Boycott Watch

Ben & Jerry's New Anti-Israel Policy Triggers Boycott and International Incident.
July 21, 2021

Ben & Jerry's has been a signature brand of ice cream for decades, but Monday, July 19. 2021 they announced they are removing their ice cream stores from what the media likes to call Israel's “West Bank” and Israel calls Judea and Samara, two regions of Biblical Israel that Jordan has relinquished its claim over. Since then the Palestinian Authority has made a claim to that land, but without a transfer of the claim from Jordan, thus Boycott Watch and international law both see the PA claim as invalid.

While in 2018 Ben and Jerry's has endorsed anti-Israel political figures such as Linda Sarsour who has called for the dismantling of Israel, the pro-Israel crowd has taken offense to this political action as a slap in the face to the Jewish community as a whole. “This is Ben & Jerry's joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which is illegal according to US law which forbids US Persons from taking part in illegal foreign boycotts” said Fred Taub, President of Boycott Watch. Taub wrote the book “Boycotting Peace” about the BDS campaign, outlining why BDS is illegal in the US.

“Ben and Jerry's has made an awful miscalculation” said Fred Taub, and continuing, “they read the tea leaves of a growing acceptable Jew-hated in the United States and jumped on the band wagon thinking it would go unnoticed.”

However, it did not go unnoticed, including from U.S. franchise owners who are Jewish. We can't divulge names, but we understand some pro-Israel Jewish franchise owners are addressing this as a concern to Ben & Jerry's management. We also know that Israeli franchise owners and Jews all over the world are upset too.

Boycott Watch has written several article about how businesses always suffer when mixing their products with politics. The simple fact is, getting political inherently draws a line between two halves of your customer base, and offending customers is never a good corporate policy. In this case, we believe Ben and Jerry's made a calculation that offending the pro-Israel crowd is better than losing the 'woke' crowd as customers. Regardless of how you slice it, the company is offending much of their own customer base, and in this case, Jews who have traditionally like Ben and Jerry's ice cream because it is a good product that is certified kosher are already calling for a global boycott of the ice cream, and that is never a good thing.

The reaction in the Jewish community is far beyond a simple boycott. Seasons Supermarket, Aron's Kissena Farms, Kosher Kingdom Food Market in Australia and hundreds of other companies have pulled Ben and Jerry's ice cream from their shelves. The list is growing and it proves two things: First, that participating in political boycotts has ramifications; and second, that Jews quickly respond to hate, and this time globally.

Within 24 hours, Israel, Prime Minister Bennet warned Unilever, a major US conglomerate and the parent company of Ben and Jerry's, about the boycott. Bennet has also called upon US states that have enacted anti-BDS laws to prosecute Ben and Jerry's for their actions. While US Jews are overwhelmingly boycotting Ben and Jerry's, if Bennet calls for a total boycott of Unilever, it will certainly be followed by Jews all over the world. Boycott Watch believes that a Jewish boycott of Unilever will hurt Unilever's bottom line tremendously considering the number of Unilever products and the number of pro-Israel consumers globally.

Boycott Watch believes Unilever will cave on this issue. While Jews won't be buying Ben and Jerry's anymore regardless of the outcome, a general Unilever boycott will prevent a total boycott of the conglomerate, and their products including Hellmann's Mayonnaise, Lipton Tea, Dove, several ice cream brands and many other products. At the same time, many Jews are calling for the kosher certification of Ben and Jerry's to be revoked.

Boycott Watch will continue to watch and report on this issue.

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