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Date: July 26, 2021
Contact: Sarah Stern
(202) 601-7422

Ben and Jerry’s, an ice cream company that prides itself on its “woke,” progressive politics announced last week that it intends on cancelling its distribution and sale in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, or the West Bank.

This comes after 11 days of the terrorist group, Hamas, raining rockets down on Israeli cities and residential communities and Israel’s highly successful attempt to protect its civilian population, while attempting to avoid collateral damage within Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Hamas cynically places its military production facilities and its operational bases near civilian areas.  It should be made clear that an element of Hamas’ strategy has always been to use “human shields,” to intentionally maximize civilian deaths of their own population in order to demonize Israel with the claim of “disproportionality.”

Israel has gone out of its way to avoid the loss of civilian life. In fact, even according to Mathius Schmale, the Director of UNRWA’s mission in Gaza (an organization not known for its profound love of Israel), Israel’s airstrikes were “very precise,” and they “didn’t hit, with some exceptions, civilian targets.” This was a statement for which he had to resign from his position and quickly get out of Gaza for fear of his life.

According to Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, every nation has the responsibility to protect its civilian population. We know that if a terrorist group rained rockets on the United States from Canada or Mexico, we would not hesitate to respond in a manner similar, if not more aggressive, as Israel did.

Yet, according to the progressive agenda, what Israel did was considered “disproportionate.”

This reeks of a duplicitous double standard used to judge Israel, which would never be used against any other nation. It is meant to demonize and delegitimize the state of Israel. This is what lies at the very core of anti-Semitism.

Ben and Jerry’s is a wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever, who, despite the rather anodyne comments of CEO Alan Jope, both the parent company and subsidiary are open to legal action because of laws already on our books.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Anti-Boycott compliance, within the Bureau of Industry Compliance, Part II of the Export Control Reform Act of 2018, as well as certain anti-boycott provisions set forth in part 760 of the Export Administration Regulations, “These authorities discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from taking certain actions in furtherance or support of a boycott maintained by a foreign country against a country friendly to the United States (unsanctioned foreign boycott).”

As they write on their own website, “The anti-boycott provisions of the EAR encourage, and in specific cases, require US persons to refuse to participate in unsanctioned foreign boycotts. They have the effect of preventing U.S. persons from advancing foreign policies of other nations that run counter to U.S. policy.”

It is vital that your representatives and senator understand that what Ben and Jerry’s is doing, and what its parent company, Unilever, is feebly trying to distance itself from, is a violation of  federal US Anti-Boycott Act.

Unfortunately, Palestinian Legal has made this into a First Amendment issue. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech or the ability to express one’s ideas. This has everything to do with the discriminatory boycott of a product to one designated place on the globe, the state of Israel.

There also have been 33 states that have signed their own anti-BDS laws. If your state is one of them, please call your Governor’s office, thank them for doing so, and politely inform them that now is the time to begin legal proceedings. If they have not, please call your Governor and politely insist that they sign state anti-BDS legislation. For a list of which states have signed the anti-BDS laws and your Governor’s phone number, please contact us at EMET at (202) 601-7422.

And on the federal level, it is time that every member of Congress understands that this is not a free speech issue, but a boycott of a product against one specific country. Please call your member of Congress at (202) 224-3121 and let them know that what Ben and Jerry’s and Unilever are attempting to do may be in violation of US law and that immediate action, including a thorough investigation of the origin’s of this boycott and any Palestinian influence and/or involvement in the policy, is called for to eradicate this mission of hate towards Israel and the Jewish people.

About the Author

The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) is a Washington, D.C. based think tank and policy center with an unabashedly pro-America and pro-Israel stance. EMET (which means truth in Hebrew) prides itself on challenging the falsehoods and misrepresentations that abound in U.S. Middle East policy.

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