Wednesday, July 21, 2021

From Ian:

State Department Rejects BDS After Ben & Jerry’s Joins Anti-Semitic Movement
The State Department on Tuesday said it "firmly rejects" the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, just a day after ice cream giant Ben & Jerry's announced that it would stop selling its products in what it called "occupied Palestinian territory."

The left-wing ice cream company announced its support for the BDS movement, which seeks to wage economic warfare on Israel, by stating that its products will no longer be sold in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Supporters of the BDS movement, which is widely seen as anti-Semitic, say that these contested territories are Palestinian lands and that Israel is occupying them.

When asked to clarify the Biden administration's stance on the BDS movement in light of Ben & Jerry's decision, a State Department spokesman told the Washington Free Beacon, "The United States firmly rejects the BDS movement, which unfairly singles out Israel." The statement is likely to rankle far-left elements of the Democratic Party that have sought to push the Biden administration into endorsing BDS.

"While the Biden-Harris Administration will fully and always respect the American people's First Amendment rights, the United States will be a strong partner in fighting efforts to delegitimize Israel, and we will work tirelessly to support Israel's further integration into the international community," the spokesman said.

The ice cream company explained in a Monday statement on its decision that "it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry's ice-cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory." The company will not renew its contract with the Israeli manufacturer that distributes its ice cream in Israel after it expires later this year.

Recently elected Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett said Ben & Jerry's has "decided to brand itself as anti-Israel ice-cream."

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.), a leading pro-Israel lawmaker, accused the company of catering to anti-Semites and discriminating against Jews.

The decision "to target hundreds of thousands of Jewish customers abroad with this discriminatory boycott is a disgrace and a direct embrace of the anti-Israel BDS movement," Zeldin said, adding that he will pressure New York state to cut ties with the company under laws prohibiting the government from partnering with companies that back the BDS movement.

How US laws against Israel boycotts could hit Ben & Jerry’s
The board’s chairwoman, Anuradha Mittal, was furious with Unilever’s response, telling NBC that Unilever was “trying to destroy the soul of the company. We want this company to be led by values and not be dictated by the parent company.”

Mittal, an outspoken critic of Israel on social media, is the founder of the Oakland Institute, a progressive think tank that advocates on issues including trade and land rights.

Even though the current Ben & Jerry’s pledge says it will keep selling in the rest of Israel that it does not consider “occupied,” that may not protect the company from legal repercussions.

Among the 33 states with anti-BDS laws, 21 have measures that target boycotts that include areas controlled by Israel — meaning the West Bank. The language usually reads as it did in the Illinois law passed in 2015: “‘Boycott Israel’ means engaging in actions that are politically motivated and are intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, or otherwise limit commercial relations with the State of Israel or companies based in the State of Israel or in territories controlled by the State of Israel.”

Ben & Jerry’s could not credibly claim that it does not understand that boycotting settlements would effectively lead to a boycott of all of Israel, argues Eugene Kontorovich, the director of the Center for the Middle East and International Law at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School.

Kontorovich, who is widely seen as an “intellectual architect” of the anti-BDS legislative push, noted that Israel’s laws effectively ban boycotts of the West Bank and that the term “Occupied Palestinian Territory” likely includes eastern Jerusalem, which Israel regards as its sovereign territory. (The company’s statement did not specify from which territories it was seeking to extract its ice cream.) “Ben & Jerry’s is doing this in full awareness that this will basically end their business with Israel,” Kontorovich said.

“Under Israeli law, a business can’t discriminate amongst Israeli citizens, regardless of where they live, and certainly in Israeli sovereign territory,” he added. “The licensee, in this case, understands this full well, and has explained to Ben & Jerry’s that [the licensee] really has no choice but to end its association with Ben & Jerry’s.”

Ben & Jerry’s Targets Anti-Semite Demographic With Audacious New Ice Cream Flavors
Left-wing dessert has slaughtered millions through its contributions to the global obesity epidemic

Ben & Jerry's, a left-wing ice cream company owned by Unilever, announced Monday that it will stop selling its products in the so-called Occupied Palestinian Territory, more commonly known as the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The company, which is at least partially responsible for the nearly three million annual deaths from obesity, argued that selling ice cream in those areas was "inconsistent with our values." Others argued the move was merely a performative display of anti-Semitism designed to appeal to journalists and other radical liberals.

New information exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon suggests the company's commitment to anti-Semitism was the driving force behind the decision. Documents obtained by the Free Beacon reveal that Ben & Jerry's plans to target the anti-Semite demographic with an extensive ad campaign touting the release of at least five new ice cream flavors.

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Barry Shaw: Ice cream that leaves a bad taste in our mouths
The company, founded in 1978 by Vermont Jews Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, was sold to Unilever, but the influence of the founders is still relevant in the company today. And their influence reflects the woke values that have pervaded many American Jews in recent years, values that have led them away from traditional and legitimate values such as those pursued by mainstream Jews and Israel.

Cohen and Greenfield echo the anti-Israel platform of the Vermont for Justice in Palestine, which has accused Israel wrongly of "abuses of Palestinian human rights" while studiously ignoring the barbaric Palestinian "pay-for-slay" policy of rewarding Arabs who kill Jews, and the Palestinian authorities who, according to Human Rights Watch, abuse, arrest, torture, and kill Arabs who oppose their corrupt rule, both in Ramallah and in Gaza, while insisting that Israel withdraw from territory that was mutually agreed under the Oslo Accords must remain under Israeli administrative and security control until a permanent peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Cohen and Greenfield are wrong both on their business decision and their biased and mistaken politics.

Ben & Jerry's announced that their political ban would start in another year and a half due to their signed commercial commitments. It is highly likely that, by that time, this company, headed by these two American Jews, will not find Israel a viable place to do business.

Israelis like choice, but not one that leaves a nasty taste in their mouths. In Israel today, their ice cream should be confined to the trash can.
NGO Monitor: Ben & Jerry’s Embraces BDS Narrative and Agenda
On July 19, 2021, the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company announced plans to stop selling its products in the “occupied Palestinian territories” and its intention to end its licensing agreement with their Israeli franchisee in December 2022. (The local company criticized the decision.)

Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s international parent company, subsequently added, “We remain fully committed to our presence in Israel.” However, Ben & Jerry’s board chair Anuradha Mittal claimed that Unilever did not consult the board before releasing its statement and that the board had wanted to “release a different statement… that made no reference to continued sales in Israel.”

This announcement and change in policy is part of a broader NGO-led BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) agenda and follows 10 years of campaigning from pro-BDS NGOs, predominantly led by an otherwise insignificant group, Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel, as well as US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Jewish Voice for Peace. Calls on Ben & Jerry’s to boycott Israel significantly increased during the May 2021 Israel-Gaza conflict, when pro-Palestinian activists swarmed the comments sections of Ben & Jerry’s social media accounts, demanding the company boycott Israel and resulting in Ben & Jerry’s halting its social media activity for two months.

Notably, Mittal has a discernible history of anti-Israel bias. She supported calls for boycotting Pillsbury, and in June 2021 signed a petition to US Secretary of State Blinken “demanding that he halt weapons sales to Israel.” In 2019, she tweeted, “calling for Congress not to have allegiances to foreign countries (Israel) is not anti-semitic” (tagging the pro-BDS group CODEPINK). She is also the founder and executive director of the Oakland Institute, which has partnered in the past with radical NGOs that support BDS, including BADIL, ICAHD, Youth Against Settlements, and Hebron Rehabilitation Committee.

Under international law, there is no prohibition whatsoever for doing business or selling consumer products in either occupied territory or settlements.
Herzog calls boycotts of Israel a 'new form of terrorism'
Boycotts of Israel are a new form of terrorism that is trying to hurt the citizens of Israel and the Israeli economy, President Isaac Herzog said Wednesday at a ceremony honoring Israel's late prime ministers and presidents.

Herzog made his statements after ice cream giant Ben & Jerry's announced it would stop selling its products beyond the Green Line, or as the company put it, in the "occupied Palestinian territories."

"There is no doubt that all the prime ministers and presidents of Israel over the years would respond harshly to the loathsome calls to boycott Israel and the citizens of Israel," Herzog said.

"We must oppose boycott and terrorism in any form. The BDS campaign does not seek peace, and wants to undermine Israel's very existence. It is now taking aim at the Israeli economy," Herzog continued.

Herzog also discussed the importance of unity in Israel, saying that the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, the "father of the unity government, as a concept and a reality … insisted when he didn't have to on establishing a unity government."
In Unilever call, PM vows ‘vigorous’ response to Ben & Jerry’s settlement ban
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with the head of Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s, and protested the conglomerate’s decision to no longer sell ice cream in Israeli settlements, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement Tuesday.

The conversation came after the ice cream giant announced Monday that it will no longer distribute its products in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” apparently referring to the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It said the decision would take effect at the end of 2022, when its contract with the current Israeli manufacturer and distributor expires.

Bennett told Unilever CEO Alan Jope that he takes a “very serious view of the decision by Ben & Jerry’s to boycott Israel,” according to the statement.

The prime minister stressed to Jope that the Unilever-owned Ben and Jerry’s was taking a “clearly anti-Israeli step.”

Bennett stressed that Israel sees the measure as having “serious legal and other implications” and added that the Jewish state “will act vigorously against any act of boycott directed against its citizens,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Israel’s ambassador to the US Gilad Erdan sent letters Monday evening to the governors of 35 states that have laws against boycotting Israel, asking them to place sanctions on Ben and Jerry’s in accordance with their own legislation.

“We will make it clear to Ben and Jerry’s International that their despicable decision will have implications,” Erdan tweeted, along with a copy of his letter.
Interior minister: Israel drumming up US grassroots boycott of Ben & Jerry’s
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked visited the local Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory in Israel on Wednesday in a show of support after the US firm announced earlier this week it would no longer allow its products to be supplied to Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.

Shaked said that Israeli authorities were working to enlist the help of Jewish and evangelical communities, as well as pro-Israel groups in the US, to boycott the ice cream manufacturer “until they change their despicable decision.”

“Ben & Jerry’s International chose to suck up to terrorist and antisemitic organizations instead of being faithful to its Israeli licensee,” she said at the factory located in Be’er Tuvia, a southern community near the city of Kiryat Malakhi.

Shaked said Israel will do everything it can in the “legal, consumer and diplomatic arenas” against the US producer in order to get it to backtrack on its decision.

Ben & Jerry’s could make BDS flavor of the month, warns Foreign Ministry source
Ben & Jerry’s announcement Monday that it will not distribute its products in Israeli settlements will likely embolden supporters of the boycotts, divestment and sanctions movement, a Foreign Ministry source told The Times of Israel on Tuesday.

“The BDS movement doesn’t stop,” said the diplomatic source. “It is always looking for targets, and pushing and pushing.”

“Every step, every surrender, certainly invites another one after it. It’s not going to stop. There’s pressure all the time. I can’t say this is the beginning of a wave. This is one company that faced intense pressure, and made the decision that it made,” he continued. But “it’s not unreasonable to assume that if there’s a success, it will encourage them.

“As we’ve seen in the past, even when they don’t succeed, they don’t stop,” he said.

Other observers were less concerned by the Ben & Jerry’s announcement.

“In practical terms, I think that there will be no implications whatsoever,” said Adi Schwartz, a fellow at the Center for International Communications at Bar-Ilan University. “We know economically that BDS is a huge failure. There is no impact whatsoever on Israel’s economy.”
PM should be worried by coalition support for BDS
For a moment there, one might have been encouraged by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's aggressive response to US-based ice cream company Ben & Jerry's announcement it plans to halt sales in Judea and Samaria. On Twitter, Bennett wrote: "Ben & Jerry's decided to brand itself as the anti-Israel ice cream." He said: "The boycott does not work and will not work, and we will fight it with full force."

I'm not so sure the first anti-Israel ice cream in Zionist history will be startled by a few tweets, but Bennett's reprimand of Alan Jope, the CEO of Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry's, in a telephone call Tuesday and Foreign Minister and Prime Minister-designate Yair Lapid's call for the dozens of US states that have passed anti-BDS legislation to enforce those laws just might do the trick.

Ben & Jerry's may or may not walk back the announcement, but that is beside the point. The absurd thing about all of this is that Israel's leaders are looking to pressure and sanction an American corporation that boycotts settlements when members of their own coalition government vocally support a boycott of products from the settlements.

When the Law for Prevention of Damage to the State of Israel Through Boycott was passed in 2011, Meretz party activists began placing stickers reading "Made in a settlement" on products in corner stores as a service to the public. In 2015, Meretz proposed legislation to label products made in settlements, and a year and half ago, Meretz MK Moshe Raz announced the party "supports the boycott of products made in the settlements."

Meretz has consistently supported the labeling and boycott of settlement products on ideological grounds. It would make sense to examine the positions of members of the Ra'am and Labor parties on the issue as well. Meretz has never walked back this support, and why would it? The party has a right to its beliefs. But when it entered the coalition, Meretz brought these views with it. Its ministers may avoid actively promoting a boycott in their current roles, but we shouldn't expect their party to disavow the values and positions it held before joining the government.
Ben & Jerry’s Israel boycott a BDS game changer - five reasons why
If Ben & Jerry’s boycott of Israel was a flavor, it would be called “BDS game changer.”

It is not for nothing that the Palestine Solidarity Campaign was dramatic in its description of the victory for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement announced on Monday.

“This is huge,” PSC tweeted. “The tide of history is turning,” it exclaimed.

At first glance, it doesn’t seems like one ice-cream scoop more or less could be so significant in BDS’s anti-Israel battle, in which it uses the threat of boycotts to pressure the Jewish state to destroy its West Bank settlements and withdraw to the pre-1967 lines, including in Jerusalem.

On a monetary level, the decision by Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, not to renew the license of one of Israel’s most popular ice-cream brands after a 35-year run over sales to the settlements unjustly kills one man’s business and leaves his employees out of work. But it hardly harms the nation’s economy.

2. Boosts BDS after Abraham Accords defeat
The Abraham Accords brokered by former US president Donald Trump had helped take the wind out of the BDS sails.

The deal under whose rubric Israel was able to normalize ties with four Arab nations, despite the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, made it difficult to continue to argue for boycotts of Israel.

If the United Arab Emirates was creating business opportunities with Israel, why would companies in the US and Europe fail to do so. UAE businesses even signed deals to import products from the settlements, such as wine, honey and olive oil.

Until this week, it almost seemed as if the BDS movement had become passé, now it has been revived.

3. Boycott targets Israel within the Green-Line
Ben & Jerry’s boycott targets a company that is not located in a West Bank settlement or in a Jewish neighborhood of east Jerusalem. The Israeli ice-cream factory is situated in Be’er Tuviya, in the South between Ashkelon and Ashdod, relying heavily on milk products and employees from that region.

It does not operate any ice-cream stores over the pre-1967 lines.

So the only thing that ties it to the West Bank, also known as Judea and Samaria, is its sales to individuals or vendors, such as supermarkets and gas stations, which then stock the ice cream on its shelves.
Ben & Jerry’s Israel Reports Rise in Local Sales as CEO Calls for Campaign to Reverse Boycott
Ben & Jerry’s Israel said it has seen its sales grow in a sign of solidarity after the US ice-cream brand decided to nix the license agreement with its local partner

“Since the morning hours, there has been a significant increase in the purchase of our ice creams — more than 21% from a normal day. Do not stop! We need to mobilize all necessary forces to put pressure on Unilever, the owners of Ben & Jerry’s Global, to turn the bowl upside down,” Ben & Jerry’s Israel said Tuesday. “We call on everyone to stand by us and the hundreds of Israeli workers who may be harmed by the global BDS pressures. We will continue to sell throughout Israel and to all Israelis.”

Meanwhile, a number of chain stores have said they are pulling or are considering pulling Ben & Jerry’s ice cream from their freezers, in protest of the ice-cream maker’s call to stop selling its products in what it termed “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” including Jewish West Bank settlements and areas of east Jerusalem, as it was “inconsistent” with company values.

The Vermont-based Ben & Jerrys, which is owned by the UK’s Unilever, had faced pressure from pro-Palestinian groups over its business in Israel. The company said Monday it would not renew its license agreement with its current Israeli partner, but will seek to continue to sell ice cream in the country under a different arrangement, and without sales in the Palestinian territories.
CEO of Ben & Jerry's Israel Speaks Out Against Company's Withdrawal From West Bank

Ayelet Shaked Visits Ben & Jerry’s Israel Factory in Show of Support
Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked on Wednesday visited the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Israel in a show of support of its CEO, Avi Zinger, who is fighting the parent company’s recent decision to halt sales in Judea and Samaria.

“It’s not the Israeli Ben & Jerry’s that needs to be boycotted,” she said. “On the contrary, we need to buy Ben & Jerry’s Israel.”

“The CEO of Ben & Jerry’s Israel has been fighting tooth and nail for years against BDS organizations. He refuses to accept the terms of the [parent company] to boycott parts of Israel, and we will do what needs to be done to overturn their decision,” she said.

During the factory visit, Shaked said that the government was working with Jewish groups, evangelical communities and Israel supporters in the United States to boycott the ice cream brand there, until it reverses its decision.

“The board of directors of Ben & Jerry’s chose to pander to terror and antisemitic groups, instead of being loyal to the Israeli franchise, which for many years has been an exemplary Israeli manufacturer. The Israeli government will do what it can on the legal, consumer and diplomatic levels against the American manufacturer, in order to change this decision,” Shaked continued.

“I call on Israeli citizens to keep buying Ben & Jerry’s Israel. This factory employs 160 workers and many dairy farms in the area. We have a year and a half to change this antisemitic decision,” she concluded.

StandWithUs Israel Executive Director Michael Dickson on Ben and Jerry's - ILTV

Join our campaign to protest the discriminatory boycott by Ben and Jerry’s!

Ben and Jerry's board chaired by anti-Zionist

Australian kosher authority delists Ben & Jerry’s ice cream over West Bank ban
An Australian kosher certification board said Wednesday that it was removing Ben & Jerry’s ice cream from its list of approved products in protest of the conglomerate’s recent move to stop supplying its goods to Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

“The KA has listed this brand and all kosher products with the range for many years,” the Sydney-based Kashrut Authority wrote in a statement. “That ended this week with its deletion, in support of those who proudly reside in Judea and Samaria.”

Judea and Samaria are the biblical names for the areas that make up the West Bank.

“Yes, this is a small stance on a global scale, but one we have chosen to make,” the statement said.

The authority noted that Ben & Jerry’s products in Australia that are tagged with the “KOF-K” logo, issued by a US-based international kosher certification provider, are still kosher to eat. It plugged a rival kosher-approved local ice cream manufacturer as an alternative to Ben & Jerry’s.

On Monday, Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would no longer distribute its products in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” apparently referring to West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem.

"Joint Arab List Leader Who Ate Ben & Jerry’s Rushed to Hospital"
MK Ayman Odeh who leads the Hadash party and the Joint Arab List on Tuesday tweeted his picture happily munching on Ben & Jerry’s Cone, Sweet Cone flavor ice cream, with the snarky comment: “The diet was going good until now.” What he meant, of course, was that supporting the BDS against Israel was important enough to sacrifice his diet. He probably wasn’t aware that the ice cream he was scarfing down was manufactured by a patriotic Israeli who’s about to lose his franchise over his insistence on selling ice cream in the Jewish settlements.

But then, around 1 PM Wednesday, the spokesperson of the Joint Arab List issued a statement saying Chairman Odeh had been rushed to Maimonides Hospital in Haifa after complaining of abdominal pain.

The statement went on to say that the source of the pain was Odeh’s kidney stones, but we are not going to let this minor detail ruin our “he ate Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, he was rushed to hospital” perfect construct of poetic justice.

Two weeks ago, MK Ahmad Tibi, also a leader of the Joint Arab List, was rushed to Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem to undergo emergency kidney stone surgery.
BBC frames boycotter as ‘progressive’ in ice cream story
CAMERA UK’s archives include extensive documentation of the BBC’s partial and problematic portrayal of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS). For years the corporation has reported related stories without adequately clarifying that campaign’s real agenda in its own words and in August 2015, we learned that the BBC considers the provision of such crucial background information “not our role“.

BBC audiences have repeatedly seen the BDS campaign inaccurately described as a “movement for human rights”, with no effort made to enhance audience understanding of the fact that its aims – as once again clarified by one of its leaders just last year – decisively contradict such branding.

On July 20th BBC departments rushed to cover a breaking story which is also to no small extent about branding strategies.

Early on that morning the BBC News website published a report headlined “Ben & Jerry’s to stop sales in Palestinian territories” on its ‘Middle East’ and ‘Business’ pages.

The report does not even mention the term BDS, let alone explain that political campaign’s agenda. It does however uncritically promote the boycotting company as one with so-called ‘progressive values’.

“The company said it was “inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)”.

Ben & Jerry’s – which was founded in 1978 by best friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield – has a track record of campaigning on social issues such as LGBTQ+ rights and climate change.”

The BBC’s failure to clarify that a commercial firm’s jump onto the bandwagon of a political campaign that aspires to bring an end to Jewish self-determination is not indicative of any positive “values” or concern for “social issues” is clearly one major omission. Another is the absence of any examination of BDS campaigners’ efforts to get their cause branded as ‘progressive’ by having it adopted by a well-known company that has a long record of using social issues as a marketing tactic.

Those omissions clearly hinder audience understanding of the story as a whole and the reaction from the Israeli prime minister quoted in the report.
Times claims BDS is only 'detested' by Israel and the 'American right'
Writing in The Times about the Ben & Jerry’s announcement that they’re joining the BDS movement and will no longer distribute its products in “Occupied Palestinian Territory”, Middle East correspondent Richard Spencer made the following claim:
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), which calls for boycotts of all Israeli products and investment, is detested by Israel and the American right.

Spencer’s claim that BDS is fiercely opposed only by Israel and “the American right” is flatly untrue. To make such a claim ignores the views of diaspora Jews, and polls demonstrating that the overwhelming majority similarly “detest” BDS, and view it as intrinsically antisemitic.

A major EU poll of European Jews (including Britons) conducted in 2018 showed “82% of Jews classed calls by non-Jews to boycott Israel or Israelis as anti-Semitic”.

A poll of British Jews by Campaign Against Antisemitism in 2020 found that “83% felt intimidated by tactics used to boycott Israel”.

In the US, a 2020 poll by the American Jewish Committee found that 80% believe BDS is compromised by some degree by antisemitism, whilst only 15% said it is not mostly antisemitic. Another poll in 2020 by Pew Research Center found that “the vast majority [of Jews] who have heard of the [BDS] movement say they oppose it”, with only 10% supporting it. This is not surprising as those most familiar with the movement know that their leadership doesn’t just object to Israel’s presence in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, but rejects the continued existence of Israel within any borders.

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