The international campaign to end Ben & Jerry’s complicity in Israel’s occupation and illegal settlement regime continues to gain momentum. On Sept. 9, Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel released a letter to CEO Jostein Solheim signed by 151 civil society organizations (www.vtjp.org/icecream/internatletter.php). It calls on Ben & Jerry’s “to stand by its social mission and to ensure that its products are not sold, catered and distributed in Israeli settlements.”
The company’s social mission articulates a commitment to the welfare, security and dignity of all communities, local, national and international. It cannot be reconciled with an Israeli settlement project in Palestine that is, the letter asserts, “predicated on systematic repression, racial segregation, land dispossession, the unlawful expropriation of water, and pervasive violence against Palestinians.”
The letter has garnered support from across the country and the world. Groups in 28 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, plus those in eight countries (including Israel) and the West Bank, sent an unequivocal message to Ben & Jerry’s: “(C)onsistent with international law and Ben & Jerry’s social mission, we call on you to take all necessary contractual and legal measures to bring your franchise’s settlement business to an end in a verifiable way, and to release a public statement of your company’s commitment to end its business ties to Israel’s occupation and settlement enterprise.”
We urge Vermonters to contact Ben & Jerry’s and urge it to sever its Israeli franchise’s business ties to Jewish-only settlements in occupied Palestine.
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