THERE’S a video on Twitter showing Israeli cabinet minister Orna Barbivay, above, tossing a tub of Ben & Jerry’s into a trash can to protest the British-owned company’s decision not to sell ice cream in ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory.’
Hers would be regarded as a pointless little gesture but for the fact that it helped highlight a furious reaction in both Israel and the US to the company’s announcement yesterday (Monday).
According to this report, other reactions to the Unilever-owned company’s include “harsh” words from other Israeli leaders.
Despite the distinctions Ben & Jerry’s made in its statement between Israel and the “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a longtime supporter of the settlements, called the decision a “boycott of Israel” and said Ben and Jerry’s:
Decided to brand itself as an anti-Israel ice cream.
His predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, tweeted:
Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, the architect of the current ruling coalition who is generally to Bennett’s left regarding the Palestinians, went even further, calling the decision:
A shameful surrender to antisemitism, to BDS and to all that is wrong with the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse.
He called on US states to take domestic action against Ben and Jerry’s based on state laws that prohibit government contracting with entities that boycott Israel
Other Israeli public figures appeared to compare the ice cream company’s settlement boycott to terrorism. Eran Cicurel, an editor at Israel’s public broadcaster, tweeted that the colour scheme on Ben & Jerry’s statement was similar to that of the flag of the terror group Hamas.
Amichai Chikli, a right-wing lawmaker in Israel’s Knesset, tweeted:
Ben & Jerry’s You picked the wrong side.
The reactions were all part of the firestorm that “quirky” Vermont-based company set off yesterday (Monday) with a statement that pleased neither Israel supporters nor pro-Palestinian advocates. The former said the decision was an unfair attack on Israel, while the latter insisted that Ben & Jerry’s should have gone farther.
American Jewish groups offered varied responses to the statement. Jeremy Ben-Ami, President of the left-leaning Israel advocacy group J Street, said that Ben & Jerry’s was drawing:
A principled and rational distinction between commercial transactions in the State of Israel & those in the territory it occupies.
He said the term “antisemitism” didn’t apply to the company’s actions.
Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the left-wing New Israel Fund, said that Ben & Jerry’s was not being antisemitic in exiting “occupied Palestinian territory” because:
These lands are not sovereign Israel. Attacking people who try and distinguish between sovereign and non-sovereign Israel by calling them antisemitic is to evade a matter of fact, abuse the meaning of ‘antisemitism’ and ultimately gaslight those who would try and work towards a future of equality and justice for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
The right-wing Zionist Organization of America called for a boycott of the ice cream, proclaiming that Ben & Jerry’s is “bad for your moral and physical health.” The call was echoed by others such as the Jewish conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, who said he would stop consuming the brand.
Glatt Express Supermarket, a kosher grocery store in Teaneck, New Jersey, announced via Facebook that it would no longer carry Ben & Jerry’s products following the company’s announcement.
Due to the recent actions by Ben & Jerry’s, Glatt Express will no longer be carrying Ben and Jerry’s products. Am Yisroel Chai [the people of Israel live].
Aron’s Kissena Farms, a kosher market in Queens, made the same decision, saying on Facebook that:
It has removed all of the Ben & Jerry’s products in the freezers, and will no longer sell any and all Ben & Jerry products effective immediately. Aron’s Kissena Farms stands with the state of Israel.
The brand was founded in 1978 by Jewish boyhood friends Ben Cohen, left, Jerry Greenfield, pictured above. In January 2021, Ben & Jerry’s released a Tweet calling for the resignation, impeachment, and invoking of the 25th Amendment against US President Donald Trump following the storming of the United States Capitol, saying:
Yesterday was not a protest—it was a riot to uphold white supremacy.
During 14-month period, the “woke” company spent $1.2 million on Facebook ads championing criminal justice reform.
That’s more than the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) spent on their Facebook ads combined, according to the social network’s searchable ad archive. It’s more than Greenpeace and Unicef. It’s on par with recent ad spending by Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and nearly all the other 20-some Democrats running for president in 2020.