Boycott ‘antisemitic’ Ben & Jerry’s, says Simon Wiesenthal Center


The Simon Wiesenthal Center is calling for a consumer boycott of Ben & Jerry’s “antisemitic ice cream” after the US firm stopped selling its products in parts of Israel.
The company’s decision in July to stop doing business in east Jerusalem and the West Bank was branded a “disgraceful capitulation” to antisemitism by Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid.
The move is said to have been instigated by Ben & Jerry’s board chairwoman Anuradha Mittal, who has voiced her support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on social media.
Now the Wiesenthal Center has started a campaign paid for by supporters, led by adverts in newspapers that declare: “Ben & Jerry’s is boycotting Israel. Tell your local grocery store to stop selling antisemitic ice cream!”
The phrase “stop selling” is slapped right across one of the company’s instantly recognisable branded tubs in the ad.
Ben & Jerry’s has been owned by UK-based multinational giant Unilever since 2000 but retains corporate autonomy with an independent board.
In a statement the Center said they are calling “on consumers, states, and legislators to take action”. The goal is to “mobilize Americans and states to contest Ben & Jerry’s boycott against Israel”.
It accused board chairwoman Mittal of having “a track record of endorsing the antisemitic BDS movement” and declares: “We cannot enable the odious, antisemitic BDS movement to continue to use money from a global brand to brand Jews as occupiers in their own land.” 
The Center says: “Many states have already pulled investments out of Unilever, including a combined $325 million divestment from Arizona and New Jersey.
“Reviews of Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s that could lead to similar action are underway in New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Maryland, and Rhode Island, prompted by anti-BDS laws requiring states to withdraw investments from any company that boycotts the goods, products, or businesses of Israel.”
Ben & Jerry’s founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who are Jewish, have vehemently denied that the decision to end sales in east Jerusalem and the West Bank is a boycott of Israel or any way antisemitic.
In a recent interview Mr Cohen responded to critics saying: “It’s absurd. I’m anti-Jewish? I’m a Jew! My whole family is Jewish. My friends are Jewish,” adding he affirmed his belief in Israel’s right to exist.
Mr Greenfield said he realised their decision over sales to Israel was controversial, saying: “I totally understand it. It’s a very painful issue for a lot of people.”
Ms Mittal hit back at critics earlier this year, tweeting: “I am proud of Ben & Jerry’s for taking a stance to end sale of its ice cream in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This action is not antisemitic. I am not antisemitic.”

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