Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.71 minutes to read.

When I talk with Palestinian friends, I argue against BDS. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, I explain, has done little economic damage to Israel. It has only strengthened the right wing here while rendering Palestinians under occupation — along with the occupation itself — conveniently invisible to most Israelis.

For similar reasons, I also argue against “anti-normalization” efforts that reject any form of dialogue, collaboration or partnership with Israelis.

So why do I support Ben & Jerry’s announcement to stop marketing and selling in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem? Because that decision, as announced by the corporate parent company Unilever, is not a victory for BDS. At the heart of the BDS movement, especially in the United States and United Kingdom, is an attack on the legitimacy of the State of Israel to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people.

That’s not what Ben & Jerry’s decision is — it’s a boycott to protest a particular policy…

Those who claim that a protest against the occupation is a frontal attack on Israel itself are making a mistake. There has been and continues to be only one issue that should be leading the debate: whether we move toward two states by beginning to differentiate borders and freeze the settlements, or we continually drift dangerously to one state.

I hope that Unilever can hold to its position to keep Ben & Jerry’s ice cream inside Israel while exiting the territories. It would be an important statement, even if just symbolic, to say yes to Israel and no to the occupation.

Jo-Ann Mort has written frequently about Israel and Palestinian issues for a range of publications, including The American Prospect, Dissent, and The New York Review of Books Daily (Published in JTA)

I am so tired, so very tired, of people who view themselves as “do-gooders,” advancing actions that only make the already slim chance of reaching peace with the Palestinians in my lifetime even slimmer. Yesterday’s announcement by Ben & Jerry’s declaring their intention to cease selling their ice cream in the West Bank and East Jerusalem—or as they call it, “the Occupied Palestinian Territory”—is another one of these counterproductive actions.

This is not because I support Israel’s occupation. As an IDF soldier half a lifetime ago, I patrolled the Casbah of Nablus and the roads of the villages of Gaza. It was enough to convince me how bad occupying the territories was for Israel. It is impossible to have a good occupation, and the occupation itself is a curse on Israeli society…

Ben & Jerry’s declaration is self-defeating. This move will not bring peace; it will only strengthen extremists on each side. The Palestinians will say, “We do not have to make any fundamental concessions; we will let the world pressure Israel,” and the right-wing in Israel will only be strengthened with its endless claim of “See, the whole world is against us, the whole world is antisemitic.”

Marc Schulman, Newsweek

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.69 minutes to read.

Today Ben & Jerry’s is a global corporate behemoth. In 2000, Ben & Jerry’s founders sold the brand to Unilever, a massive multinational consumer goods company, for $326 million. Ben & Jerry’s is one of over 400 brands owned by the British-Dutch company.

It’s folksy, do-gooding image exists largely as a marketing ploy: Ben & Jerry’s is promoted as the “progressive” brand of ice cream in Unilever’s stable… Ben & Jerry’s outspoken progressivism morphed into just one more marketing feature to be manipulated as the ice cream jostles for market share.

Unilever owns plenty of other brands of ice cream. Its biggest seller is actually Magnum and the corporation has no plans to pull other brands from the Jewish state. This isn’t about using boycotts of Israel to affect real political or social change. It’s about Ben & Jerry’s signaling its virtue by hopping on the bandwagon of criticizing and boycotting Israel…

Where is Ben & Jerry’s statement that it’s pulling its brand from disputed territories in Taiwan (claimed by China), or Kashmir (disputed by India and Pakistan), or Cyprus (Greece and Turkey), or Gibraltar (Spain and Britain) – or myriad other areas of political disagreements?

Dr. Yvette Alt Miller lives with her family in Chicago, and has lectured internationally on Jewish topics. (Publsihed in Aish)

For an American company like Ben & Jerry’s, the decision to align with the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a movement that has been denounced by both major U.S. political parties as well as the majority of states as just another in the long history of boycotts against Jews, is not only shameful; it is possibly illegal…

Since Israel is the world’s only Jewish state, singling it out for boycotts and other punitive economic actions involves blatant discrimination on the basis of nationality and ethnicity…

Such discriminatory business practices are contrary to public policy. That is why there has been consistent bipartisan condemnation of the BDS movement by U.S. lawmakers…

Second, boycotting Israelis in a discriminatory fashion violates the fiduciary duties of both loyalty and care that officers and directors owe a corporation and its shareholders. The duty of loyalty requires decision-makers to put the welfare and best interests of the company before their own personal interests (including the desire to virtue signal), while the duty of care requires them to reasonably consider the impact of their decisions on the company’s economic prospects…

Unilever has tried to distance themselves from the decision, noting in a separate statement that Ben & Jerry’s Board made this decision entirely on their own. That does not absolve them of legal responsibility for the company they own. If Unilever has made agreements with Ben & Jerry’s that prevent them from controlling such actions, they may find themselves in a position of having to choose between selling off the damaged brand or facing regulatory and legal responsibility for its actions.

Mark Goldfeder, the American Center for Law and Justice’s special counsel for international affairs (published in NY Daily News)