Not just ice cream

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MASSIVE PROGRESS! Ben & Jerry’s announced it will stop selling ice cream in the Occupied Palestinian Territory thanks to pressure from SumOfUs members like you.

SumOfUs had been in contact with Ben & Jerry’s since 50,000 SumOfUs members like you called on the corporation to take a stand against 70 years of on-going apartheid, colonization, and daily violation of human rights of Palestinian by Israeli forces. We know our community made a huge difference in getting Ben & Jerry’s historic announcement -- multiple sources within the company said your voices had an impact on this announcement finally being made.

Make no mistake about it, this is not just about ice cream -- the day after the announcement, the Prime Minister of Israel said Ben & Jerry's decision will have “severe consequences”. His government then sent a classified cable to its missions and embassies calling on its envoys to ramp up pressure on Ben & Jerry’s.

Ben & Jerry’s knew this aggressive reaction was coming when it made this announcement. But after Israeli Forces murdered 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, in the latest attacks in May -- Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors and staff took concrete action in support of Palestinian justice.

SumOfUs... members like you were also instrumental in getting Airbnb to delist from the Occupied Palestinian Territory. That was, until Airbnb succumbed to the pressure from right-wing Israeli forces and reversed its monumental decision. We learned from that experience that we need to have the back of companies who dare to challenge the Israeli state. That is why we are calling on you to send a message of support for Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors and staff who took this heroic stand for Palestinian rights in line with international law.

Ben & Jerry’s board of directors and staff: Thank you for your decision to stop selling ice cream in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Ben & Jerry’s would not have made their historic announcement if Palestine solidarity groups such as Vermonters for Justice in Palestine had not been campaigning on this for over a decade. And the price these groups have paid is facing vile hate on a day-to-day basis.

Since the announcement, the racist bullying has intensified, with the main target switched to Ben & Jerry’s Chair of the Board who led the company to make its announcement.

To add to the pain, Unilever, the multinational corporation who bought Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, went behind the Board’s back. The acquisition contract for Ben & Jerry’s said that its Board of Directors would be independent over the company's social mission, brand integrity, and policies. Yet Unilever, which has been hands-off in the last two decades on the Board’s decisions, succumbed to the pressure of nationalists, and is trying to get Ben & Jerry’s to stay in Israel.

Ben & Jerry’s decision is a massive step forward, but this campaign isn’t over yet. Officially, Ben & Jerry’s announced that it will leave the Occupied Palestinian Territory when its contract with its Israeli licensee runs out in 15 months. We also know that Ben & Jerry’s intention is for the company to leave Israel entirely at the end of 2022. But until then, Ben & Jerry’s will be up against right-wing Israeli nationalists who will use everything in their power to stop the company from leaving Israel.

Send a message of support to Ben & Jerry’s Board of Directors and staff for their heroic stand for Palestinian rights.

Right-wing nationalists have had such fever-pitched responses to Ben & Jerry’s decision because after Israel’s latest massacre, corporations are now joining millions of people around the world in the fight for Palestinian rights. The nationalists know that the corporate movement to exit apartheid South Africa in the 80s could happen to the apartheid regime in Israel today if more companies join Ben & Jerry’s.

And we know other corporations are considering exiting Palestine -- we’ve been busy meeting with other high-level executives to discuss their company’s plans to join Ben & Jerry’s.

SumOfUs has been working hard to build a movement of corporations to take a stand for Palestinian rights and stop the violation of international law, and Ben & Jerry’s decision is a pivotal moment in this ongoing global campaign. So for now, let’s celebrate Ben & Jerry’s decision to follow through with its decision to exit the Occupied Palestinian Territory and eventually the whole of Israel.

Thanks for all that you do,
Angus, Ibrahim, and the team at SumOfUs

More information:

Ben & Jerry's withdraws sales from Israeli settlements but clashes with parent company Unilever, NBC News, July 19th, 2021

What the Ben & Jerry’s Decision Reveals About Israel, The Atlantic, July 23rd, 2021

We’re Ben and Jerry. Men of Ice Cream, Men of Principle, New York Times, July 28th, 2021

SumOfUs is a community of people from around the world committed to curbing the growing power of corporations. We want to buy from, work for and invest in companies that respect the environment, treat their workers well and respect democracy. And we’re not afraid to stand up to them when they don’t.

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