The groundswell for Palestinian freedom has reached new levels. It’s only a matter of time before other companies take Ben & Jerry’s lead
On 19 July, Ben & Jerry’s, the celebrated ice cream company based in Vermont, where I live, set off a firestorm after it announced it would no longer allow its ice cream to be sold in Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and would not renew its licensing agreement with its franchise in Israel beyond next year. The company said that continuing to sell ice cream in the occupied Palestinian territory would be “inconsistent” with its values.
I spent the last decade organizing with fellow activists in Vermont to convince Ben & Jerry’s to end its business in Israel’s settlements. The company’s statement, therefore, was a welcome step towards a more just world. But this principled decision was met with a barrage of baseless accusations of antisemitism from Israeli leaders, along with threats to punish the company using anti-BDS laws that crack down on Americans’ constitutionally protected right to boycott.
Israel is demanding that our elected officials trample our first amendment rights and coerce a private American company to conduct business in a manner exclusively on terms pleasing to Israel’s government and settlers, no matter what that government or its settlers do to Palestinians. This is as outrageous as it sounds.Continue reading...