The Social Justice Initiatives Ben & Jerry’s Are Hurting

Back in August 2018, Ben & Jerry’s Israel organized for Ziggy Marley to speak to the Ethiopian National Project.

What do Ziggy Marley, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and Ethiopian-Israelis have in common? The answer came at Ziggy’s performance at the Shuni Amphitheater, where he wowed not only the audience, but also inspired a small group of teenagers, invited backstage by Marley as participants in the Ethiopian National Project. Marley’s words, to “work hard and focus on education,” resonated with The ENP SPACE participants, as they all agreed in unison that the interaction with Marley “changed the way they thought about school,” and echoed his sentiment that ‘education is of the utmost importance, and has the power to ensure a brighter future.” Roni Akale, the Director General of ENP, complimented Marley on the work of his One Love Foundation, and also described Marley’s interactions with the teens as “powerful.” “The children looked very happy to speak with Marley,” said Akale, and “they were very proud that he came to speak with them.” The teenagers also had the opportunity to hear from David Mashasha, a 7th-year medical student at Hebrew University in Jerusalem who is also Ethiopian-Israeli. Mashasha reminded the teenagers that they all have tremendous potential to succeed, despite any adversities they may face. 

This connection was forged by Ben & Jerry’s Israel, which selected ENP SPACE as its community project, with ENP receiving a portion of the proceeds from Ben and Jerry’s One Love flavor sales in Israel. The One Love flavor was created to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Bob Marley’s (Ziggy’s father) “Legend” album. In countries other than Israel, proceeds from the flavor’s sales support Jamaican youth.

I assume the pro-Israel Ziggy is not happy over Ben & Jerry’s stance towards its Israeli licensee and Israel in general.

Besides supporting the Ethiopian National Project, Ben & Jerry’s Israel has done many other things to promote social equality and diversity in Israel. As Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently posted:

Ben and Jerry’s likes to brand itself as a social justice company with flavors like “JusticeReMix’d” & “Empower Mint,” but when it comes to promoting social equality and diversity in Israel, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Here’s what we mean ⬇️:

🍦 Ben & Jerry’s Israel buys the majority of its milk from local Israeli farmers. Shutting down the factory would hurt the farmers and their families

🍦 Most of the workers at the Ben & Jerry’s Israel factory, live in or near the Gaza Envelope. They live under constant rocket fire from Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza & are one of Israel’s most vulnerable populations

🍦 The Israeli factory employs Jews & Arabs, Ethiopians, Ultra-Orthodox, refugees & other minorities, a symbol of diversity and tolerance. Closing the factory down will not promote social justice. It will impede social justice

🍦 Ben & Jerry’s Israel funds multiple programs which bring Jews & Arabs together and empower some of Israel’s weakest communities. These programs will end if the factory closes.

In short, if you actually care about social justice & tolerance, join us in supporting Ben & Jerry’s Israel & asking Ben & Jerry’s to stand by their commitment in creating an equal & tolerant society for all.

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David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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