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August 8, 2021 6:26 am
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An Open Letter to the Board of Directors of Ben & Jerry’s

avatar by Alan Baker / JNS.org

Opinion

A refrigerator bearing the Ben & Jerry’s logo is seen at a food store in the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the West Bank July 20, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

JNS.org – Dear board members,

In today’s ruthless global business environment, your company’s accentuation of social justice causes is impressive. However, your product and branding have now been tainted. The taste of your product becomes sour, its brand integrity flawed and its quality polluted.

To claim that your company and its founders are based on principle and integrity is regrettably misleading. Your decision to end business in “Occupied Palestinian Territory” is based on what you perceive to be the notion that Israel’s presence in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem is one that “a majority of the international community, including the United Nations, deems to be an illegal occupation.” But this premise is patently inaccurate and misleading, since it relies on non-obligatory UN General Assembly resolutions adopted by an automatic and political majority that cannot claim to determine the legality or illegality of Israel’s presence in the territory.

Your decision ignores the legally acknowledged fact that Israel and the Palestinians themselves have agreed, in the internationally sanctioned Oslo Accords, to divide the governance of the territories between them, pending completion of their mutual negotiation on the permanent status of the territories. Your determination that the territories are “illegally occupied” and “Palestinian” is simply wrong, and presumes to prejudge the outcome of the agreed-upon negotiation process and predetermine their legal status. As such, your reasoning for ending business in these areas is based on a false premise and runs counter to the Palestinians’ own wishes and legal obligations in the Oslo Accords.

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