Boycotting Israel makes for a lousy ice cream flavor

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Vermont ice cream entrepreneurs Ben Cohen, left, and Jerry Greenfield pose for photos in Burlington, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

Rabbi Aryeh Spero

I and millions of Jews worldwide are disgusted by the hypocrisy, cowardice, and anti-Semitism displayed Monday by the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream company refusing to sell or produce its ice cream in the Jewish sections of Jerusalem and Jewish neighborhoods in the biblical regions of Judea and Samaria, totaling 18% of Israel’s Jewish population.

Ben and Jerry’s has now become a leader of the boycott and disinvestment campaign against Israel, though Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and the only country in that entire region focused on preserving human rights and dignity.  Singling out the Jewish people or the Jewish nation for boycott and disinvestment is blatant anti-Semitism and not social justice.  We have no doubt that the world’s boycotters will soon be demanding the boycott of all Israel, as is already being done under the disingenuous discoveries of yet another concocted “civil rights infraction” routinely ignored when observing other countries.

What can be more hypocritical than a company such as Ben and Jerry’s producing and distributing its product in dozens of countries where there is no democracy, where people are killed because of their Jewish or Christian faith, and people oppressed because of their differences, yet boycotting Israel due to a political matter, one that Israel consistently tries to resolve but is rebuffed by an Islamic hierarchy unsatisfied unless the Jewish state is dissolved and its citizens canceled and impaired.

Ben and Jerry’s sells in countless Muslim countries, where Jews and Christians are consigned to second-class and inferior status, prohibited from settlement and worship.  Many of these governments actually murder and rape Christians in the name of Islamic nationalism, the ummah.  They also produce and sell in communist countries where human rights are violated daily.

Ben and Jerry’s punishment and ostracizing of Jews living in areas the Muslim world considers off-limits to Jews is an acquiescence to the infamous anti-Jewish edict called judenrein — namely, that an area be formally free of Jews.  Is that Ben and Jerry’s idea of social justice?

Ben and Jerry’s act of hypocrisy and willful assault against Israel is a capitulation to Hamas and to the “woke” world, which is becoming more anti-Jewish by the day.  The “social justice” and socialism of which today’s left-wingers are proud seem to abhor Judeo-Christian countries while being comfortable with Islamic, communist, and left-wing authoritarian rulership.  Ben and Jerry’s announcement will go down as a day of infamy in the food industry.

But even worse is how Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, founders of Ben and Jerry’s and presently influential over the social and political causes the ice cream company endorses and sponsors, are emblematic of so many secular Jews who end up undermining Israel and vital Jewish needs.  Seeing in Judaism nothing but Marxist-type social justice, they begin minimizing uniquely Jewish needs; later show indifference to Jewish pain; and finally identify with causes harmful to Israel and the Jewish people, even to the point of supporting those who wish to destroy Israel or the Jewish people.  They especially bond with those attackers as part of the social or political left.  Leftism is their religion now, and those in its cause are their new brothers and sisters.  They, in their minds, are simply “better and more enlightened” than those from the “old neighborhood” who have not grown into universalism.  They are holier than thou.

When something distinct, like Judaism, becomes meaningless to a person, he often replaces it with a universalism that prioritizes a myriad of causes over the needs of the people to which he was born.  Ben and Jerry, like Ken Roth and even Randi Weingarten, are examples of people using “Jewishness” to condemn and delegitimize Israel and the Jewish people itself.  Most often those who dismiss Jewish survival and hyper-criticize Israel do so against America as well.

Quite often, they, like Lenin, are protected and insulated Marxists with a life of economic luxury who inhere a Marxist über alles attitude.  They worship a god different from what most of us worship and display the virtue-signaling and self-righteousness reflective of a lack of noble character.  They claim to be grand humanitarians when, in fact, they are selfish and so self-obsessed that they care not about those they are destroying.  We have too often throughout Jewish history seen these enemies from within.  May this evil melt like ice cream in the sun.

Rabbi Aryeh Spero is president of the Conference of Jewish Affairs and author of Push Back: The Battle to Save America’s Judeo-Christian Heritage.