Ben & Jerry’s: ‘We are proud Jews and support Israel but oppose settlements’

Ben en Jerry's founding fathers, Ben Cohen en Jerry Greenfield (AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  July 29, 2021

The founders of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream have stated that they are “proud Jews”, that Israel was one of their first overseas markets and that they are “supporters of the State of Israel.”

However, they conveyed in an opinion piece published by The New York Times on Wednesday: “It’s possible to support Israel and oppose some of its policies, just as we’ve opposed policies of the US government.”

“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.”

However, although they do not have any operational control over the company they founded in 1978, they are: “Proud of its action and believe it is on the right side of history.”

According to the founders: “In our view, ending the sales of ice cream in the occupied territories is one of the most important decisions the company has made in its 43-year history. It was especially brave of the company. Even though it undoubtedly knew that the response would be swift and powerful, Ben & Jerry’s took the step to align its business and operations with its progressive values.”

They stressed that their support for the company’s decision “is not a contradiction” nor “anti-Semitism”, adding: “In fact, we believe this act can and should be seen as advancing the concepts of justice and human rights, core tenets of Judaism.”