Kosher markets in the Washington area have stopped selling Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, after the company, owned by Unilever, announced Monday that it plans to stop selling its products in what it called “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
Shalom Kosher in Silver Spring said in an email on Tuesday that it was pulling all Ben & Jerry’s products from its freezers.
“We stand with Israel,” the email said.
“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the Ben & Jerry’s announcement read.
The statement said the company would not renew the contract with its distributor in Israel after it expires at the end of next year.
The distributor, Avi Zinger, CEO of Ben & Jerry’s in Israel, said he would not follow the order to stop distributing ice cream to the Jewish settlements, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Moti’s Market in Rockville’s entire inventory of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream melted after a freezer stopped working last weekend, according to owners Tracy Yitzhaky and Gideon Sasson.
“Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Products are not on the shelves at Moti’s Market,” they wrote in a statement. “They actually all melted when the freezer that houses that product ONLY went down over Shabbat. On Monday morning when we learned of Ben and Jerry’s statement, we elected not to replace our inventory for a host of reasons.
“On a personal level, owners Gideon Sasson and Tracy Yitzhaky wholeheartedly disagree with Ben and Jerry’s actions. On a business level, we listen to our clients, our community leaders, and our spiritual leaders for their insight and guidance. Politics is complicated, but our concern and love for Israel is unwavering.”
It is a shame that our local kosher supermarkets are entering the Jewish culture wars. It is divisive and unnecessary. I will not give either of them my business until they make a public statement changing their minds about this decision. Israel is on a road toward perpetual conflict, or worse, crossing the threshold into becoming an apartheid state, as it annexes chunks of the territories toward a point of no return. Ben and Jerry’s is making a statement the majority of American Jewry supports. This is not BDS, it is a comment on the disastrous path the settlements project represents.