Opinion | The Cheap & Easy Sanctimony of Ben & Jerry
The decision also called attention to the fact, unmentioned by Cohen and Greenfield, that the supposedly independent Ben & Jerry’s board that exists to handle its social mission was in no hurry to bless Unilever’s pledge to keep doing business in Israel.
On the contrary: the Ben & Jerry’s board chair, Anuradha Mittal, is publicly furious with Unilever. NBC News reported that her board tried to put out a different statement “that made no reference to continued sales in Israel,” but that “Unilever released the statement against the wishes of the board.”
As for Unilever, it will be hard-pressed to honor its promise to stay in Israel while keeping out of the West Bank, since Israeli law forbids companies from operating that way. It will also have to seek approval from the ticked-off Ben & Jerry’s board for a new Israeli licensee once the current contract expires next year.
So much for Cohen and Greenfield bravely honoring the principle to distinguish between the West Bank and Israel. What we really have is a feckless political gesture, a corporate fiasco, a de facto boycott of the Jewish state, an enraged Israeli government, and a handful of customers who won’t get their Chunky Monkey cravings satisfied. Just how any of this translates into peace or justice, much less ending “the occupation,” is anyone’s guess.
In his book, Ramaswamy asks, “How did we come to this farcical point where your politics chooses your sandwiches”— or ice cream? “I’m tempted to say that nothing is sacred anymore, but America’s problem is actually the opposite: Nothing is allowed to be ordinary anymore.”
To have to write a whole column about the Ben & Jerry’s founders’ personal political views shouldn’t be necessary. Too bad their sanctimonious, inept, and dishonest attempt at foreign policy makes it so.
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