On Wednesday, the two leftists who founded the ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s, Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, defended the company’s decision to refuse to sell their product in the Biblical lands of Judea and Samaria in Israel.
In a piece in The New York Times pompously titled, “We’re Ben and Jerry. Men of Ice Cream, Men of Principle,” the two men, who have espoused leftist positions for years, as detailed here, started by acknowledging, “We are the founders of Ben & Jerry’s.” Then they immediately proclaimed, despite their endorsement of a policy that targets Jews in their own holy land, “We are also proud Jews. It’s part of who we are and how we’ve identified ourselves for our whole lives.”
They insisted that they “remain today, supporters of the State of Israel. But it’s possible to support Israel and oppose some of its policies, just as we’ve opposed policies of the U.S. government. As such, we unequivocally support the decision of the company to end business in the occupied territories, which a majority of the international community, including the United Nations, has deemed an illegal occupation.”
If it weren’t enough to target Jews in Judea and Samaria, they ratcheted up the rhetoric even higher: “In our view, ending the sales of ice cream in the occupied territories is one of the most important decisions the company has made in its 43-year history. It was especially brave of the company. Even though it undoubtedly knew that the response would be swift and powerful, Ben & Jerry’s took the step to align its business and operations with its progressive values.”
They claimed that supporting the company’s decision was “not a contradiction nor is it anti-Semitic. In fact, we believe this act can and should be seen as advancing the concepts of justice and human rights, core tenets of Judaism.”
Just in case their leftist position wasn’t made clear, they continued, “Ben & Jerry’s is a company that advocates peace. It has long called on Congress to reduce the U.S. military budget. Ben & Jerry’s opposed the Persian Gulf war of 1991”
Then the attack on Jews living in Judea and Samaria: “The company’s stated decision to more fully align its operations with its values is not a rejection of Israel. It is a rejection of Israeli policy, which perpetuates an illegal occupation that is a barrier to peace and violates the basic human rights of the Palestinian people who live under the occupation.”
They loftily concluded, “Over the years, we’ve also come to believe that there is a spiritual aspect to business, just as there is to the lives of individuals. As you give, you receive. We hope that for Ben & Jerry’s, that is at the heart of the business. To us, that’s what this decision represents, and that is why we are proud that 43 years after starting an ice cream shop in a dilapidated gas station in Burlington, Vt., our names are still on the package.”
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