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Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Ben and Jerry's sells to lots of countries that commit human rights abuses

Ben and Jerry's is suing its own parent company Unilever for selling rights to manufacture its products to an Israeli company.  

When the Unilever announced the deal, Ben and Jerry's said that "We continue to believe it is inconsistent with Ben & Jerry's values for our ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. "



I did a quick survey of the human rights records of some of these countries, based on NGO reports and the US State Department. Here are some results, and the list of human rights abuses is far from complete.


Australia

 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprise 29 percent of Australia’s adult prison population, but just 3 percent of the national population.

Austria

Excessive use of force by police; asylum seekers deported

Bahamas

Death penalty, mistreatment of migrants, discrimination against LGBTQ+

Belgium

 Racial profiling by the police, inhumane prisons

Brazil

In 2020, police killed 6,416 people. More than half of the victims were young Black men.

Czech Republic

Roma children experience discriminatory segregation in schools

Dominican Republic

Unlawful or arbitrary killings by government security forces; criminalization of abortion

Estonia

Highest gender pay gap in the EU

France

Violent police attacks on peaceful protesters. Anti-Muslim speech by officials.

Jamaica

Unlawful and arbitrary killings by government security forces;  life-threatening conditions in prisons; law against homosexuality

Mexico

Police, prosecutors and the military regularly commit human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, torture, extrajudicial killings.

New Zealand

Asylum seekers are placed in prison and mistreated by criminals while being processed.

Philippines

ICC investigating crimes against humanity in "war on drugs"

Poland

Laws banning abortions

Singapore

Death penalty, government goes after freedom of speech and assembly

Thailand

Torture, no freedom of assembly or speech

Trinidad &Tobago

Death penalty, unlawful or arbitrary killings by police

Even the countries universally considered the leaders in human rights - Finland, Sweden and Norway - have been accused of discriminating against the S├ími people in various ways, such as attacking their culture and limiting their land rights. 


Not to mention Ben and Jerry's home country of the United States, which according to Amnesty has the death penalty, excessive police brutality, armed forces throughout the world that often kills civilians, and limited access to abortions in some states.


Is Ben and Jerry's OK selling to countries where homosexuality is illegal? Where abortions are illegal? Where the government security forces torture detainees, and violently break up public peaceful demonstrations? Where minorities are not protected and actively discriminated against? Where incarceration of minorities is way out of proportion to their population?


It sure sounds like this is not a problem for them.


No, the only country that Ben and Jerry's publicly says is so reprehensible that it won't sell there without it changing its own laws is Israel, where the crime that is so reprehensible to justify this singular treatment is that Jews build houses in their ancestral homeland, nearly all of it on land that no human being ever lived before.


Anyone can dissect any country's human rights record, in order to find excuses to be prejudiced against that country - while pretending that it is really a righteous position. 


If people decided that they want to cancel, say, Trinidad and Tobago, they could find lots of human rights abuses to justify their decision. But the hate comes first, the justification comes later. 


Which is exactly the case with Israel. The hate, which is by definition modern antisemitism, comes first; the justification comes later. This is why Israel is accused of such a huge variety of human rights abuses in so many areas - not because Israel is guilty of them, but because there is such an intense desire to demonize Israel that literally thousands of people are paid full time to scrutinize Israel from every angle to justify animosity towards the Jewish state. And when they run out of things to accuse Israel of, there is an academic cottage industry to create new ones. 


The many real human rights abuses listed above do not get the publicity that the mostly imaginary abuses attributed to Israel get. 


When you look hard enough, you can find a reason to justify hating any country. And when the bulk of that effort goes towards the only country that has a Jewish majority, it is pretty obvious that human rights is not the real reason for the scrutiny. 




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