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Ben & Jerry Speak: ‘We’re Proud’ Of Company’s West Bank Boycott

Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s say they are “proud” of the company they founded in 1978 sold to Unilever in 2000, and “believe it is on the right side of history” in deciding to stop selling its products in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

In a guest essay in the New York Times published on Wednesday, Cohen and Greenfield, who no longer have any operational control of the company, said that it is “possible to support Israel and oppose some of its policies.”

“The company’s stated decision to more fully align its operations with its values is not a rejection of Israel. It is a rejection of Israeli policy, which perpetuates an illegal occupation that is a barrier to peace and violates the basic human rights of the Palestinian people who live under the occupation. As Jewish supporters of the State of Israel, we fundamentally reject the notion that it is anti-Semitic to question the policies of the State of Israel,” they wrote.

The men noted that in the acquisition agreement they signed with multinational corporation Unilever the company retained an independent board of directors “with a responsibility to protect the company’s essential brand integrity and to pursue its social mission.” This structure, they said, “is the magic behind both Ben & Jerry’s continued independence and its success.”