Watchdog Complaint to IRS Accuses Chairwoman of Ben & Jerry’s Foundation of Self-Dealing - The Jewish Voice
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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Watchdog Complaint to IRS Accuses Chairwoman of Ben & Jerry’s Foundation of Self-Dealing

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As the controversy surrounding the decision of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to boycott sales in Judea, Samaria & East Jerusalem continues to evoke the ire of those who consider the company misguided and prejudiced, it has now been reported that the head of Ben & Jerry’s board of directors has been accused of self-dealing.

The New York Post reported that according to a watchdog complaint to the IRS, Anuradha Mittal, the chairwoman of the Ben & Jerry’s board of directors has been allocating more than $100,000 in cash from the company’s foundation to her own pro-Palestinian non-profit organization.

Having chaired the board of directors of Ben & Jerry’s since 2008, Mittal is also a vice president of the company’s non-profit foundation. The Post reported that according to IRS filings, between 2017 and 2018, the foundation distributed more than $100,000 to the Oakland Institute, a left-leaning think tank that studies land reform around the world. It also happens to be that Mittal is the executive director of the group and is the only salaried employee, according to the Post report.

According to Mittal’s bio, she was recruited to the ice cream company by Jeff Furman, who served on the Ben & Jerry’s board for nearly 40 years. Furman is now the president of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, as was reported by the Post.

The watchdog group that registered the self-dealing complaint to the IRS was prepared by the National Legal and Policy Center which is based in Virginia. According to a copy of the complaint, it states: “It is our contention that this is a possible violation of self-dealing as Mittal is considered a disqualified person under IRS rules.”

IRS filings reveal that Mittal was paid a salary of $156,000 in 2017 and 2018 and that she directed the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation to send $104,000 in the form of monetary grants to the Oakland Institute, based in California.

The Post also reported that according to IRS filings, part of the money that was sent to the Oakland Institute by the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation was used to finance the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights. The NGO, which has been at the center of controversy received $3000 from the Ben & Jerry’s foundation in 2017, according to tax filings.

It was also reported by the Post that the European Union had stopped payment of $2 million in funding from the Badil Resource Center after refusing to sign an “anti-terror” clause in its funding contract. According to the Post report, the clause stated that funds from the EU cannot be diverted to members of terrorist organizations, such as the military wings of Hamas and Hezbollah.

According to the 2017 annual report of the Oakland Institute titled, “Palestine: For Land and Life” which documented individual stories of alleged “marginalization and struggle,” the grant given by Ben & Jerry’s was used to finance  “a bold multimedia project on land rights to mark 50 years since the Six-Day War and Israel’s occupation.”

Having founded the Oakland Institute in 2004, Mittal has focused on land rights in developing countries, as was reported by the Post.

The Indian born Mittal was chief organizer of the Ben & Jerry’s boycott of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem where over 600,000 Jews live in 140 settlements, according to the Post report.



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