Last month, the far-left ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s, owned by Unilever, announced that the company 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).”
The company’s embrace of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement was not well received by customers, and franchisees begged the company to rescind its 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,” a letter from 18 franchise owners representing 30 stores read. “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 and 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.”
But the company is defending its anti-Semitic boycott.
“We did it. We’re proud of it,” Ben & Jerry’s founder Ben Cohen said in a conference call Monday with Americans for Peace Now, an anti-Israel activist group. “We consistently use our voice to stand up for justice, and the amazing thing that we discovered over the years is that the more we do that, the more ice cream we sell.”
At least eight U.S. states are considering sanctioning Ben & Jerry’s or its parent company Unilever, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Cohen claims their anti-Semitic boycott isn’t anti-Semitic, but even the Anti-Defamation League concedes that “Many of the founding goals of the BDS movement, including denying the Jewish people the universal right of self-determination – along with many of the strategies employed in BDS campaigns are anti-Semitic.”
“And, all too often, BDS advocates employ antisemitic rhetoric and narratives to isolate and demonize Israel,” they say.