Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, were woke before it was cool to be woke. Even after the pair of aging hippies sold the brand to food giant Unilever, their social justice influence continued, thanks to an acquisition agreement with Unilever in which the company agreed to carry on the founders’ tradition of engaging “in critical, global economic and social missions.”
So it’s not surprising that Unilever released a statement on Monday saying it would no longer sell Ben & Jerry’s products in the “occupied territories” — the West Bank and Gaza Strip — once its licensing agreement in Israel expires in 2022.
“Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT, we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement. We will share an update on this as soon as we’re ready,” Unilever’s statement explained.
This blatant cave-in to pressure by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement did not sit well with some New York supermarket chains.
The board of directors of Morton Williams Supermarkets quickly met and decided that their 15 stores in the city that never sleeps (and one in New Jersey) would cut 70% of its B&J products, the New York Post reported Tuesday. Co-owner Avi Kaner told the daily that his shops would also stop promoting the brand in its circulars and put what was left in “the least desirable locations” of the freezer section.
While unwilling to alienate certain customers by a complete ban, Kaner said he would work to create a domino effect to send a “strong message” to B&J.
“Of all the places in the world to boycott, Ben & Jerry’s has chosen to target the one Jewish nation in the world,” he said. The company, Kaner added, is “reaching out to other major retailers and distributors in the hope that they will follow suit.”
Kaner tweeted out, “Please try Haagen-Dazs ice cream – you’ll love it!”
Morton Williams wasn’t the only chain to act.
Two popular big groceries, Aron’s Kissena Farms in Queens, and Glatt Express Supermarket in Teaneck, N.J., aren’t waiting and announced that they have already removed the ice cream from their shelves in support of the Jewish state.
A number of other stores in the New York region that carry Ben & Jerry’s have followed suit as well as Kosher Kingdom in Melbourne, Australia.
Meanwhile, the Washington Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles took a tongue-in-cheek approach to B&J’s BDS.
The company, which is at least partially responsible for the nearly three million annual deaths from obesity, argued that selling ice cream in those areas was “inconsistent with our values.” Others argued the move was merely a performative display of anti-Semitism designed to appeal to journalists and other radical liberals.
New information exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon suggests the company’s commitment to anti-Semitism was the driving force behind the decision. Documents obtained by the Free Beacon reveal that Ben & Jerry’s plans to target the anti-Semite demographic with an extensive ad campaign touting the release of at least five new ice cream flavors.
The satire piece by Stiles quipped that new flavors like “The Women’s March’s Farracone Fudge Factory,” “Yassar Arafat’s First Mintifada,” and “Ilhan Omar’s All About the Benjalmonds” should sell very well among the BDS set.
There are 30 states that have anti-BDS laws on the books. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has vowed to go to each one and demand they enforce their own laws.
“Ben & Jerry’s decision is a shameful surrender to anti-Semitism, to BDS, to all the evil in the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse,” he said.
“We will not keep quiet. More than 30 states in the United States have laws against surrendering to BDS that have passed in recent years. I plan to go one by one and demand that they enforce these laws against Ben & Jerry’s because they will not treat us in this way without encountering a response.”
Unilever should be worried about a backlash. There must be a price paid for companies that engage in anti-Semitic advocacy. At least in New York, there will be.