Ben & Jerry’s Boycott of ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’ Met with Swift Backlash — ‘Israel-Obsessed Fake Humanitarianism’

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 20: Ben and Jerry's ice cream is stored in a cooler at an event where founders Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen gave away ice cream to bring attention to police reform at the U.S. Supreme Court on May 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. The two are …
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Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company faced a wave of backlash on Monday after announcing plans to boycott Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, or what it termed “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” with many calling out the Vermont-based company’s hypocrisy and double standards.

“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” the company stated in a notice it posted on its website, though adding it would continue selling in Israel:

In response to the decision, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett blasted the decision, calling it wrong both “morally” and “commercially.”

“There are many ice cream brands, but only one Jewish state,” he wrote.

“Ben & Jerry’s has decided to brand itself as the anti-Israel ice cream,” he added. “This decision is morally wrong and I believe that it will become clear that it is also commercially wrong.”

In another tweet, Bennett referred to the boycott as a “total loss of way.” 

“The boycott against Israel – a democracy surrounded by islands of terrorism – reflects a total loss of way,” he wrote. “The boycott does not work and will not work, and we will fight it with full force.”:

Israeli opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote, “Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy”:

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid referred to the decision as a “shameful surrender” to anti-Israel pressure. 

“Ben & Jerry’s decision represents shameful surrender to antisemitism, to BDS and to all that is wrong with the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse,” he wrote. “We will not be silent.

In another tweet, Lapid promised a response.

“Over 30 states in the United States have passed anti-BDS legislation in recent years,” he wrote. 

“I plan on asking each of them to enforce these laws against Ben & Jerry’s,” he added. “They will not treat the State of Israel like this without a response.”:

Israeli Knesset Member Amichai Chikli called out the company for choosing the “wrong side,” sharing an image of a Palestinian who took part in an infamous brutal lynching of two Israeli reservists who accidentally entered into the Palestinian town of Ramallah in 2000:

“Hmmm are you ending your sales in occupied north Cyprus or in occupied Kurdistan too?” mocked Yair Netanyahu, son of Israel’s former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Very poor & misguided decision by Ben & Jerry’s,” wrote Jason Greenblatt, former White House Middle East Envoy under President Trump.

“These actions harm the conversation & harm Jews & Arabs who live there. Boycotts like this never worked & drive chances for peace further away,” he added. 

“Also, referring to it as ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’ is a false & misleading label,” he further added:

“It is discriminatory and against the interests of peace and reconciliation to launch a one-sided boycott when it is the Palestinian leadership that refuses to come to the negotiating table with Israel,” the prominent pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) tweeted:

“By ‘popular demand’ (aka Pro-Palestinian social media pressure) @benandjerrys announced their newest flavor of the month: Only Boycott the Jewish State,” former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D) wrote.

“ALLERGY WARNING: ice cream loaded with bullshit, inconsistencies, double standards & Israel-obsessed fake humanitarianism,” he added mockingly.

In another tweet, the longtime Jewish activist called out the company’s hypocrisy.

“The feeble @benandjerrys haven’t stop selling to any disputed territory around the world other than Israel [sic],” he wrote.

“If they’re so concerned for human rights and believe in consistency, as they claim, why do they sell to the Palestinians who persecute LGBTQ ‘allies’? [sic]” he asked:

“Just FYI, @benandjerrys operates in #China, and to the best of my knowledge, has not said anything about Hong Kong or the ethnic cleansing of Uyghurs,” wrote international human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky.

“But hey, priorities & corporate social responsibility and all that…,” he added:

“Well, we’re finished with you Jew hating schmucks,” wrote conservative American-Israeli columnist Caroline Glick.

“But FYI, your Israeli subsidiary also thinks you’re Jew hating schmucks which is why it sells all over Judea and Samaria,” she added:

“Ben and Jerry’s fails to realize BDS refers to ALL of Israel as occupied Palestinian territory,” StopAntisemitism.org tweeted.

“Do they honestly think appeasing these bigots will help anything?” the group added. “Shameful.”

Jews in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter are now banned from buying Chunky Monkey,” human rights activist Hillel Neuer wrote.

“Another win for anti-racism,” he added:

“Serious question: has @BenandJerrys ever refused to sell its products in any other disputed territory, anywhere in the world—or is this the only one?” asked Avi Mayer, director of public affairs at the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

“And another question: will @BenandJerrys refuse to sell their products to all the residents of the territory in question—or only to the Israeli Jews who live there?” he added:

“Out of all the conflicts in the world, you choose to side with Hamas!” Israeli activist Liza Rosen wrote:

“Will Ben & Jerry’s also end the sale of their ice cream in Taiwan or Northern Cyprus?” asked Middle East analyst Yoni Michanie. “Probably not.”

“Some of the responses here are complaining that Ben and Jerry will continue its operations in Israel at all, which gives away the game: The boycotts aren’t about the ‘occupation,’ they’re about denying Jews self-determination,” journalist Lahav Harkov wrote:

“Connecting ice cream and politics. Interesting strategy. I wonder if this ‘human rights’ strategy is also implemented outside of Israel, for example- Syria, Turkey (which occupies Northern Cyprus), Lebanon (occupied by Hezbollah) etc.,” AJC Jerusalem Director Avital Leibovich wrote.

“I think you know the answer,” she added:

“Ben & Jerry’s does not say what ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’ means,” columnist and author Gary Weiss wrote. “Its intended audience (note comments) views all Israel as ‘occupied’ by those darn Jews.” 

“So are all ‘Palestinian territories’ covered or just the areas where Jews are forbidden to live? They OK with that?” he asked:

“This is blatant anti-Semitism being pushed by Ben and Jerry’s, which is becoming increasingly common from the ‘woke’ crowd,” the Tea Party Patriots’ official Twitter account tweeted. “Go Woke, Go Broke, Good Riddance.”

“Ben And Jerry’s Introduces Fun New Flavor ‘Push The Jews Into The Sea Salt And Caramel,’” mocked leading news satire site, The Babylon Bee:

“Take a stand against PA and Hamas abuses instead of sniveling about Israel. Oh wait. That would require work,” wrote Erielle Davidson, senior policy analyst at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America:

“Ben and Jerry’s has disgraced itself by caving in to anti-Jewish bigotry,” former U.S. Congressman Peter King wrote.

“Israel is the pillar of democracy in a region of chaos and over the years has made every effort to reach a fair and just compromise with the Palestinians only to be rebuffed,” he added. “I condemn Ben and Jerry’s and am proud to stand with Israel!”:

“Where are Palestinians going to buy Ben & Jerry’s? What kind of own goal is this?” author Seth Mandel asked.

“It’s a self-boycott. I mean, it’s their right of course, but they kinda look like those commentators who get trolled into thinking 4chan pranks are real,” he added. 

“‘I won’t buy your product’ is one kind of boycott. ‘We don’t serve your kind’ is another. Why choose the second one?” he asked:

Ben & Jerry’s is no stranger to controversy, having expressed support for “woke” causes on many occasions.

In April, the ice cream company called to defund police, characterizing the police-involved shooting of Daunte Wright as being intrinsically linked to “white supremacy.”:

Last year, the famed company named a flavor after former NFL player and national anthem protester Colin Kaepernick, and in February, erected a billboard in the Super Bowl host city of Tampa Bay depicting him with a raised fist, next to his “Change the Whirled” flavor and signature “I Know My Rights” sign from his “Know Your Rights Camp.”

The recent anti-Israel move marks a win for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has targeted the Vermont-based American company for the last decade, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein

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