The Jerusalem Post
Ben and Jerry’s came late to the ice cream party
The “Independent Board” of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream has announced they are planning to boycott the 800,000 Jews who live in Judea and Samaria, a region where approximately 140 Jewish communities now exist. The Jewish world is abuzz and inflamed over the pure antisemitism manifested by the recent announcement. For example, Ben and Jerry’s sells in China and in other grievously torturous societies throughout the globe. Only Israel is marked for their hate and boycott.
The response in the Jewish world has been furious and rapid. Jewish food markets on America’s East Coast have removed the company’s products from their freezers, and at least one modest general-purpose supermarket chain also has taken action, reducing their stock of Ben and Jerry’s products by 70%. Thousands have signed petitions to boycott Ben and Jerry’s, and legal action now is afoot in several American states to take further enforcement action against the company for engaging in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement campaign that is illegal throughout much of America.
But, amid all the fury and intensity, it also is important for Israel’s supporters to take a breath and contemplate the good news. Ben and Jerry’s arrived late to this ice cream party. Israel not only is here to stay, but the Jews of Judea and Samaria also are there to stay. Jews will not be leaving east Jerusalem under the pressure of being denied Chunky Monkey. After a worse-than rocky road of 2,000 years exile, Jews have returned to the land of the patriarchs and matriarchs to stay. If that company’s woke “Independent Board” imagines they will impact the destiny and future growth of 800,000 Jews, their thinking not only is half-baked, but totally unbaked.
Israel is under attack in woke circles of the West, defamed and libeled as an “apartheid” country, even as an all-Arab party, loosely associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, now is part of the nation’s governing coalition. While Ben and Jerry’s thinks it will “change the whirled,” the reality now is that the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan all have arrived at the table. Some boycott.
BDS has been an annoyance, to be sure. There was the woke women’s college that announced it would boycott Sabra hummus, a company founded in Astoria, Queens, with manufacturing plants in Richmond, Virginia, and Oceanside, California, and with an eight-person executive committee that includes Paula Fitzgerald, Colleen Flaherty, Cherie Floyd, Joe Johnston and Thilo Wrede. Somehow, Israel survived that one. And the students called off the boycott when they needed quick nourishing ready-to-eat foods during final exams season. In the end, all they were saying is give chickpeas a chance.
And then there have been the various BDS votes taken by student councils, like those at Barnard College and at the University of California at Irvine, where the university administrations announced hours later that no boycotts would be honored, no stock shares would be divested and no sanctions would be imposed. Just as Jews investing in the Dutch West Indies Company helped nullify New Amsterdam governor Peter Stuyvesant’s antisemitic efforts to expel Jews from his colony more than three centuries ago, the presence of Jews among American university alumni, major donors and even on their boards of directors is not inconsequential.
For example, thousands of Jews and others petitioned the administration of Barnard College, the women’s undergraduate body of Columbia University, immediately when ignorant woke antisemites on that student council voted for BDS. I graduated from Columbia University, and my inbox was jammed the very next day with appeals from old friends and classmates to sign that petition. Same happened when UCLA woke students voted to harm Israel. I earned my law degree at UCLA Law School, where I was chief articles editor of the UCLA Law Review, and there was my inbox filled again with old friends reconnecting: “Dov, you have to sign this petition.” My response: “OH, OK, if you insist.” More recently, when the wretched refuse of Jew-haters on UCI’s student council voted for BDS, it was my turn as a law professor there to share my views.
To be sure, BDS is unwelcome. However, the woke Left’s dream of churning into Israel into a pariah like apartheid South Africa is destined for the trash heap. The time for Jew-haters
to have BDS’d Israel was in 1897 when Theodor Herzl proposed a Jewish state, or perhaps in 1947 before the country was born. Today Israel is BDS-proof. Pause and look at the numbers since BDS first was launched by antisemites 20 years ago:
Israeli hi-tech companies raised $10.5 billion in the first five months of 2021, exceeding their totals in all of 2020. The year before, Israeli hi-tech raised $10b., primarily from foreign investors, too. In all, nearly $25b. was invested in Israel last year. Israel exported approximately $130b. in goods in 2020. The UAE will be investing $10b. in Israel as part of the Abraham Accords. China is spending more than $3b. building a port in Haifa. Egypt and Jordan are paying Israel billions annually now for natural gas. Israel has grown to be the world’s eighth largest arms supplier. For the first time, Israel now ranks among the top 20 countries in the world by GDP per capita. Since BDS began, more than $100b. has been invested in Israel’s hi-tech sector alone. Israel may be losing some Cherry Garcia chocolate chips, but Intel just invested $2b. two years ago to buy Israeli start-up Habana Labs, a Caesarea-based chip maker. Even the Roman Catholic Church, which was among the last to recognize Israel’s existence as a country among nations, gave the green light two years ago for the Vatican to invest in Israel.
As a kosher consumer, I have lived a lifetime without experiencing fried calamari, shrimp, bacon and pork and ham and lobster. My understanding from my universe of non-Jewish friends is that I accordingly have not tasted some delightful flavors and textures. So be it. As Hebrew National used to advertise, I answer to a Higher Authority. I won’t miss the antisemints (sic) at Ben and Jerry’s one bit. And that is my punch line.
The writer is a law professor and senior rabbinic fellow at the Coalition for Jewish Values, contributing editor at The American Spectator
and a congregational rabbi. His book, General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine,