A blow from an unexpected source to the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company: The Amadeo Antonio Foundation, a German human rights group considered one of the most active in Germany announced the cessation of its collaborations with Ben & Jerry’s in protest of the announcement that the company would not sell its ice cream in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”).
The Amadeo Antonio Foundation was established in 1998 as an independent organization to raise awareness of the struggle against right-wing extremism, neo-Nazism, antisemitism, racism and xenophobia in Germany. It is one of the most prominent organizations in the field of human rights in Germany and collaborates, among other things, with a long list of civil society organizations, companies and corporations, as well as German, state and federal government ministries. The foundation is named after a foreign worker from Angola who was brutally murdered in 1990 by a gang of German neo-Nazis.
The foundation maintains extensive collaborations with Ben & Jerry’s on issues such as the refugee situation in Germany, hatred of the other and for a more egalitarian society. In recent years, they have carried out 40 joint projects.
In a letter published on its website, the foundation states that it received the ice cream maker’s announcement with great astonishment and emphasizes that it will not be able to agree with the decision to boycott Israel. The foundation also notes that the boycott does not promote peace or alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians. The opposite is true, the boycott deepens tensions and aggression and hardens the positions of the parties.
The foundation further notes that under the guise of “criticism against Israel” (original quotes) hatred against Jews also spreads. The foundation also criticizes Ben & Jerry’s over the fact that unlike other cases of harm to minorities, precisely on the issue of antisemitism the company did not make its voice heard “and instead joined the chorus of those who present Israel as a ‘great evil’” without addressing the region’s broad and historical context. It further stated that “this is a blow to the face of all those who experience antisemitism on a daily basis.”
The foundation continues to sharply attack the BDS movement and insists that the fight against antisemitism and the fight against “other ideologies of hatred” cannot be separated, and also emphasized that this is the official position on the issue of the German government.
In conclusion, the foundation states that “an organization that claims to fight for human rights cannot be blind to the activities of organizations with antisemitic, racist, homophobic and misogynistic views … and therefore, under these conditions, we will cease our cooperation with Ben & Jerry’s.”
There is no doubt that this is a very significant statement by an organization with widespread influence in Germany and high credibility in everything related to the pursuit of human rights, and the fight against antisemitism and xenophobia. The Israeli Embassy in Germany has had a close relationship with the organization for many years, but despite this, it is a completely independent decision of the foundation. The Israeli Embassy announced its appreciation for the foundation’s steadfast support of the Jewish nation.