World

What to know about Israel’s fight with Ice Cream Company Ben & Jerry’s

TL;DR (2-minute read)

  1. On Monday, July 19th, the socially progressive ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s stated that it will no longer initiate sales in areas it believes Israel should not control. “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” stated the company.
  2. The Isreali government has faced increasing criticism due to its recent ideas of expanding its settlements in the West Bank, which, under international law, is considered illegal. This settlement-issue has prompted numerous illegal activities, such as burning Palestinian homes and businesses, against nonviolent and innocent citizens. In order to respond to these actions, Ben & Jerry’s issued the statement that selling its ice cream in Occupied Plestinian Territories was “morally wrong.”
  3. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the move was “morally wrong” and would prove to be “financially wrong,” but now, the United States is starting to get involved, more specifically, Texas and Florida. As more and more news comes out, the United States seems to be getting more and more involved in the politics of the world, more specifically, America’s “closest ally” Israel.

What Happened?

On Monday, July 19th, the socially progressive ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s stated that it will no longer initiate sales in areas it believes Israel should not control. This statement appears on the “About Us” page of the Ben & Jerry’s commercial webpage: “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).” Additionally, the ice cream giant stated that it “will no longer be sold in the OPT, [but] [it] will stay in Israel through a different arrangement.” 

Why Did Ben & Jerry’s Issue This Statement?

The Isreali government has faced increasing criticism due to its recent ideas of expanding its settlements in the West Bank, which, under international law, is considered illegal. According to BBC, “The West Bank and East Jerusalem have been under Israeli control since the 1967 Middle East war. More than 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements there. Most of the international community considers the settlements illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.” This settlement-issue has prompted numerous illegal activities, such as burning Palestinian homes and businesses against nonviolent and innocent citizens. In fact, this violence caused the Human Rights Watch to release a 213-page report, “A Threshold Crossed,” in April, finding that Isrealis were committing “crimies against humanity of apartheid and pesrecution.” In order to respond to these actions, Ben & Jerry’s issued the statement that selling its ice cream in Occupied Palestinian Territories was “morally wrong.” Based in Vermont, the extremely successful ice cream giant was founded in 1978 by best friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield; additionally, this company has a long list of previous social campaigns on social issues such as LGBTQ+ rights and climate change. 

What Does This Mean For the United States?

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the move was “morally wrong” and would prove to be “financially wrong,” but now, the United States is starting to get involved, more specifically, Texas and Florida. “Ben & Jerry’s decision to boycott parts of Israel is disgraceful and an insult to America’s closest ally in the Middle East,” Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement Tuesday night relayed from a spokesman to CNBC. “Unilever, Ben and Jerry’s parent company, must reverse this ill-conceived decision.” Four years ago, Abbott signed a bill into law that would halt Texas pension funds from reaching companies boycotting Israel. Therefore, as more and more news comes out, the United States seems to be getting more and more involved in the politics of the world, more specifically, America’s “closest ally” of Israel.

Sources

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/22/texas-gets-involved-in-israels-fight-with-ben-jerrys-over-west-bank-boycott.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/ben-jerry-s-withdraws-sales-israeli-settlements-clashes-parent-company-n1274403

https://www.benjerry.com/about-us/media-center/palestine-statement

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57893161

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/07/19/israeli-apartheid-threshold-crossed#

https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution

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