Ben & Jerry Urged to Cut Scoops to All of ‘Apartheid Israel’

Meanwhile, Israel’s U.S. ambassador wants the 35 U.S. states that have outlawed or criminalized boycotts of Israel to take legal action against the ice cream maker. 

Settlers on Shuhada Street in Hebron, 2010. (Stella via Wikimedia)

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

While welcoming the decision by Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling their ice cream in the criminally occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements in Palestine, a coalition of progressive groups this week implored Unilever, the frozen dessert-maker’s parent company, to end all business with Israel.

[Ben & Jerry’s decision was met with fierce reactions: Israel’s prime minister threatened “serious consequences,” the Israeli foreign ministry called it “economic terrorism,” and Texas is considering banning the ice cream sellers in the state.]

But three activist groups — Adalah Justice Project, the Movement for Black Lives, and U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights — issued a joint statement calling the company’s decision “a significant partial victory and step forward, signaling a massive, hard-fought narrative shift toward Palestinian liberation in the U.S.,” and proof that “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) tactics work.”

However, the groups added that “the unwavering fight for justice isn’t over… until Ben & Jerry’s ends all business with apartheid Israel.”

“The Israeli state can’t be separated from its apartheid and military occupation,” the statement asserted. “Ben & Jerry’s must now fully commit to standing on the right side of history by completely ending its complicity in Israel’s separate-and-unequal apartheid regime.”

On Monday, Ben & Jerry’s published a statement explaining that the company believes “it is inconsistent with our values” for its “ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” but that it would “stay in Israel through a different arrangement.”

The decision infuriated many Israelis and supporters of the country, with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett vowing to “act aggressively” against the company and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid calling the decision a “shameful surrender to antisemitism, to BDS, and to all that is wrong with the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse.”

Lapid and Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations and United States, also said they would pressure the 35 U.S. states that have outlawed or criminalized boycotts of Israel to take legal action against Ben & Jerry’s.

Meanwhile, as progressive Jewish-led organizations praised the company’s decision, politicians, pundits, and other observers in both Israel and the United States leveled predictable accusations of anti-SemitismNazi collaboration and self-hatred against Ben & Jerry’s and its Jewish founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.

Sandra Tamari, executive director of Adalah Justice Project, said in a statement that Ben & Jerry’s decision “may be our most important BDS win to date.”

“It opens the door for other mainstream companies to heed the Palestinian call for cutting ties with the Israeli state,” said Tamari. “The over-the-top response by Israeli leaders to the company’s announcement, including threats to compel U.S. states to apply unconstitutional state laws limiting boycotts against Israel, shows that immaterial victories such as these can make a vast empire tremble, and that is the power of organizing.”

Montague Simmons, director of strategic partnerships for Movement for Black Lives, said that his organization “supports and defends the unobstructed freedom and self-determination of the Palestinian people.”

Simmons continued:

“Black and Palestinian organizers have long worked hand-in-hand to eradicate repressive regimes and policies in both Palestine and the United States. Ben & Jerry’s withdrawing sales on Occupied Palestinian Territory is a step in that direction, yet insufficient.

We believe it is important to acknowledge that the small attempts at fixes don’t override the bigger context of apartheid, settler colonialism, and military occupation. We continue to demand an end to human rights abuses, settler colonialism, and U.S. investments in the occupation of Palestine and the apartheid state.”

U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights executive director Ahmad Abuznaid said that “for Ben & Jerry’s to fully commit to justice, there must be no scoops left behind under apartheid. Until there are none, we are not done.”

This article is from  Common Dreams.

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35 comments for “Ben & Jerry Urged to Cut Scoops to All of ‘Apartheid Israel’

  1. rgl
    July 25, 2021 at 11:50

    Ben & Jerry make tasty ice cream, and they are on the right side of history.

  2. ld
    July 24, 2021 at 17:28

    I will be buying Ben and Jerry’s from now on.
    If it didn’t matter their fake outrage would not exist; a global kabal of trolls policing speech, silencing and criminalizing … would not exist.
    BDS matters because it shows these F<.?S their days are numbered.
    if it didn't work… they wouldn't give a shyte

  3. Vera Gottlieb
    July 24, 2021 at 14:32

    israel…enough of your constant whining! You reap as you sow.

  4. Playmobil
    July 24, 2021 at 14:24

    Please enlighten me about my unstated presumptions and show how economics is detached from politics in this case

  5. Fat Freddys Cat
    July 24, 2021 at 09:21

    Unilever getting ESG points for virtue signalling means more big investment heading their way. A few tubs of ice cream means nothing.

  6. Tristan Patterson
    July 24, 2021 at 00:17

    Hooray. I look forward to other companies following suit.

  7. bobzz
    July 23, 2021 at 23:16

    To be consistent Zionists must believe Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the rest of the prophets were anti-semitic, self-hating Jews.

  8. Jeff Harrison
    July 23, 2021 at 20:07

    The Israelis would be wise to be cautious. Getting a state to penalize a company for boycotting Israel would get the issue into the courts. I’m not at all sure but that these anti-boycott laws wouldn’t run afoul of our 1st amendment rights to free speech……

  9. alley cat
    July 23, 2021 at 18:27

    “And lastly, boycotting the whole of Israel, whether buyer or seller is the sure way to ensure the failure of the boycott. It will only serve to strengthen the consensus inside Israel, which is the opposite of what you want to do. The goal must be to increase the costs of supporting settlements and defense thereof, where it’s crystal clear that it’s only the occupation that the boycott targets”

    I supported the boycott of apartheid South Africa and I support the boycott of apartheid Israel. Some people who support BDS may wish to target only settlements and the occupation, but that limited opposition will never defeat the ideology that underpins the Zionist project for a greater, racially pure, Israel. As long as racists control the government of Israel, there will never be an end to apartheid and there will never be justice for Palestinians. So you see, it’s not just the occupation or the settlements that I oppose. What I really oppose is the idea behind the occupation and settlements: the idea that one race is inherently superior to another and has the right to oppress, kill, or expel them from their own land.

    That’s why I support BDS and a one-state solution, and it’s why Ben & Jerry should boycott all of Israel.

    • rgl
      July 25, 2021 at 12:08

      You meow truth Alley Cat.

  10. christian
    July 23, 2021 at 18:07

    While it is for Palestinian and Jewish activists groups a positive turn and a victory to rejoice for, for us, the citizen of empire I think we have nothing to be proud of. We can only rejoice for the occupied.
    But it is not our struggle, Israel is not the only villain. Ours is to put down empire and resume the class struggle.
    For the citizen of empire, Israel is a diversion, an easy feel good and far away from us target for would-be progressives. Israels crimes are dwarfed by the crimes of the usa, canada, britain, oz, nato and europe which are all apartheid warrior states with global reach.
    And the ice cream maker is also part of the globalist capitalist evil, the robber mutlinational Unilever which tries to look good for selling more ice cream to so called progressive which let down the class struggle to fight the identity struggle and the co2 struggle, and practicate the class begging please dear Unilever, dear WEF, stop the israeli apartheid and the climat change. Are not Jerry selling its ice cream on us military bases abroad ?

  11. July 23, 2021 at 16:42

    Not selling ice cream in the occupied territories is punishing Palestinians as much if not more than Israelis. If they really wanted to make a statement, they should sell only to Palestinians and not to Israelis any where in Israel or the occupied territories.

    • christian
      July 23, 2021 at 18:08

      Bah, they do a service to both for not selling that fat and sugar full junk food any more.

    • July 23, 2021 at 19:41

      That statement would defeat the whole purpose of pointing out the unfairness of it all. It would just exacerbate the situation. Really, can’t you sense this. The point of any boycott is to point out the injustice of the apartheid. It is not to seek vengeance or retribution, but rather it is to point out the obvious unfairness of the situation.
      In my humble opinion, the land belongs to the Palestinians, and since I’m typing this now, let me say, I did NOT appreciate mention of the Olympic tragedy (in Berlin I recall in the 70’s) that afflicted the Israeli contingent back then when it happened. Per the Olympic broadcast I watched today on NBC this got special mention and I think it came out of Japan itself. It seemed like a contrived story of propaganda and it made me very sad to hear it spoken….it was propaganda through and true…..still, wiser minds are already deciding the fate of Israel and for that I take solace. Israel has lost the initiative and for good reason. Apartheid is apartheid whether it be in South Africa, Israel, or South Carolina.
      I support Boycotting the state of Israel.
      Boycott them as they have blockaded the Palestinians so unjustly. The whole world is watching and we know.
      Justified Retribution.

    • TimN
      July 24, 2021 at 08:19

      Not having ice cream is probably the least of an average Palestinian’s worries, I would think.

  12. July 23, 2021 at 16:33

    Thank you Ben & Jerry!
    Thank you Unilever!

  13. Jim Thomas
    July 23, 2021 at 16:23

    Israel is a Zionist racist state which lacks legitimacy. It survives because it is propped up by the U.S., Britain and the E.U. All of Israel should be boycotted, shamed and isolated by all decent people and governments everywhere.

  14. ash
    July 23, 2021 at 15:54

    The best news of late. Let the Israeli Ambassador’s and their Prime Minister cry foul
    as much as they wish. I for one is extremely glad that Ben & Jerry did the right thing.
    I hope and wish other companies stiff their backbone a bit and stand against the
    onslaught of Israeli/Zionist pressure. Human rights violation should not be tolerated
    by any nation, state or country.

  15. KHI
    July 23, 2021 at 15:50

    Is it anti-Semite to oppose anti-BDS laws that are anti-American?

    • Piotr Berman
      July 24, 2021 at 08:24

      Yes, it is.

      It may be hard to understand, I agree, but there is a NEW, IMPROVED definition of anti-Semitism, and additional explanation what that definition means. One is application of “double standards” and “disproportional criticism”, which implies, according to experts on New Anti-Semitism, that tolerating BDS is anti-Semitic.

      The definition etc. does not explain why New Anti-Semitism is wrong (as opposed to the old one, that KHI understands), at least this issue is beyond my mental capacities.

  16. Kenneth Hausle
    July 23, 2021 at 15:11

    I already know who is gonna win this skirmish.
    It is obvious.

    • July 23, 2021 at 15:37

      I’ll tell.
      The winner will be the ones to whom the land belongs.
      Now, if you think the land belongs to you that doesn’t mean you will win. What do others think I query.
      So, what is the criteria for deciding to whom the land belongs?
      In law, I believe there is a concept referred to as “de-facto” and typically it has a time element. Based on this, I think it is evident to whom the land belongs and this travesty of justice is going to come to a head soon and I sure hope wiser minds prevail when push comes to shove.
      If you think you have been harmed, you still ain’t got no right to harm others now do you? If you harm others nonetheless, then there will be consequences is what the good books I’ve read have always espoused. So what is the confusion here. Some things are obvious.
      So obvious lately it practically makes me puke when I have to listen to the ongoing propaganda of it all.
      Fair is fair and we know.

      • James Simpson
        July 24, 2021 at 03:19

        All those words yet you haven’t the courage to name names. I suspect you mean that Zionists will win because they’re using the argument that Jewish people took the land (by force, according to the Old Testament) many thousands of years ago.

    • James Simpson
      July 24, 2021 at 03:17

      And the winner will be…?

      • July 24, 2021 at 19:05

        It won’t be Israel.
        They are in the wrong.
        It is obvious to any
        soul who cares
        about future
        OK James?
        I answered your question.

  17. John Puma
    July 23, 2021 at 15:11

    What is the legal basis for those “35 U.S. states that have outlawed or criminalized boycotts of Israel” that permits individual states to act the level of foreign policy?

    • James Simpson
      July 24, 2021 at 03:20

      The legal basis is “We’ve got the power”.

    • TimN
      July 24, 2021 at 08:21

      Good question. What an outrage! A foreign government tells US states to restrict speech and business!

  18. Playmobil
    July 23, 2021 at 13:10

    As an Israeli who supports boycotting settlements and has been avoiding settlers products for 20 years, I’d like to make 3 points:

    Ben and Jerry’s move, if it happens eventually, is almost meaningless despite the official hysteria: retailers in the settlements will surly buy the pint cups inside Israel and charge a little bit more inside settlements

    A seller’s boycott is a joke anyway. There are plenty of reasonable ice cream brands in Israel to choose from. What’s needed is a buyer boycott where people avoid products produced in settlements. That will actually affect the economics there

    And lastly, boycotting the whole of Israel, whether buyer or seller is the sure way to ensure the failure of the boycott. It will only serve to strengthen the consensus inside Israel, which is the opposite of what you want to do. The goal must be to increase the costs of supporting settlements and defense thereof, where it’s crystal clear that it’s only the occupation that the boycott targets.

    • Kenneth Hausle
      July 23, 2021 at 15:43

      I disagree.
      I support boycotting Israel.
      Some medicine hurts,
      but it is for the best.
      You get what you give.

    • ash
      July 23, 2021 at 15:56

      Then why the Israeli officials are making such as fuss about it – if it is meaningless, a joke and failure of boycott is certain.

      • Playmobil
        July 24, 2021 at 14:19

        Because it serves them politically inside Israel. There’s constant competition among politicians to be seen as resisting any change to the status quo.

    • KHI
      July 23, 2021 at 15:56

      The boycott is successful if the only thing it does is highlight the anti-BDS laws.

      I agree that inside of Israel, they can easily get around the boycott and that it will merely harden the opinion of Israelis who don’t care about US opinion anyway. The point isn’t to get Israel to change, but to reveal the apartheid state for what it is so that Americans will turn away from supporting it.

      I do regret that this will probably result in some retaliation against American Jews who don’t support Israel, but as long as AIPAC controls Congress, what else should an American (of any religion) do?

    • July 23, 2021 at 16:44

      You’re making an economic analysis, and economic analyses are irrelevant. This is a political problem.
      In addition, even if economic analyses mattered, your economic analysis does not hold. It relies on unstated presumptions of questionable validity.
      You miss the point. The point is that a US corporation is standing up and calling out the criminal state of Israel. Once one corporation joins the boycott more will follow
      . . . we’re now in a slippery slope; and if the Zionazis don’t shut down Unilever’s decision by hook or crook, the slippery slope will ensure the BDS movement will reach tipping point.

    • Helga I. Fellay
      July 24, 2021 at 18:55

      The fact that Zionist Israel is fighting against BDS tooth and nail belies your theory that boycotts are meaningless. Why expend that much time, effort and money to fight against BDS if it were indeed meaningless. The boycott’s greatest power lies in its economic impact than its symbolic meaning, which is far more powerful than a few dollars and cents.

Comments are closed.