Last month, the far-left ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s, owned by Unilever, announced that it would no longer sell its products in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, claiming it was “inconsistent” with its values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream “to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).”
Despite claiming to be recognizing the concerns of their fans and trusted partners, Ben & Jerry’s clearly didn’t consider that many of the people who eat their ridiculously unhealthy ice cream might not take well to the company’s embrace of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. And it turns out that franchisees paid the price for the company’s woke social justice pandering.
Eighteen franchise owners representing 30 stores with a combined total annual revenue of $23 million wrote a letter to Unilever requesting that they rescind the boycott.
“There is a danger that the pursuit of social justice will descend into political correctness or result in the adoption of overly simplistic solutions by people who share a single view of the world that misconstrue complex problems in which multiple claims of justice are implicated,” the letter reads. “The imposition of such narrow prescriptions does not advance social justice or the pursuit of a values-led business in any meaningful way.”
The franchisees say that the boycott has resulted in revenue loss due to their association with a company that invites controversy.
“The decision that has been made to terminate the contract with Ben & Jerry’s licensee in Israel not only distorts the situation on the ground—it has imposed and will to continue to impose, substantial financial costs on all of us,” the letter explains. “More importantly, the controversy your recent actions have brought upon our local businesses has had an adverse effect on the value of our independently owned franchises and investments.”
The franchisees say that friends, family, neighbors, and other businesses shame them personally “for doing business not just with a company that draws controversy, but with one that continues to consider the calculated negative effect on its franchisees as acceptable collateral damage.”
As for embracing a blatantly anti-Semitic movement? Well, that’s not so much a problem. “Those who feel strongly about Israel that they want to boycott it or some part of the territory it administers are free to do so,” the letter continues. “They cannot, however, do that at our expense. We believe this decision needs to be re-examined and withdrawn.”
📢 Letter from @benandjerrys franchisees, in response to company's #Israel boycott, which they say "not only distorts the situation on the ground … it has imposed substantial financial costs on all of us." They also write passionately of the personal toll the decision has had. pic.twitter.com/iQ8APbzStM
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) August 4, 2021
It’s good that Ben & Jerry’s franchisees are speaking out. A condemnation of the boycott on moral grounds would be nice too. But, Ben & Jerry’s franchisees will be Ben & Jerry’s franchisees.
While this letter might get Univlever to rescind its boycott, it might be too little too late. Rescinding the boycott for financial reasons doesn’t change the company’s values, and they’ve let their true colors fly. While Ben & Jerry’s has espoused leftist propaganda forever, this blatant anti-Semitic boycott will not be easily forgiven or forgotten. Ben & Jerry’s executives have made their bed, and their franchisees will have to lie in it no matter what they decide to do next.