FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Time to Freeze Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Profits in Israel

Most people know that Ben & Jerry’s, headquartered in South Burlington, Vermont, makes premium ice cream and champions “Peace” and “Love.”  What they don’t know is that this iconic leader of the socially responsible business community and supporter of Occupy Wall Street is commercially complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestine. 

Progressive Except for Palestine

Ben & Jerry’s Social Mission commits it to

…meet human needs and eliminate injustices in our local, national and international communities by integrating these concerns into our day-to-day business activities.

…seek and support nonviolent ways to achieve peace and justice.

…show a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.

Sadly, that Social Mission does not apply to Occupied Palestine at present.  Based on an investigation in 2011, Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine Israel learned that the company is making ice cream in Israel and selling it in Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and is planning to increase the number of scoop shops in Israel. The company and its Israeli licensee also run an ice cream factory near Kiryat Malachi—like virtually all Israeli towns and cities, it’s built on the former lands of a Palestinian village forcibly de-populated in the War of 1948, which culminated with the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians. This horrific crime is what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, the “Catastrophe.”

Today, Israeli trucks distributing Ben & Jerry’s ice cream travel seamlessly from the factory, down the forgotten roads of the Nakba, then on super highways that have systematically eviscerated the “Green Line” (Israel’s 1967 border with the West Bank and East Jerusalem), circumventing military checkpoints and roadblocks that torment Palestinians, to arrive at markets in Jewish settlements entrenched on stolen Palestinian land—places like Gilo, Pisgat Ze’ev, Ma’ale Admumim and Mishor Adumim. One of our activists visited markets in these settlements and found Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for sale. With assistance from a Jewish-Israeli compatriot, we also discovered that Jewish settlers can order a party cart with catering services from the factory.

Ending Ben & Jerry’s Complicity with Israel’s Occupation

Ben & Jerry’s is not the most egregious corporate offender in Palestine. But unlike those that are, it has a Social Mission that cannot be reconciled with Israel’s occupation and settlement regime.  On March 14, after nearly two years of unsuccessful engagement with the company, VTJP launched a campaign calling on Ben & Jerry’s to take the following measures until Israel terminates its occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands in compliance with international law:

1. End the marketing, sales and catering of Ben & Jerry’s products in Israel and Jewish-only settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

2. Stop manufacturing ice cream in Israel.

3. Issue a statement calling (a) for an end to Israel’s occupation and settlement enterprise and (b) appealing directly to other socially responsible companies to do likewise and to end business operations in Israel and its illegal settlements.

Since VTJP went public, 3,200 people have signed our petition to Ben & Jerry’s and over 500 have sent an e-mail of protest to its CEO.  The company has refused media interviews and continues to insist, without elaboration, that its franchise’s business in Israel and Occupied Palestine is aligned with its Social Mission.

On April 9, VTJP activists will be leafleting outside Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops on “Free Cone Day” to remind the company that its ice cream may be free on that day, but Palestine is not.  We invite you to join us at a scoop shop of your choice.

Mark Hage lives in Montpelier, Vermont, and is a member of Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel (www.vtjp.org).  He can be reached at mhage56@yahoo.com

More articles by:
June 20, 2018
Henry Giroux
Trump’s War on Children is an act of State Terrorism
Bill Hackwell
Unprecedented Cruelty Against Immigrants and Their Children
Paul Atwood
“What? You Think We’re So Innocent?”
Nicola Perugini
The Palestinian Tipping Point
K.J. Noh
Destiny and Daring: South Korean President Moon Jae-In’s Impossible Journey Towards Peace
Gary Leupp
Jeff Sessions and St. Paul’s Clear and Wise Commands
M. G. Piety
On Speaking Small Truths to Power
Dave Lindorff
Some Straight Talk for Younger People on Social Security (and Medicare too)
George Wuerthner
The Public Value of Forests as Carbon Reserves
CJ Hopkins
Confession of a Putin-Nazi Denialist
David Schultz
Less Than Fundamental:  the Myth of Voting Rights in America
Rohullah Naderi
The West’s Over-Publicized Development Achievements in Afghanistan 
Dan Bacher
California Lacks Real Marine Protection as Offshore Drilling Expands in State Waters
Lori Hanson – Miguel Gomez
The Students of Nicaragua’s April Uprising
Russell Mokhiber
Are Corporations Are Behind Frivolous Lawsuits Against Corporations?
Michael Welton
Infusing Civil Society With Hope for a Better World
June 19, 2018
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
We Can Thank Top Union Officials for Trump
Lawrence Davidson
The Republican Party Falls Apart, the Democrats Get Stuck
Sheldon Richman
Trump, North Korea, and Iran
Richard Rubenstein
Trump the (Shakespearean) Fool: a New Look at the Dynamics of Trumpism
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Protect Immigrant Rights; End the Crises That Drive Migration
Gary Leupp
Norway: Just Withdraw From NATO
Kristine Mattis
Nerd Culture, Adultolescence, and the Abdication of Social Priorities
Mike Garrity
The Forest Service Should Not be Above the Law
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Activism And Smears Masquerade As Journalism: From Seralini To Jairam Ramesh, Aruna Rodrigues Puts The Record Straight
Doug Rawlings
Does the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?
Kenneth Surin
2018 Electioneering in Appalachian Virginia
Nino Pagliccia
Chrystia Freeland Fails to See the Emerging Multipolar World
John Forte
Stuart Hall and Us
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail