Top German Foundation Dedicated to Fighting Neo-Nazis Condemns Ben & Jerry’s ‘Antisemitic’ West Bank Boycott
A leading liberal German foundation dedicated to fighting far-right agitation against immigrants has forcefully condemned ice cream manufacturers Ben & Jerry’s for their “antisemitic” boycott of Israeli communities in the West Bank.
In an open letter to the company’s board published on Wednesday, the Amadeu Antonio Stiftung decried the move. “We cannot comprehend the decision to boycott Israel in this way,” the letter stated. “We are especially disappointed that the company is following the line of the antisemitic BDS boycott movement.”
Established in 1998, the foundation is named in honor of Amadeu Antonio Kiowa, an Angolan contract worker who was brutally beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs in the town of Eberswalde in November 1990. Two Mozambicans who were with Kiowa that night were stabbed multiple times, but survived with serious injuries. Kiowa, however, was left in a coma. He passed away 11 days later.
The foundation’s letter to Ben & Jerry’s argued that the boycott would do little to advance the rights of Palestinians.
“A boycott … neither advances the peace process, nor does it make life easier for Palestinians. On the contrary, it deepens tensions and aggression and further hardens the fronts,” it argued. “The boycott of your products — in the West Bank, of all places — shows how little thought is really given to the Arab population. Palestinians, of all people, can no longer buy your ice cream. What’s the point? What use is that to them? What do you wish to achieve with this?”
The foundation also expressed dismay that the decision in favor of a boycott was taken amid a climate of rising antisemitism globally.
“For years now, antisemitism has again been displayed more openly. It’s becoming increasingly aggressive, and disparate groups are uniting over their common denominator: a hatred of Jews,” the letter asserted. “It’s not only the far right: antisemitism also comes from the middle of society, from radical Islamic circles and from so-called critics of Israel on the left.”
The letter pledged not to “let the fight against antisemitism be separated from the fight against other oppressive ideologies! We stand by our condemnation of boycott movements like BDS as antisemitic movements.”