Ice Cream and Politics

From time to time international brands bow to pressure from Israel’s enemies and subsequently make poor decisions. This time it’s our favorite ice cream

Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90

Our air conditioning has been running almost non-stop for a few days. It’s hot, very hot. Fortunately, the humidity here is not as high as in Tel Aviv, so you we manage to survive. When I was in our editorial office in Jerusalem yesterday, I skipped the usual walk in the city and instead enjoyed the pleasant coolness of the excellent air conditioning.

But there is another very popular way to fight the heat, a delicious ice cream! We always have a few flavors of ice cream in the freezer in summer. In addition to some of the local brands, we also often buy several Ben & Jerry’s. It’s a little more expensive than other ice cream, but it’s still the most popular brand here in Israel. We’re willing to pay a little more for good products, and Ben & Jerry’s is absolutely one of them. Until yesterday anyway.

Until yesterday our most popular ice cream

As we’ve been reporting over the past 24 hours, Ben & Jerry’s has decided to stop selling ice cream to Israelis who live in Judea and Samaria, which the company describes as the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.” “Wow” was my first reaction when I heard about it. My next thought then was that this pathetic decision could backfire big time on the company.

A few years ago we had a similar story here. Every year it seems more and more international companies crumble before the pressure of BDS, the anti-Israel boycott movement. Some two years ago it was the vacation rental broker Airbnb which stated that it would list Jewish apartments and houses that are located in Judea and Samaria. This decision sparked a wave of indignation in Israel and it wasn’t long before the company backed down. Will it be the same with Ben & Jerry’s?

When we heard the first calls yesterday to no longer buy ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s, the local manufacturer and distributor of the popular ice cream brand spoke up and stated that it would continue to sell the ice cream everywhere, rejecting entirely the order to stop selling in Judea and Samaria. The contract between the local manufacturer and Ben & Jerry’s International only expires in another year-and-a-half. So in the meantime, we can still enjoy our favorite ice cream, knowing that we are supporting the defiant local distributor. Boycotting them would put in jeopardy the employment of the 160 employees of the local Ben & Jerry’s production facility. And they don’t deserve it. And who knows, maybe the boycott by the international management of Ben & Jerry’s will fade away. After all, politics has no place in the ice.

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