The Simon Wiesenthal Center has launched an ad campaign in Jewish newspapers urging stores to stop selling Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream as a means to pressure its parent company, Unilever, to confront antisemitism within its ranks. The campaign comes several months after the ice-cream maker announced that it would stop selling its product in parts of Israel come 2022.
“Ben & Jerry’s is boycotting Israel. Tell your grocer to stop selling antisemitic ice-cream,” says the ad, which appeared in the Sept. 24 issue of the Cleveland Jewish News, one of nine Jewish media outlets running the advertisement.
Also at issue, says the Wiesenthal Center, is the company’s current board chair, Anuradha Mittal, who has expressed support for BDS, criticized AIPAC and in her previous job at a think tank posted positive articles about the Hezbollah and Hamas terror groups.
According to the decision by Ben & Jerry’s, “it was never just about ice-cream sold in East Jerusalem. It is all about Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream company profits being leveraged by an activist antisemite who hates Israel and defends Hamas—and the corporate executives at Unilever letting it happen,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and global social action director at the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
“This is about arrogance and irresponsibility, enabling the odious anti-Semitic BDS movement to use money from a global brand to brand Jews as occupiers in their own land at a time when there is a spike of violent attacks against Jews from Germany to the United Kingdom to the United States,” he said.
The founders of Ben & Jerry’s—Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who sold the company in 2000 but still maintain control over social-justice aspects—appeared on a television program to justify the company’s decision, saying that they weren’t boycotting Israel, just choosing not to sell ice-cream in the so-called “occupied territories.”
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