In 2011, Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel began a discussion with Ben & Jerry’s in South Burlington, Vermont, concerning their long-standing contractual relationship with an Israeli franchise that manufactures ice cream in Israel proper and sells it in Israel settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
These settlements – fortified colonies for Jews only – contravene international law. Ben & Jerry’s knows this. It knows, too, that the company’s Social Mission and history of supporting progressive causes cannot be reconciled with its franchise’s commercial ties to the settlements.
Despite what it knows and the values that define its corporate identity, Ben & Jerry’s refuses to stop its Israeli franchise from making money in the settlements.
The decision to call for a boycott
VTJP’s thinking reached a tipping point during Israel’s massive military assault against Gaza in the summer of 2014, the third in less than six years. 2,200 Palestinians were killed and more than 11,000 wounded. The casualties were overwhelmingly civilians.
Because Gaza’s morgues could not handle the horrific carnage, bodies of dead children and babies had to be stacked temporarily in ice cream freezers prior to burial.
While this massacre of innocents was being carried out, Ben & Jerry’s “peace & love” ice cream was passing through Israeli checkpoints, being transported on Jewish-only roads, and being sold to supermarkets and at catered events in those Jewish-only settlements.