Jewish Leaders Call for Reversal of Ben & Jerry's Boycott Decision

New York, NY

. . . Dianne Lob, Chair, William Daroff, CEO, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, issued the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed in Ben & Jerry’s decision to cease operations with its Israeli licensee, thereby refusing to sell its ice cream to Israelis and Palestinians in land Ben & Jerry’s describes as ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory.’ This decision, pushed by BDS activists who are now stating that Ben & Jerry’s did not go far enough by not boycotting all of Israel, demonstrates that some who push these boycotts are not guided by concern over ‘disputed’ territory, but rather seek any excuse to demonize the State of Israel.

We commend Ben & Jerry’s Israel for their opposition to BDS and their decision to continue selling in all areas until their contract expires. Ben & Jerry’s Israel operated the first factory outside the United States as a lessee. It is unfortunate that due to Ben & Jerry’s decision Ben & Jerry’s Israel, which brought the ice cream to Israel over 30 years ago, will no longer be licensed to do so.

Thirty-three states took action through legislation or executive orders that penalize companies that boycott Israel. We encourage Unilever, the multinational consumer product corporation that owns Ben & Jerry’s, to recognize that boycotts of Israel are discriminatory and further inflame the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Given their fiduciary responsibilities, Unilever should consider the restrictions that exist in some states on pension fund investments and state purchasing. We call upon Unilever to override the decision of its subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s.

Since Ben & Jerry’s admirably speaks out against discrimination and hatred, we are dismayed that it would ally itself with the discriminatory and antisemitic BDS Movement. We strongly urge them to rescind this decision.”

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The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

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