Why I Gave Up Ben & Jerry’s and Everything Unilever Produces
How many more things do I need to give up in life to stay aligned with my values? It started with Roger Waters who became the poster boy of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, then had to give up Airbnb because it singled out Judea and Samaria for discrimination…and now even my salted caramel ice cream had to land in the trash.
Because the moment you deny, question, or make it look illegitimate for Jews to live in Judea and Samaria, I cannot just go on with my day as business as usual.
Because the moment we let these things pass without consequences, we let Jew-hatred spread and we become part of the problem.
I am not Jewish – and though it should not matter – somehow it does. And I want you to know that you are not alone. You have allies.
Jews are from Judea. They are indigenous to the land of Israel and have a right to live in their ancestral homeland.
Ben & Jerry’s is attempting to be some kind of ‘human rights cheerleader,’ claiming that Judea and Samaria consist of illegal settlements. But Ben & Jerry’s never checked the facts, history, or international law. There is a cognitive dissonance with its alleged desire to support human rights, but not the rights of Jews to live in their homeland.
I understand that it is trendy to call out Israel. It somehow – in a very perverted way – became a badge of honor to see who can single out, demonize or delegitimize Israel more.
By boycotting Jews in Judea and Samaria, Ben and Jerry’s delegitimize the Jewish right to live in Israel. This is a cultural genocide and a falsification of history. Something that would not be tolerated by any other group.
But what many forget or purposefully overlook is that attacking Israel is not going to help the Palestinian Arabs, which allegedly is the reason for the BDS campaign at large. But attacking Israel definitely fuels Jew-hatred even here, in America.
Imagine, here in NYC, Ben and Jerry’s would stop selling ice cream in my beloved borough, Harlem – just because African-Americans live there. Or they would stop selling their ice cream in Chinatown, just because Chinese people live there.
Would these communities accept such open discrimination?
No, they would not.
So why do we (yet again) accept the discrimination against Jews? Why do we let a private company delegitimize the homeland of the Jewish people?
We all know and have seen where delegitimization leads: It leads to violence.
Wherever boycotts flourish, Jew-hating violence follows – as we saw this throughout May and ever since. We saw it here at Bryant Park where a Jew was attacked by a mob, and with his head bleeding, had to find refuge at a supermarket. But we also saw it on the streets of Brooklyn at the end of July.
Protestors called to “Globalize the Intifada.” Thousands attended. But I wonder how many of them actually knew that they marched for a terrorist campaign; that they marched behind a slogan that says nothing else but it is okay to kill Jews.
When Ben & Jerry’s boycotts Israel, they are not adding to the hopeful outlook of peace. They are not helping ANYONE with this move – as we know very well that Arabs lose their jobs each time a company moves out of this area.
What they are doing is simply virtue signaling – but they are signaling the wrong virtues, ones that encourage Jew-hatred.
I am writing this here today as Virag – a Zionist non-Jew who believes in common sense. But I am also writing here as someone who signed up to #EndJewHatred in our generation. Jewish presence, whether in Judea and Samaria, in Tel Aviv, or anywhere else, is not a provocation. It is a fundamental human right.
People who signed up to this mission to #EndJewHatred marched against the one-sided and discriminatory Ethnic Studies Curriculum in California, we marched for Sarah Halimi, we marched in solidarity with Jews under rocket fire in Jerusalem, we marched with the Jews of Berlin. We demand an end to Jew-hatred, everywhere, from anyone, in this generation, – and we will not be silent until this vision is achieved.
I cannot tell you what to do.
But I can tell you what I will do: I will give up on Ben & Jerry’s and everything Unilever produces.
Because I am not a Jew-hater. Because I want a world where we are morally and intellectually honest: discriminating against Jews is just another form of antisemitism. And if you cannot see that, you are part of the problem.