Ice cream that leaves a bad taste in our mouths

The bitter taste left by Ben & Jerry has seen a grassroots backlash against this company in Jewish neighborhoods around the world. Op-ed.

Barry Shaw ,

איילת שקד במפעל בן אנד ג'ריס
איילת שקד במפעל בן אנד ג'ריס
צילום: דוברות
Less than 24 hours after receiving the news that Ben & Jerry's had announced they would not allow their ice cream to be sold in Judea & Samaria, what they called "occupied Palestinian territory,” there has been a grassroots backlash against this company in Jewish neighborhoods around the world..

Both the Israeli TV and social media channels are reporting that Israelis are boycotting B&J's ice cream, and had to be told by the government that in Israel,one should continue purchasing it to try to save the local manufacturing plant which had been told its contract would not be renewed.

The trending emoji in Israel today are photographs of cartons of B&J in trash cans, thrown out by protesting consumers.

You boycott us. We boycott you, is the new motto.

This ice cream company achieved something that Israelis thought impossible following the recent fractious national election. Ben & Jerry succeeded in uniting Benjamin Netanyahu with his political rivals Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid in a coalition against this ice cream brand.

Following the announcement that they would remove their products from the "territories", Bibi tweeted, "Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy."

Yair Lapid called the decision, "a disgraceful capitulation to anti-Semitism and the BDS movement.”

Lapid, as Foreign Minister, said he would appeal to the 30+ US states that have anti-boycott laws to retaliate against the company.

Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, said, “the company had made a moral mistake that will turn out to be a business mistake as well.”

The company founded in 1978 by two Vermont Jews, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, was sold to Unilever, but the influence of the founders is still relevant in the company today. And their influence reflects the woke values that have pervaded many American Jews in recent years, values that have led them away from traditional and legitimate values such as those pursued by mainstream Jews and Israel.

Cohen and Greenfield echo the anti-Israel platform of the group Vermont for Justice in Palestine which has accused Israel wrongly of “abuses of Palestinian human rights” while studiously ignoring the barbaric Palestinian Authority “Pay to Slay” policy of rewarding Arabs who kill Jews, and the Palestinian authorities who, according to Human Rights Watch, abuse, arrest, torture, and kill Arabs who oppose their corrupt rule, both in Ramallah and in Gaza. They do this while insisting that Israel withdraw from territory that was mutually agreed upon under the Oslo Accords as remaining under Israeli administrative and security control until a permanent peace agreement with the Palestinian Arabs.

Cohen and Greenfield are wrong both on their business decision and their biased and mistaken politics.

Ben & Jerry's announced that their political ban would start in another year and a half due to their signed commercial commitments.

It is highly likely that, by that time, this company, headed by these two American Jews, will not find Jeiwish population centers a viable place to do business..

Jews like choice, but not one that leaves a nasty taste in their mouths.

In the Jewish world today, their ice cream is confined to the trash can.

Barry Shaw is Senior Associate for the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.



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