Aaron Klein: Ben & Jerry’s Israel Boycott ‘Wokeness Gone Insane’

A labourer works on a production line filling ice-cream pots at the Ben & Jerry's factory in Be'er Tuvia in southern Israel, on July 21, 2021. - Ben & Jerry's announced that it will stop selling ice cream in the Israel-occupied Palestinian territories since it was "inconsistent with our values", …

Aaron Klein, senior adviser to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, denounced ice cream makers Ben & Jerry’s boycott of Israel as “wokeness gone insane” on John Batchelor’s CBS Radio show this week.

On Monday, Ben & Jerry’s announced its plans to end sales in what it termed the “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

According to Klein, the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, which put heavy pressure on the ice cream giant to stop sales in Israel and particularly in the West Bank, is antisemitic and would rather see the Jewish state eliminated entirely.

“I don’t like it when people misuse words like antisemitism. This is not being misused. The BDS movement of which Ben and Jerry’s is now a part is the very definition of antisemitism. It delegitimizes the right of Israel to exist,” Klein told Batchelor.

“Ben and Jerry’s shows what BDS really is. It is not about Jews living in certain areas which within itself is already antisemitic to oppose that. It is Jews living in Israel. It is the existence of Israel,” Klein, who previously served as Breitbart Jerusalem’s bureau chief, said.

He went on to explain calling it “Occupied Palestinian Territory” in itself is a misnomer since such a territory “doesn’t legally exist anywhere.”

He said:

There is no Palestine.  In fact, the title Palestine was previously used for the pre-Israel Jewish communities.  If anything, the United nations at most calls these territories “disputed.”

What are they even talking about here? “Occupied Palestinian Territories.” They are referring to, for example, eastern sections of Jerusalem. This means the Kotel, the Western Wall, the Temple Mount — the holiest site in Judaism — according to Ben and Jerry’s is occupied.

They’re talking about the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem which Jews inhabited for 3000 years.

They were talking about places like Hebron, home to the second holiest site in Judaism — the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs.  Hebron, home to the oldest continuous Jewish community in the world.

It is not just these areas that Ben and Jerry’s falsely labels occupied.  The board of directors, according to reports, they want to boycott Israel in its entirety. Ben and Jerry’s announced that they are not going to continue the licensing agreement with their Israeli licensee here who manufacturers Ben and Jerry’s in all of Israel. When Unilever, the parent company that bought Ben and Jerry’s, tried to stop that, the Ben and Jerry’s board fought them.

Klein called on Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company Unilever to immediately “cancel this antisemitic decree, ” concluding by telling Batchelor he would personally no longer be buying Ben & Jerry’s.

“Haagen Dazs tastes very good. I’m going to be buying Haagen Dazs,” he quipped, noting the late founders of the ice cream makers, Rose and Reuben Mattus, were “huge supporters of Israel.”

On Thursday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog condemned BDS as “a new kind of terrorism.”

An Ultra Orthodox Jewish youth walks by Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Jerusalem on July 20, 2021. American ice cream-maker Ben & Jerry’s announced on July 19, 2021 they would stop selling their ice cream in the Palestinian territories, saying its sale “is inconsistent with our values.” The Unilever subsidiary said they “hear and recognise the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners,” without elaborating. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty)

“The BDS campaign does not pursue peace and seeks to undermine the very existence of the State of Israel. It is aiming its arrows at the Israeli economy,” he went on.

Herzog declared Israel would not stop fighting Ben & Jerry’s boycott as well as other means of economic warfare against it.

His remarks echoed those of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett a day earlier.  Bennett told Alan Jope, the CEO of Unilever that the boycott is an “anti-Israel” move that would be fought “vigorously.”

Others were quick to join the fray and stand up against the company and its anti-Israel boycott.

Jope on Thursday distanced itself from Ben & Jerry’s decision, saying the conglomerate remains “fully committed” to doing business in Israel.

But he stopped short of saying his company would force Ben & Jerry’s to walk back its decision.


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