Jewish World Update Nov/Dec 2022
Ben & Jerry’s Misguided War on Israel
Ben & Jerry’s, the Vermont-based ice cream company that started in an old gas station in 1978 and grew into a behemoth doing $450 million a year in business, appears to have lost its war against Israel.
After fighting for more than a year and a half to keep its ice cream from being sold in Judea and Samaria, which it calls “occupied Palestinian territory,” Ben & Jerry’s lost in court recently when a U.S. federal judge said the company failed to show that continued sales would cause irreparable harm.
Last summer, Ben & Jerry’s, a wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever, defied its British parent company to end the sale of its products in Judea and Samaria, also called the West Bank. So Unilever sold its Ben & Jerry’s interests to longtime Israeli ice cream licensee Avi Zinger. When Zinger made the ice cream available in Israel, including Judea and Samaria, Ben & Jerry’s sued Unilever, its single, full shareholder, to block the sale to Zinger.
Ben & Jerry’s felt it must condemn Israel to remain consistent with its social-activist causes. However, its position displays its ignorance concerning the area’s history and tramples on Israel’s right to exist and defend itself in its own land, to which it holds both divine and legal claim.
Despite the dispersions, Jewish people have lived in the land since the days of Joshua. The 1920s Mandate for Palestine gave them sovereign claim to their ancient homeland, including Judea and Samaria. In 1947, the newly formed United Nations violated the original mandate by giving Judea and Samaria to the Arabs for an Arab state.
Wanting all the Jewish land, the Arabs rejected the offer; and Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq attacked Israel hours after Israel legally declared its independence in 1948. During the war, Jordan grabbed the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem and kept them until Israel liberated the areas in the 1967 Six-Day War, regaining its own land.
Seeking peace, Israel, through the Oslo Accords, ceded portions of Judea and Samaria to the Arabs, who had just begun to call themselves Palestinians. But Palestinian leaders refused to recognize or negotiate with Israel because their goal has always been to destroy Israel entirely.
Ben & Jerry’s has drawn a line in the sand. Many people who had been waiting for an opportunity to vilify the Jewish state banded together to stand against Israel. We who love Israel should be willing to sacrifice our comfort to support and defend the Jewish people and their nation when they face attacks like these.
Ben & Jerry’s seems more preoccupied with its agenda to smear Israel than with studying history to understand the nation’s historic, legal right to Judea and Samaria. In its attempt to be on the “right side of history,” the ice cream giant took the side that tries to rewrite it.
By catering to those who think justice means opposing Israel’s existence in its homeland, Ben & Jerry’s probably alienated a large number of people who know the truth and may never buy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream again.