Ben & Jerry’s chair is linked to controversial West Bank charity

NGO Badil released a report saying that 'all actions carried out against Israel' in the Palestinian struggle were legitimate


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A Palestinian organisation that has supported violence against Israel has been funded by a think-tank run by a boss of Ben & Jerry’s, the ice-cream makers that recently decided to withdraw its products from West Bank settlements.

Ben & Jerry’s chair Anuradha Mittal is founder and executive director of the US advocacy group Oakland Institute, which has given thousands of dollars to the Badil Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights.

Badil released a report in December 2016 saying that “all actions carried out against Israel” in the Palestinian struggle were legitimate.

Ms Mittal has said she is “proud of @benandjerrys for taking a stance to end sale of its ice cream in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”, and in 2018 tweeted “The catastrophe continues #Nakba70 years later #palestine bleeds Boycott Divest Sanctions #israel.”

The $3,000 that was passed to Badil by the Oakland Institute came from an $80,000 grant supplied to the think-tank by the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, a social justice group created in 1985 using funds from the ice-cream maker.

In the controversial December 2016 report, Badil defended armed resistance by the Palestinians.

It said: “The right to resist of people under foreign and colonial domination, including armed struggle, and the applicability of these provisions to the Palestinian people has been reaffirmed by many other UNGA resolutions.

“In its suppression of resistance, Israel has not only made use of excessive force to stop armed struggle, but it goes as far as to criminalize and suppress demonstrations or even the development an practice of Palestinian culture.

“Equating all forms of resistance with terrorism as a justification for suppression lacks legal basis, as the Palestinian struggle for liberation is legitimate and all actions carried out against Israel for that purpose are therefore lawful,” the report said. Badil declined to comment. The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation and the Oakland Institute failed to reply to a request for comment.

In an earlier online statement about its decision to stop selling its products in the West Bank, Ben & Jerry’s said: “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

“We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.

“We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region.

“We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year.”

Last week Ms Mittal tweeted a statement of support from progressive US Jewish groups emphasising a “clear distinction” between Israel and the disputed territories.

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