Campaign to End Ben & Jerry’s Business with Israeli Settlements
By Mark Hage, Vermonters for a Just
Peace in Palestine/Israel, Counterpunch 4/22/2014
On March 13, 2013, Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel
(VTJP) launched a campaign calling on Ben & Jerry’s, a leader of the socially
responsible business community, to stop marketing, catering and selling
ice cream in Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and
East Jerusalem. We also urged the company to issue a statement expressing
its opposition to the occupation and Israel’s settlement enterprise, consistent
with the principles of its social mission.
Our demands have not been met, but the campaign is strong
Free Cone Day, 2014: Your ice cream is free today—Palestine
On April 8—this year’s Free Cone Day at participating Ben
& Jerry’s scoop shops—solidarity activists in 12 states (CA, CO, CT, NY,
MA, MN, NC, NH, OR, NH, VT, and WA) distributed thousands of leaflets prepared
by VTJP on Ben & Jerry’s commercial ties to Israel’s settlement regime.
Campaign to end Ben & Jerry’s
complicity with Israel’s occupation intensifies
VTJP's campaign calling on Ben & Jerry’s to end its complicity
with Israel's occupation has expanded and intensified. 151 civil society
organizations in the United States and across the globe that share a
commitment to international law, human rights, and a just peace in Israel-Palestine
have signed a letter to Ben & Jerry’s, Jostein Solheim,
urging the company “to stand by its Social Mission and to ensure
that its products are not sold, catered and distributed in Israeli settlements”
in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
The letter, organized by VTJP, calls on Solheim “to take
all necessary contractual and legal measures to bring your franchise's settlement
business to an end in a verifiable way, and to release a public statement
of your company's commitment to end its business ties to Israel’s occupation
and settlement enterprise.”
Jerry’s is Profiting from Israel’s Illegal Settlements and Occupation
of Palestine Ben & Jerry’s,
one of the iconic leaders of the “values based” business movement,
trumpets a “progressive, nonpartisan social mission that seeks to
meet human needs and eliminate injustices in our local, national and international
communities” (See their Social
In 2011, Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel learned
that Ben & Jerry’s franchise in Israel is manufacturing ice cream
and selling it in illegal Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem
and the West Bank. Additionally, in 2010, as Israel was expanding its illegal
settlements and continuing to impose an inhuman siege on Gaza, Ben &
Jerry’s opened a new factory in Israel and announced plans to re-establish
16 new stores and kiosks across the country.
By doing business in Israel and in illegal settlements in
the occupied Palestinian territory, it violates its own Social Mission and
engages in unethical practices.
End the marketing, catering and sales of Ben & Jerry’s products
in Israel and Jewish-only settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and
the West Bank.
Stop manufacturing ice cream in Israel.
Issue a statement (a) calling on Israel to end its occupation and
settlement enterprise and (b) appealing directly to other socially responsible
to do likewise and to cease business operations in Israel and its illegal
This edition of VTJP's Salaam Shalom: Report on Palestine/Israel highlights the racism, violence and discrimination inherent in the Jewish settler movement, as documented in Julia Bacha's powerful film, "My Neighborhood." The film also demonstrates the power of nonviolent resistance and Jewish-Arab solidarity as Palestinians in East Jerusalem and Israeli Jews come together to stop the forced evictions of Palestinians by Jewish settlers in Sheik Jarrah. More about Salaam Shalom.
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