On Monday, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, which is no longer owned by anyone named Ben and/or Jerry, issued a statement. Specifically:
July 19, 2021
We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.
We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region. We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year.
Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT, we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement. We will share an update on this as soon as we’re ready.
As you can imagine, the usual suspects went berserk. Starting with Bibi, who took time out from his important work pretending to still be Israel’s prime minister – I’m serious, just today he went directly to the CEO’s of Pfizer and Moderna to try to get them to send more vaccine to Israel because he has decided that it doesn’t matter if he is not officially the prime minister, he’s still the prime minister – to call for Israelis to not buy, as in boycott, Ben & Jerry’s.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cancelled a state-financed contract worth NIS 10,000 for annual ice cream purchases at his official residence.
Netanyahu on Thursday evidently agreed that the expense was extravagant and therefore unacceptable.
The prime minister’s decision was announced hours after a news report revealed that his bureau received special permission to commission a local ice cream shop to stock the leader’s official residence with cold treats.
No government tender was issued for the deal under the pretext that the shop carried ice cream flavors which “cater to the prime minister’s taste,” referring to vanilla and pistachio.
The Prime Minister’s Bureau stressed that the deal was nothing more than “a master contract meant to accommodate guests at the prime minister’s official residence, and did not necessarily mean the entire sum would be spent.”
No bid, off the book contract for Bibi’s favorite nom noms? Perfectly kosher! Ben & Jerry’s not making and/or selling ice cream in the West Bank, but still planning to make and sell ice cream in Israel proper? Traife! (That’s not kosher, for you gentiles. You know who you are…)
Of course everyone else had to get in on the act too.
🍦🇮🇱Ben & Jerry's say they're committed to their Israeli market but will stop selling in the occupied West Bank.
•FM Lapid calls Ben & Jerry antisemites.
•PM Bennett said actions will be taken against the company.
•Pres Herzog says it is terrorism.
All scream for ice cream
— Noga Tarnopolsky (@NTarnopolsky) July 21, 2021
It isn’t terrorism.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said he spoke with Alan Jope, chief executive of Ben & Jerry’s parent company Unilever, and raised concern about what he called a “clearly anti-Israel step.” He said the move would have “serious consequences, legal and otherwise,” and Israel “will act aggressively against all boycott actions directed against its citizens.”
Hey Vermont, the phrase you’re looking for right now is “Rise and kill first!” I would definitely buy an ice cream flavor named that!
Who’s next (still Reuters)?
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations and the United States, Gilad Erdan, sent letters to 35 governors whose states have laws against boycotting Israel asking that they consider speaking out against Ben & Jerry’s decision “and taking any other relevant steps, including in relation to your state laws and the commercial dealings between Ben & Jerry’s and your state.”
Erdan said Israel views the company’s decision as “the de-facto adoption of anti-Semitic practices and advancement of the de-legitimization of the Jewish state and the dehumanization of the Jewish people.”
By the way, Erdan is no longer actually the ambassador. He was terminated shortly after alternate PM and current Foreign Minister Yair Lapid took office. Several days later Erdan announced he couldn’t be fired because he’d resigned prior to being fired. At this point, why he’s even still in the US is beyond me.
Anyhow, moving along, as Charles P. Pierce likes to say, to Oklahoma…
We should immediately block the sale of all #Benandjerrys in the state and in any state-operated facility to align with our law.
— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) July 21, 2021
Oklahoma’s anti-Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) laws, like everyone of the other 30 some odd state level anti-Boycott, Divest, and Sanction laws, are all unconstitutional because they upset Popehat.
— HatInProSe (@Popehat) July 21, 2021
And they violate the 1st Amendment.
So what is actually going on here? Something very, very simple and, to be honest, something the Netanyahu government obligated itself too. Ben & Jerry’s is now owned by Unilever, which is a large European multinational known for soap products and buying up a whole bunch of companies that make a variety of foods and beverages too. Unilever, because it has corporate offices in the EU, is bound by EU polices, rules, and regulations. Anshel Pfeffer, Bibi’s biographer, has the details:
The Netanyahu government decided not to annex the West Bank and signed an agreement with the EU which stipulated that there would be no European funding for projects in the settlements so as far as I’m concerned Ben & Jerry’s latest decision is in line with Netanyahu’s policies.
— Anshel Pfeffer אנשיל פפר (@AnshelPfeffer) July 19, 2021
Based on what Pfeffer is reporting, it appears that Unilever decided to pull Ben & Jerry’s current production agreement and license with Israel, which included it being produced in the West Bank meaning at a settlement, in order to comply with the agreement that Bibi Netanyahu’s government negotiated with the EU. According to their announcement, Ben & Jerry’s, read Unilever, plans to continue to produce and sell its ice cream in Israel proper once a new licensee arrangement can be negotiated. All that is happening here is that Ben & Jerry’s, and their EU based corporate owner, are moving to become compliant with the EU agreement with Israel that Bibi Netanyahu’s government negotiated with the EU and then agreed to.
That’s it. It’s not anti-Zionism. It’s not anti-Semitism. It’s not anti-anything. Though I’m sure the usual suspects of Ben “the wickedest of sons” Shapiro, Bari “it’s not anti-Semitism unless I say it’s anti-Semitism” Weiss, Bret “I’m calling your boss and getting you fired” Stephens, Joel “please don’t tell anyone I grew up in South Africa and my Jewish parents were anti-apartheid activists because it’ll blow my cover as a Stephen Miller style I’m Jewish, but I’m also a white supremacist schtick at Breitbart” Pollack, Meghan “my dad knew Joe Lieberman” McCain, and just about every Republican elected and appointed official – almost none of whom are Jewish and/or Israeli – as well as just about everyone on Fox News – most of whom are neither Jewish and/or Israeli – will be along shortly to continue to scream that this is the most horrible, terrible anti-Semitism that ever anti-Semitismed. Because that’s what they do. Which, of course, distracts from actual anti-Semitism. Which has been on the rise in the US and in Europe and is an actual problem. Unlike this.