Today, in the wake of Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s decision to boycott Israel, elected officials, religious leaders, and community advocates held a protest to #EndJewHatred at Ben & Jerry’s, and to oppose illegal commercial boycotts against the Jewish people and the Jewish state, which are deeply rooted in anti-Semitism.
The #EndJewHatred coalition began their protest and call for a week of action against Ben & Jerry’s stores and properties around the world at the NY Public Library. The group is calling for a boycott of Ben & Jerry’s and complete State divestment from its parent company Unilever unless Unilever reverses its discriminatory decision.
As the protestors, activists and Jewish community leaders marched outside of the Ben and Jerry’s 200 West 44th Street location in Times Square, handing out free ice cream and educational materials about the hateful Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, the store closed several hours early hiding in shame.
“The recent decisions undertaken by Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever betray the insidious nature of the BDS movement,” said Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal. “Whether through negligent ignorance or willful action, the BDS movement is normalizing hate and antisemitism across our country. New York stands with the worldwide Jewish community in rejecting this rhetoric and calling on Ben & Jerry’s to reverse their position.”
“This unfortunate decision by Ben & Jerry’s, a wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever, is deeply troubling and fans the flames of antisemitism,” said Assemblymember Simcha Eichenstein. “The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is all about hate, plain and simple. I stand with my fellow elected officials and community members in denouncing Ben & Jerry’s ill-advised and hostile decision. We demand that Ben & Jerry’s reverse this antisemitic policy immediately.”
Said Club Z Founder and Executive Director Masha Merkulova, and #EndJewHatred co-founder and activist, “When Ben & Jerry’s board decided to boycott Israel, Jews around the world immediately understood the long history of antisemitism that went into it. Let’s be clear: we reject the premise that Jews are anything other than the indigenous people who are now living in their ancestral homeland. Unilever’s racist decision will have negative repercussions for both the Jews and Muslims who work side by side, and whose livelihoods depend on the stable employment that Ben & Jerry’s Israel provides. This half-baked decision should be reversed immediately. Club Z proudly stands up to mobilize our youth against hate and the normalization of the Jew-hater movement known as the BDS movement.”
Said The Lawfare Project Executive Director Brooke Goldstein, and #EndJewHatred co-founder and activist, “It’s so encouraging to see the Jewish community and our allies unified around a single demand, to end Jew-hatred at Ben & Jerry’s, and in corporations generally. There is no place for racism and bigotry, especially by major corporations like Unilever, in the 21st century. Ben & Jerry’s fateful decision to engage in a commercial boycott of Jewish people and Jewish-owned businesses, is already proving to have major social and legal consequences. The movement to sever the Jewish connection to the land of Israel is a hateful campaign of modern-day colonialism, cultural genocide and indigenous erasure.”
Said Avi Kaner, Co-Owner of Morton Williams, “Ben & Jerry’s has shamefully decided that little Jewish children in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem are not allowed to have ice cream. This follows an extremist pattern which has also included support for defunding the police. We stand alongside all the courageous organizations, activists, and elected officials at today’s rally in calling for an end to Ben & Jerry’s hateful and racist policies.”