faced mounting pressure by progressive lawmakers in the Democratic Party to lean on Isreal to work towards an Israeli-Palestinian two-state solution.
Progressive Democrats were frustrated with President Biden’s lack of support for Palestinians during an eight-day rocket fire exchange that saw more than 200 Palestinians killed, including over 60 children, along with 11 Israelis and a 5-year-old boy.
But while the State Department said it would not "weigh in on the objectives and motivations of a private company," some Democrats applauded the move by Ben & Jerry’s.
"I know where I’m getting my ice cream today," Missouri Rep. Cori Bush said. "Who’s coming with?"
The announcement by Ben & Jerry’s drew sharp criticism from top Israelis, and in a Tuesday phone call with Unilever Plc – which acquired the ice cream company in 2000 – Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned of "severe consequences."
Bennett told the consumer giant CEO Alan Jope, that the move was a "glaring anti-Israel measure" and said that the government would move "aggressively against any boycott measure targeting civilians," first reported Reuters.