To quote Ronald Regan, “Well, there you go again.”
I am referring to the guest essay by Ben & Jerry entitled Men of Ice Cream, Men of Principle that appeared in The New York Times on July 28, 2021.
They base their position on, “… it’s possible to support Israel and oppose some of its policies, just as we’ve opposed policies of the U.S. government.” To that I say, of course. This is their right under a democratic government, such as America and Israel.
However, I take issue with the second part of that paragraph: “… we unequivocally support the decision of the company to end business in the occupied territories, which a majority of the international community, including the United Nations, has deemed an illegal occupation.”
First. Opposing “government policies” is their entitled freedom of speech and if done civilly, encourages open discussion. However, boycotting crosses a line from free speech to an action that (in this case) is clearly anti-Semitic, no matter how much they try to deny it.
Second. Where is the outrage against other disputed regions of the world suffering from illegal occupation or suppression of human rights? (China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Syria, the list goes on.) Furthermore, isn’t it interesting that as Ben & Jerry, and other Jewish social activists, have nearly always been the first to come out to march, demonstrate, protest, and support all persecuted peoples. Where are they as Jews are violently attacked on the streets of New York City, Los Angeles, and other cities? (Hint: Nowhere to be found, except for a few weak pronouncements.)
Third. The constant repetition of the UN’s declaration regarding the “illegal occupation” is misleading and not factually correct. These are non-binding resolutions sponsored by anti-Israel voting blocs without regard for international law. Under international law: Land captured in an aggressive war is deemed “occupied.” Land captured in a defensive war is not. [Historical note: Jordan illegally occupied the “West Bank” from 1948 to 1967 after being one of six Arab armies trying to wipe Israel off the map. During the 6 Day War in June of 1967, Israel pleaded with Jordan not to go to war while fighting Egypt and Syria on two fronts. Jordan attacked Israel and lost. In 1994 Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel giving up all claims to the “West Bank.”]
Ben & Jerry need to be consistent and truthful to be men of principle.