Home Christian News Ben & Jerry’s Threatened Ban in West Bank Creates Ripples Beyond Ice...

Ben & Jerry’s Threatened Ban in West Bank Creates Ripples Beyond Ice Cream Stores

The anticipated boycott comes at a time of rapidly rising antisemitism, and as an 11-day armed conflict in late May between Israel and Hamas increased calls to shun Israel.

During the short war, social media was awash with antisemitic cartoons as well as anti-Jewish conspiracy theories and claims that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians amounts to “apartheid.”

In a poll conducted by the Anti-Defamation League soon after the Israel-Gaza hostilities ended on May 30, more than half (53%) of American Jews said they had witnessed “more behavior or conduct deemed antisemitic” than prior to the outbreak of violence.

In the same study, 56% of the respondents said that calling for companies and organizations to boycott, divest or sanction Israel is antisemitic.

Daniel Pomerantz, CEO of the pro-Israel watchdog group HonestReporting and an expert in international law, said boycotts have traditionally played an important role in free speech and social justice within the United States.

But Pomerantz cautioned against allowing powerful private companies to dictate foreign policy through boycotts. In the U.S., he said, “we reserve that right to our elected officials.”

Mahmoud Nawajaa, a BDS official, praised Ben & Jerry’s decision, which the company took “after years of pressure to end its involvement in the violation of international law.”

Gershon Baskin, a longtime Israeli peace activist, concurred, insisting that Ben & Jerry’s “isn’t anti-Israel” or antisemitic. “It’s making a statement about the occupation, and even if they decide not to sell in Israel at all because of the occupation, it still wouldn’t be antisemitic.”

Baskin called boycotts a “political act of nonviolence.”

“When we tell Palestinians not to use violence, and instead encourage them to use diplomacy and nonviolence, we call it antisemitic,” he said. By rejecting the BDS movement, “where are we leaving them?”

On social media, Israelis cracked jokes about former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s roughly $3,000 per month ice cream budget, revealed several years back (he favored pistachio), and urged the local Ben & Jerry’s licensee to come out with a new flavor: Settle-mint.

Avi Zinger, the longtime Ben & Jerry’s franchise holder in Israel, told Ynet News that he refused to yield to the parent company’s pressure to stop selling to all Israelis and Palestinians, whether in a Jewish settlement or Ramallah.

“I answered, ‘I am Israeli and I cannot limit my sales there and also the law requires me to sell in all of Israel.’ I cannot go against my country.”

This article originally appeared here.