Ben & Jerry’s Rocky Road in Israel

 

By now most ice cream lovers have heard the news: Ben & Jerry’s is pulling its scoops out of Israel as part of the global Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement targeting the Jewish state. While participation in a movement rooted in deep anti-Semitism is itself despicable – so too the political stance that Jews have no right to live in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, home to the Western Wall – the decision to inflict economic harm on an Israeli company for political ends also comes with extensive legal, financial and reputational hurdles.

Unilever, a publicly traded company (NYSE: UL) that owns the Ben & Jerry’s brand, faces a rocky road ahead and is already finding itself in deep fudge with states around the country.

As of today, 33 states in America have adopted some form of anti-boycott law that requires the state to blacklist any company that boycotts Israel. Twelve of those states require their pension funds to divest any direct holdings and warn fund managers against indirect holdings of the blacklisted company. Twenty-one other states also prohibit state contracting with the blacklisted firm. In the last 24 hours, Texas and Florida have begun the process of blacklisting Unilever.

To be clear, Unilever made a proactive decision to inflict economic harm on an Israeli-based ice cream manufacturer – Ben & Jerry’s licensee – to influence the Israeli government’s political decisions. That’s a violation of anti-boycott laws adopted by more than half the states in America that will cause significant financial and reputational harm for the corporation.

Unilever is in full control of this decision and could certainly face a shareholder lawsuit once a state divests. Company executives can’t hide behind their merger agreement with Ben & Jerry’s because there is no legal document that could obligate a publicly traded company to violate federal or state laws and put the company and its shareholders in jeopardy.

For an even deeper dive into the issue, check out this column in Newsweek.

Richard Goldberg is a senior advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. A former chief of staff to the governor of Illinois, he spearheaded passage of the first state anti-BDS law in America in 2015. 

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  1. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    With the “Build back better” politicians pushing  ESG  Ratings, expect more actions like this.  As they did with Entertainment, Education and Federal Gov, the woke left is getting on the board of directors and Military.

     

    See the following

     

    https://freebeacon.com/national-security/meet-ben-jerrys-board-chair-anti-israel-activist-has-published-defenses-of-hezbollah-hamas/

    • #1
  2. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I have some questions about this post.

    First, as I understand the situation, the claim that “Ben & Jerry’s is pulling its scoops out of Israel” is factually wrong.  The reports that I have read state that Ben & Jerry’s is ceasing distribution in the Israeli-occupied territories.  I’m not entirely sure of the scope of these territories, but I think that it principally means the West Bank.

    Second, about the West Bank.  The West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) is not part of Israel.  Israel does not claim the territory.  Rather, as I understand it, Israel has held this territory under military occupation since 1967.  This understanding is based on this Israeli high court decision (from 2004 or 2005).

    Here is my understanding of Israel’s actions in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem).  Though Israel does not claim this territory, it has nevertheless allowed over 400,000 Israelis to settle in the area.  Many consider these settlements to be illegal, including the EU. There are about 2.7 million Palestinians living in the area, under military occupation for over 50 years.  The Palestinians have declared their independence, and been recognized by about 130-140 nations and by the UN General Assembly, though it has not been recognized by the US.  The position of Israel and the US appears to be that the West Bank is a stateless region under military occupation, and the Palestinians a stateless people.

    Does this seem right to you?  We didn’t treat either Germany or Japan in this way after WWII.

    Then there’s East Jerusalem, which (as I understand it) was also occupied in 1967, and incorporated into Israel in 1980.  You might call it an “annexation,” but Israel doesn’t use the term, and the reasons for this are unclear.  There is a question of the legality of annexation under current international law, and problems of having to grant citizenship to the people in the annexed territory.  Israel appears to have finessed these issues by effectively annexing East Jerusalem, while not admitting that it has done so.

    It looks like East Jerusalem has a population of about 215,000 Jews and about 330,000 Palestinians.  The Palestinians aren’t exactly second-class citizens.  They are not citizens.  Israel incorporated East Jerusalem into its territory without granting citizenship to the people residing in the territory.

    Does this seem right to you?  I think that it is fair to say that this is similar to the way that the US treated the Indians back in the 1700s and 1800s.  More recently, we’ve granted citizenship to people in US territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico.

    Please correct me if I am factually incorrect about any of this.  I’ve only begun looking into the complex details recently.

    I find the entire situation troubling.  It is a difficult issue.  I don’t think that it’s helpful to accuse people having a different view of being anti-Semites.

    • #2
  3. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    I don’t understand.  Are Ben and Jerry Iranian Muslims?  Is there some Chinese angle?  What’s Russia’s role?

    • #3
  4. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Second, about the West Bank.  The West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) is not part of Israel.  Israel does not claim the territory.  Rather, as I understand it, Israel has held this territory under military occupation since 1967.

    Man, I’ve heard the opposite.  Anyone out there who can clarify this?  There’s that old saying, “Possession is 9/10s of the law.”

    • #4
  5. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Many consider these settlements to be illegal, including the EU. There are about 2.7 million Palestinians living in the area, under military occupation for over 50 years.  The Palestinians have declared their independence, and been recognized by about 130-140 nations and by the UN General Assembly, though it has not been recognized by the US. 

    I’m sure Israel doesn’t care what the EU or the UN thinks.  How many times has the UN condemned Israel for this action or that?

    • #5
  6. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    First, as I understand the situation, the claim that “Ben & Jerry’s is pulling its scoops out of Israel” is factually wrong.  The reports that I have read state that Ben & Jerry’s is ceasing distribution in the Israeli-occupied territories. 

    As you click through the links and related stories it would seem that Ben & Jerry’s is de facto pulling out of Israel. There is not a mechanism that is allowed under Israeli law for them to stop selling in just one area. 

    https://apnews.com/article/ben-jerrys-israel-west-bank-east-jerusalem-879a896549a304ba34223a95a593c391

    “It remains unclear how Ben & Jerry’s plans to do that. Israeli supermarket chains, a primary distribution channel for the cleverly named flavors of ice cream, operate in the settlements, and under Israeli law, people or companies that boycott the settlements can be sued.”

    From the Newsweek article:

    “Unilever cut off the longstanding licensee after it refused to halt sales in the disputed territories, which reportedly would violate Israeli law.”

    It would appear that legally to sell in Israel you must sell in the occupied territories, if you won’t sell in the territories you can’t sell anywhere in Israel.

     

    • #6
  7. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    GlennAmurgis (View Comment):

    With the “Build back better” politicians pushing ESG Ratings, expect more actions like this. As they did with Entertainment, Education and Federal Gov, the woke left is getting on the board of directors and Military.

     

    See the following

     

    https://freebeacon.com/national-security/meet-ben-jerrys-board-chair-anti-israel-activist-has-published-defenses-of-hezbollah-hamas/

    I invested in an ETF that is specifically composed of companies that don’t toe the line.

    • #7
  8. Locke On Member
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    Kozak (View Comment):

    GlennAmurgis (View Comment):

    With the “Build back better” politicians pushing ESG Ratings, expect more actions like this. As they did with Entertainment, Education and Federal Gov, the woke left is getting on the board of directors and Military.

     

    See the following

     

    https://freebeacon.com/national-security/meet-ben-jerrys-board-chair-anti-israel-activist-has-published-defenses-of-hezbollah-hamas/

    I invested in an ETF that is specifically composed of companies that don’t toe the line.

    Which is….?

    • #8
  9. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Does this seem right to you? I think that it is fair to say that this is similar to the way that the US treated the Indians back in the 1700s and 1800s. More recently, we’ve granted citizenship to people in US territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico.

    I’ve only begun looking into the complex details recently.

    I find the entire situation troubling. It is a difficult issue. I don’t think that it’s helpful to accuse people having a different view of being anti-Semites.

    Jerry – I am a Christian and my take on the actual events are different from yours.  The Jews were “awarded” their home state – the State of Israel – in 1948 by the world bodies who decree these sorts of things, even though the Bible and God decreed the land (outlined in the Old Testament) as belonging to His chosen people. They were “scattered across the world” with NO homeland and the Muslims took up residence in somewhere around the year 70 AD.  So somehow the “world” came together and agreed with God, and outlined the State of Israel.  Jews returned and set up a new (old) homeland.  Then…..they were attacked from all sides.  As I read, all the Muslim countries around them attacked, but the Jews, who in some cases used old muskets and ancient rifles, fought them off, and “by the grace of God”, secured their homeland that they were supposedly “given” in 1948.

    Some of this “land” they won was The West Bank and Jerusalem, a sacred site to Christians and Jews. In 1967, war was waged, but what changed? There has never been a Palestinian state or people called Palestinians in all of history. Even the surrounding huge Muslim countries would not take them or help them.  They have occupied land that belonged to the Jews all along.  Who says? God. 

    “Please correct me if I am factually incorrect about any of this.” So Arafat demanded concessions for Palestinians since then. Every US President and Israel sought to compromise-money, land for peace. But they wanted to drive the Jews into the sea. Arafat’s declaration.  Look at Arafat’s declaration. Please. Get history right.

    I will boycott Ben & Jerry’s (they sold the company awhile ago) and any other company who signs on to BDS. Ill find other products and frozen desserts to buy.  Educate yourself. The well-being of the Palestinian people has never been a priority by the surrounding Muslim countries or Arafat. I think during GWB’s presidency, they were offered 95% of what they wanted, with dividing Jerusalem so they could have it as a capitol, as the deal breaker.  So there you go.

    • #9
  10. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Jerry – watch.org has been a very big help to me in education regarding International news and the relationship, Biblically speaking, between, Christians, Jews and the world.  Back in the early 1990’s, I worked for an international hi-tech consulting firm in Boston. Someone there referred me to this site and it has been a tremendous news source and blessing since. Bill Koenig is and has been a White House correspondent and journalist for several decades. This is his site.  He has written books, several that have been delivered to the WH, directly to presidents and members of Congress. 

    So this is not some silly opinion-heavy blog but a real news source that I find helpful in tracking current events around the world.

    https://watch.org/

     

    • #10
  11. Viruscop Member
    Viruscop
    @Viruscop

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I have some questions about this post.

    First, as I understand the situation, the claim that “Ben & Jerry’s is pulling its scoops out of Israel” is factually wrong. The reports that I have read state that Ben & Jerry’s is ceasing distribution in the Israeli-occupied territories. I’m not entirely sure of the scope of these territories, but I think that it principally means the West Bank.

    Second, about the West Bank. The West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) is not part of Israel. Israel does not claim the territory. Rather, as I understand it, Israel has held this territory under military occupation since 1967. This understanding is based on this Israeli high court decision (from 2004 or 2005).

    Here is my understanding of Israel’s actions in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem). Though Israel does not claim this territory, it has nevertheless allowed over 400,000 Israelis to settle in the area. Many consider these settlements to be illegal, including the EU. There are about 2.7 million Palestinians living in the area, under military occupation for over 50 years. The Palestinians have declared their independence, and been recognized by about 130-140 nations and by the UN General Assembly, though it has not been recognized by the US. The position of Israel and the US appears to be that the West Bank is a stateless region under military occupation, and the Palestinians a stateless people.

    Does this seem right to you? We didn’t treat either Germany or Japan in this way after WWII.

    Then there’s East Jerusalem, which (as I understand it) was also occupied in 1967, and incorporated into Israel in 1980. You might call it an “annexation,” but Israel doesn’t use the term, and the reasons for this are unclear. There is a question of the legality of annexation under current international law, and problems of having to grant citizenship to the people in the annexed territory. Israel appears to have finessed these issues by effectively annexing East Jerusalem, while not admitting that it has done so.

    It looks like East Jerusalem has a population of about 215,000 Jews and about 330,000 Palestinians. The Palestinians aren’t exactly second-class citizens. They are not citizens. Israel incorporated East Jerusalem into its territory without granting citizenship to the people residing in the territory.

    Does this seem right to you? I think that it is fair to say that this is similar to the way that the US treated the Indians back in the 1700s and 1800s. More recently, we’ve granted citizenship to people in US territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico.

    This is far too reasonable to be on Ricochet, or for that matter, the New York Times. Asking such reasonable questions as these places you to the left of the “liberal” media.

    • #11
  12. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Not Florida, but of possible relevance:

    A federal judge has ruled that Georgia’s anti-BDS law is unconstitutional. The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit that was filed against the state by journalist Abby Martin.

    Martin, a longtime advocate for Palestinian rights and director of the film Gaza Fights for Freedom, was invited to give a talk at Georgia Southern University as part of a media conference in 2020. Shortly before the event the school sent her a contract to sign and, because of the state’s anti-BDS law, it contained a loyalty oath to Israel. By signing the contract Martin would have promised not to boycott the country. The Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund filed a lawsuit challenging the law on behalf of Martin.

    On May 21 District Court Judge Mark Cohen blocked the state’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit. Cohen’s 29-page decision asserts that the Georgia law “prohibits inherently expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment, burdens Martin’s right to free speech, and is not narrowly tailored to further a substantial state interest.”

    I’m not sure if it relates to the US Constitution or Georgia’s Constitution (is there such a thing?) but fwiw.

    More on the Georgia law here.

    • #12
  13. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    I think all questions about all things are legitimate and worth exploring, but I have absolutely no sympathy for Ben and Jerry’s.  

    Put their thoughts on Israel to one side.  This company has openly supported super progressive positions, ie the idea that abortion is a positive good, for years.  And they’ve done this in a militant, non-tolerant way that welcomes no debate.  

    This fact makes me less likely to view this company as arguing in good faith on principle here.  

    At the least, while I did not hold a company’s pushed agenda against it for years, something snapped last year for me before the Israel thing.

    Check their values as published on their own website.  This company wants to defund the police and clearly views the US as a racist country.  Can you imagine what it would be like for someone on the center right to work there?

    https://www.benjerry.com/values/issues-we-care-about

    I don’t think a professor should have to sign a loyalty oath to Israel, if that was truly the hang up at Georgia Southern.  That warrants discussion.  But I definitely think if a company wants to force feed the world it’s views, people have the right to spit them out again… I think that’s what’s happening to Ben and Jerry’s, which is run by people who don’t seem interested in neutral commerce.

    • #13
  14. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    Kozak (View Comment):

    GlennAmurgis (View Comment):

    With the “Build back better” politicians pushing ESG Ratings, expect more actions like this. As they did with Entertainment, Education and Federal Gov, the woke left is getting on the board of directors and Military.

     

    See the following

     

    https://freebeacon.com/national-security/meet-ben-jerrys-board-chair-anti-israel-activist-has-published-defenses-of-hezbollah-hamas/

    I invested in an ETF that is specifically composed of companies that don’t toe the line.

    Do you have the name of that ETF? 

    • #14
  15. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Locke On (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    GlennAmurgis (View Comment):

    With the “Build back better” politicians pushing ESG Ratings, expect more actions like this. As they did with Entertainment, Education and Federal Gov, the woke left is getting on the board of directors and Military.

    See the following

    https://freebeacon.com/national-security/meet-ben-jerrys-board-chair-anti-israel-activist-has-published-defenses-of-hezbollah-hamas/

    I invested in an ETF that is specifically composed of companies that don’t toe the line.

    Which is….?

    AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE VALUES ETF

    • Exchange Traded Fund
    • Micro Cap ($13.93M

    ACVF’s Prospectus Stated Objectives

    The investment seeks to achieve long-term capital appreciation; capital preservation is the secondary objective. Under normal circumstances, the fund seeks to meet its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, if any, in equity securities of U.S. companies that meet its politically conservative criteria. The equity securities in which It invests will generally be those of companies with large market capitalizations.

    • #15
  16. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    Short UL.

    • #16
  17. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    The date 70 AD refers to the Roman capture of Jerusalem, and destruction of the temple – of which the Western Wall survives to the present time.  

    Mohammed was born in 571 AD, more or less, in the small town of Mecca.  He and his small group of followers were driven out of Mecca, and in 622 AD they reached an agreement with the leaders of the town of Yathrib, later to become known as Medina.  The leaders of that town agreed to allow Mohammed to represent them in disputes, and for he and his followers to defend them.  That event is considered to mark the beginning of Islam as we know it, and establishing Mohammed as a military leader.  This latter is a big deal, and really was the almost exclusive mechanism for spreading Islam, continuing to the present day.  To the best of my knowledge, the only country ever to voluntarily adopt Islam is Brunei, on the island of Borneo.  

    There was indeed a country, or at least an area called Palestine, until World War II.  They were a pain in the neck of the surrounding countries, throughout history.  They made a big mistake in the World Wars – they sided with the Germans, in large part because the Germans were also anti-semitic.  This was the case throughout most of the Middle East, and led to the re-drawing of boundaries and actual creation of new countries in 1947, including the nation of Israel.  This new nation, however, was a fraction of the country that had been conquered and obliterated by the Muslims.  This same reapportionment did create a nation of Palestine.   But the neighboring countries did not care one bit of having a Palestinian nation on their borders, and almost immediately invaded it and annexed the land for themselves, and there it remains.  

     

    • #17
  18. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Quietpi (View Comment):
    This new nation, however, was a fraction of the country that had been conquered and obliterated by the Muslims.

    ??

    I thought that was the crusader states?  Same?

    • #18
  19. GeezerBob Coolidge
    GeezerBob
    @GeezerBob

    I have no use for B&J, and I would be far more convinced of their sincerity if they refused to sell in China as long as China claims Tibet. That happened at about the same time as the establishment of Israel, and yet…

    • #19
  20. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Zafar (View Comment):
    I’m not sure if it relates to the US Constitution or Georgia’s Constitution (is there such a thing?) but fwiw.

    I’m pretty sure each state has a constitution.

    • #20