FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

It’s Time to Boycott Ben & Jerry’s

In 2011, Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel began a discussion with Ben & Jerry’s in South Burlington, Vermont, concerning their long-standing contractual relationship with an Israeli franchise that manufactures ice cream in Israel proper and sells it in Israel settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

These settlements – fortified colonies for Jews only – contravene international law. Ben & Jerry’s knows this. It knows, too, that the company’s Social Mission and history of supporting progressive causes cannot be reconciled with its franchise’s commercial ties to the settlements.

Despite what it knows and the values that define its corporate identity, Ben & Jerry’s refuses to stop its Israeli franchise from making money in the settlements.

The decision to call for a boycott

VTJP’s thinking reached a tipping point during Israel’s massive military assault against Gaza in the summer of 2014, the third in less than six years. 2,200 Palestinians were killed and more than 11,000 wounded. The casualties were overwhelmingly civilians.

Because Gaza’s morgues could not handle the horrific carnage, bodies of dead children and babies had to be stacked temporarily in ice cream freezers prior to burial.

While this massacre of innocents was being carried out, Ben & Jerry’s “peace & love” ice cream was passing through Israeli checkpoints, being transported on Jewish-only roads, and being sold to supermarkets and at catered events in those Jewish-only settlements.

A company can’t call itself progressive and remain silent on Palestine

It’s now clear that appealing to Ben & Jerry’s socially responsible “conscience” alone will not achieve our objectives.

Since 2013, the year our campaign went public, thousands of individuals and 239 organizations in 20 countries, including Israel, and from the District of Columbia and the occupied Palestinian territory, have called on Ben & Jerry’s to honor its Social Mission by severing its franchise’s business with Israeli settlements.

Jeff Furman, chairperson of Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors, traveled to Occupied Palestine in 2012 with a group of American civil rights’ leaders. He described what he saw there as “apartheid.”

A Ben & Jerry’s delegation traveled to Israel/Palestine in 2014, as VTJP had urged. Participants met with anti-occupation activists, and some toured the West Bank. They learned from credible sources and saw with their own eyes the brutal measures and humiliations that afflict Palestinian life.

VTJP also informed the company in 2014 that its franchise may be purchasing equipment from an illegal Israeli enterprise in the occupied [Syrian] Golan Heights.

In spite of all this, the company has refused not only to stop its practices, but to even issue a statement calling for an end to Israel’s occupation and settlements.

Therefore, a boycott.

Moving forward

The company and its U.S. shop owners received a letter shortly before VTJP’s third-annual, Free Cone Day protests on April 14 informing them of our boycott action.

VTJP also announced its boycott call with an original “cantastoria” and video called “No Justice, No Sweets.” The Apartheid Adventures media collective, on its own initiative, produced a brilliant satirical video called “Licking Apartheid.”

Our boycott call is being disseminated through the social media and organizational networks of Palestine solidarity and peace groups around the world.

Ben & Jerry’s has responded with a brief posting on its webpage. It’s a classic example of “redirection through misdirection,” as we pointed out in a rebuttal.

Much organizing work remains to be done, of course. VTJP calls on people of conscience around the world to endorse and contribute to this boycott.

Mark Hage is an activist with Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel. He can be contacted at icecream@vtjp.org.

 

 

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
Mel Gurtov
Weaponizing Humanitarian Aid
Thomas Knapp
Lame Duck Shutdown Theater Time: Pride Goeth Before a Wall?
George Wuerthner
The Thrill Bike Threat to the Elkhorn Mountains
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Selfhood and Her Ability to Act in the Public Domain: Resilience of Nadia Murad
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
On the Killing of an Ash Tree
Graham Peebles
Britain’s Homeless Crisis
Louis Proyect
America: a Breeding Ground for Maladjustment
Steve Carlson
A Hell of a Time
Dan Corjescu
America and The Last Ship
Jeffrey St. Clair
Booked Up: the 25 Best Books of 2018
David Yearsley
Bikini by Rita, Voice by Anita
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail