Why We Will No Longer Sell Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream at Our Stores
Ben & Jerry’s has publicly announced a new ice cream flavor “celebrating activists who are continuing to resist oppression, harmful environmental practices and injustice.” Financial grants were also provided to four organizations that Ben & Jerry’s felt represented social activism. I was horrified to learn that one of the organizations receiving the grant was the 2017 Women’s March, which was partially founded by Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory — both vocal and virulent antisemites.
Sarsour presents herself as a “proud anti-Israel activist,” and promotes and champions a boycott of Israel. At the Islamic Society of North America convention this past September, Sarsour also called for people to stop humanizing Israelis. Sarsour’s co-chair, Mallory, is also an antisemite, and a vocal supporter of Louis Farrakhan, the virulently antisemitic Nation of Islam leader. On Instagram, Mallory posed alongside Farrakhan, calling him the “GOAT,” which means “Greatest of All Time.”
In the wake of the largest antisemitic attack in the history of our country in Pittsburgh, I was shocked that Ben & Jerry’s — founded by two individuals who identify as Jewish — would make a grant to people like Sarsour and Mallory.
In response, I threw out the Ben & Jerry’s in my freezer, and emailed the ice cream supplier that services the eight stores that we own in the greater Los Angeles area. I asked them to remove all Ben & Jerry’s products. I also copied a contact at Ben & Jerry’s that I found on the internet, and told them that I decided to no longer carry their ice cream. I received an email back with a press release about the grants, which stated that the goal of the Women’s March was to create change that empowers women and builds an inclusive society based on dignity and respect.
I eventually scheduled a call with a Ben & Jerry’s marketing executive, Christopher Miller, and two other staff members at the company. Miller was committed to the company’s support of both Mallory and Sarsour, and the Women’s March. But — contrary to what Ben & Jerry’s says — these women are not interested in tolerance, dignity, or respect. If these are spokespeople for America, we all need to be concerned.
I shared with the representatives that Sarsour has repeatedly told the world that you can’t be a feminist and a Zionist, that she has openly attacked Israel and Jews, and that she suggested cutting the genitalia of certain women. This July, Sarsour also publicly wished, “Happy Birthday to Assata Shakur” (AKA Joanne Chesimard), who remains on the FBI’s most wanted list. Mallory has also publicly praised Fidel Castro, the former president of Cuba — and one of the worst human right’s violators in history.
I was then told by Miller that Unilever — which owns Ben & Jerry’s — was the real victim. Miller said that they sold products to Israel in the face of BDS threats and retaliation. The company’s representatives actually stated that they still sold products in the “occupied territories.”
I ended my call even more disappointed. Corporate representatives from a product that I sold and served at home were informing me about their struggles and sacrifices specific to a relationship with Israel. We need to make it known to the world that providing grants to individuals who openly refer to Jews and Israel in dehumanizing words will not be tolerated or accepted.