Petitioners Accuse Ben & Jerry’s of Occupation Double Standard

By Hamodia Staff

The Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury Village Historic District, Vermont.

YERUSHALAYIM – The Ben & Jerry’s ice cream maker, which is trying close operations in Yehuda and Shomron because of Israel allegedly “occupying Palestinian territory,” has now come under attack as an occupier of other people’s lands itself.

A group of 1,000 Israeli students and academics sent the company a letter accusing it of “occupying” lands belonging to Native American tribes, according to a report in the New York Post on Tuesday.

The letter, supported by Shurat HaDin — Israel Law Center, alleged that Ben & Jerry’s Vermont factory stands on land belonging to the Abenaki people, which existed in present-day Vermont since long before Europeans arrived, according to the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs.

“We have concluded that your company’s occupation of the Abenaki lands is illegal and we believe it is wholly inconsistent with the stated values that Ben & Jerry’s purports to maintain,” the letter to chairperson Anuradha Mittal said.

“Ironically, in July of the last year you announced that you would discontinue the sale of your products in Israel because you object to the Jewish State allegedly occupying Palestinian territories.”

The letter concluded with a rebuke that “justice, morality and boycotts are not just slogans and antisemitic weapons for your food company to point at the Jewish community in Israel. Justice and morality must begin at home.”

The letter was organized by Students for Justice in America, a group founded to oppose the Students for Justice in Palestine group, who are major supporters of the BDS movement.

According to the New York Post, Shurat HaDin president Nitsana Darshan Leitner accused Ben & Jerry’s of speaking “with a forked tongue,” calling out the company’s hypocrisy in advocating a boycott of the West Bank and East Jerusalem while the company itself sits on occupied land.

Last year, Ben & Jerry’s announced a boycott of “occupied Palestinian territory.” The decision sparked massive financial blowback for Unilever, as US states enacted anti-BDS divestment laws, pulling hundreds of millions of dollars in investments from the conglomerate.

Ben & Jerry’s Israel and its parent company Unilever struck a deal earlier this year that would see branding rights fall to Israel’s Ben & Jerry’s franchise, disconnecting it from the global brand.

However, the US branch of Ben & Jerry’s has launched a lawsuit in an attempt to block the deal, claiming it would represent a threat to their branding. The judge has not yet ruled on the injunction.

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