Two Scoops of Wrong!

Two Scoops of Wrong! Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked Idea

Ben and Jerry, the ice cream mavens and social activists have announced that effective in 2022, when their contract expires in the Middle East, they will no longer sell ice cream in “occupied Palestinian Territories” because it is against the culture of their company. The thought behind the decision is as a progressive company, the values of Israel do not align with their corporate ideals.

That is just two scoops of wrong with a whole lot of nuts!

First of all, the idea that Israel is not a progressive country is as misguided as the idea that ‘wavy gravy’ would be delicious. Both belong in your idea graveyard!

Israel is one of the more progressive countries in the civilized world that regularly champions diversity, equity, multiculturalism as well as appreciating other religions.

Here are just a few examples to highlight the ‘woke’ and progressive nature of the Jewish State:

• Israel is a state that hosts a supreme court with men and women, Jews and Muslims.

• The Miss Israel pageant recently crowned Titi Aynaw, a black, Ethiopian Jew, and Rana Raslan, an Arab, has most recently won the crown and is representing the country in the Miss Universe Pageant of 2021.

• In the IDF, Arab Druze men and women are soldiers and officers and serve in the police force with distinction.

• The largest hospital in Israel is served by a chief of surgery who is a Muslim, Arab.

• Israel offers universal health care as a mandate for every citizen.

• The military of Israel permitted openly gay men and women to serve way before the phrase ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ was ever conceived.

• The Knesset of Israel (parliament) is populated with men and women, Arabs and Jews, straight and gay, Orthodox, and secular people, which is a microcosm of the voices of the land.

• Israel is the first to respond when national disasters strike, regardless of location, voting history or hostility. Whether in Nepal, Haiti, Turkey the Philippines, by earthquake, tsunami or volcano, Israel is there to offer medical triage and support, unconditionally.

• Israel is always in the top tier of countries of the OECD for progressive values and ideals, including gender equality, happiness and civic engagement.

• Parents of newborns in Israel are afforded Family Leave for six months!

• Israel offers universal healthcare to all of its residents. It pays for IVF for infertile citizens and covers all medical and prescription costs for all of its citizenry.

• This list could go on.

These are the very same agenda items that fit neatly into the caucus of the liberal-left wing in America. These values are shared with progressive communities. They are not different.

Of course, Israel is imperfect. Which country has it all figured out?

Last I checked, the United States, which is almost 250 years young is still struggling with issues of race equality, equal gender pay and universal health care, just to list some recent challenges. Did Ben and Jerry’s decide to stop selling Chunky Monkey in Dallas, Cheyenne, Boise or Tallahassee? Did they stop selling to companies that do not pay women the same as men or states that do not offer health care to all of its citizens or to cities that have police forces with notorious records of racism?

Did Unilever along with Ben and Jerry even consider that by ceasing to sell their ice cream in Ramallah and Efrat and Nazareth and Jericho, that Palestinians who enjoy Cherry Garcia and Chocolate Therapy will be equally denied through their decisions? That seems to defeat their liberal goals.

This is, ahem, a ‘half baked’ idea that is grounded in misinformation and waves of popularism yet, is devoid of facts and honesty.

Progressivism and Liberalism are simpatico with the Jewish State and its values. What is not, is flippant, non-thought out decisions that spread propaganda and lies instead of truths and values.

This move is just two scoops of wrongs and full of nuts!

About the Author
David-Seth Kirshner is the senior rabbi of Temple Emanu-El, a Conservative synagogue in Closter, New Jersey. He is the past President of the NY Board of Rabbis, President of the NJ Board of Rabbis and a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Hartman Institute. Rabbi Kirshner was appointed to the New Jersey/Israel commission and is a National Council member of AIPAC.
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