VTJP Calls for a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s
May 5, 2015
In July, 2014, Israel savagely attacked Gaza for the third time in six years, killing over 2,200 hundred Palestinians and wounding more than 11,000. The vast majority were civilians.
Gaza’s morgues were so overwhelmed by the carnage that bodies of babies and children had to be packed in ice cream freezers awaiting burial.
While this massacre of innocents was being carried out, Ben & Jerry’s “peace & love” ice cream was passing through checkpoints, being transported on Jewish-only roads, and being marketed and sold in illegal and expanding Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. This, by an Israeli franchise that shares the company’s name and Social Mission. (Read our detailed report on this franchise and its contractual relationship with Ben & Jerry’s in Vermont here.)
Over the next few months, after careful deliberation, Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel (www.vtjp.org/icecream) decided to organize a boycott of Ben & Jerry’s.
Why a boycott is necessary.
VTJP has urged Ben & Jerry’s to stop the sale of its ice cream in Jewish-only settlements since 2011. We anchored our demands in international law and the company’s Social Mission and history of supporting progressive causes.
Since 2013, thousands of individuals and nearly 260 organizations in 20 countries, including Israel, and from the District of Columbia and the occupied territories, have called on Ben & Jerry’s to end its franchise’s commercial complicity with Israel’s settlements.
The company refused.
Jeff Furman, chairperson of Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors, traveled to Occupied Palestine in 2012 with a group of American civil rights leaders and described what he saw there as “apartheid.”
VTJP informed the company in 2014 that their franchise may be purchasing equipment from an Israeli enterprise in the occupied [Syrian] Golan Heights. We pressed Ben & Jerry’s to respond to the allegation about the Golan and asked it once more to end its franchise’s complicity with Israel’s occupation regime.
The company again refused.
VTJP also implored Ben & Jerry’s to take the incremental, but morally and politically significant, action of issuing a statement in opposition to Israel’s occupation and settlements.
The company even refused this request.
And, therefore, a boycott.
Appealing to Ben & Jerry’s socially responsible “conscience” has not achieved our objectives. So VTJP is calling for a worldwide boycott of Ben & Jerry’s products and scoop shops until it ends its Israeli franchise’s complicity with Israel’s military occupation and Jewish-only settlements.
Organizations and individuals can advance this boycott in the following ways:
You can read Ben & Jerry’s recent website posting on VTJP’s campaign, and our rebuttal to it, here. It came after VTJP sent a letter to scoop shop owners in the U.S. in advance of 2015 Free Cone Day protests.
Thank you for whatever support you can offer to our boycott campaign. You can contact us with questions, concerns or suggestions.
As always, we are grateful for and can put to good use any financial contributions.
VTJP BDS Committee