Could it be that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement – which targets the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza – has finally found Israel’s soft spot?
The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, known as the BDS movement, began in 2005. That’s when 170 Palestinian civil society organizations called for an economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel for its violation of international law and Palestinian rights, as well as its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
The movement, which soon included a loose network of activists based all around the world, also urged companies, universities and others to divest from Israel and countries to sanction it…
But despite the lack of substantive economic or diplomatic impact, I believe it would be a mistake to label the BDS movement as a failure. Rather, Ben & Jerry’s decision hints at a watershed moment in the BDS campaign.
The company, founded by Jewish friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 1978, has long embraced a liberal social mission – which it frequently expresses through its ice cream flavors…In its statement announcing the shift, Ben & Jerry’s said selling ice cream in the West Bank and Gaza “is inconsistent with our values.”
While I don’t doubt the company’s values were behind the decision, I also believe something else was at work: Israel is losing the battle for public opinion.
Putting your vanilla where your heart is ain’t an easy step for anyone part of America’s corporate ethos. Kudos to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield for having the courage of their convictions. Anti-colonial struggles often rely on backdoor donors willing to chip in to support Freedom Movements…”But, please don’t use my name!”
Ben and Jerry have backbone. Think I’ll get a pint of Chocolate Fudge Brownie in this weekend’s grocery shopping.