Ben & Jerry’s has a problem, much greater than whether or not they should sell ice cream in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). It’s a brand identity crisis that impacts the entire ice cream eating world: They’ve invented so many silly flavors containing cake, candy and cobbler that an old timer can’t find the “good flavors” anymore. Sure I like chocolate as much as the next guy, but the Triple Fudge Chunk Chocolate Cheesecake Chocolate Cobbler is too much. Unilever, which bought B&J’s in 2013, has invested so much in these silly concoctions that stores no longer have shelf space for the “good flavors” like Chunky Monkey, Pistachio and Banana Split.
So I propose the Great Ice Cream Compromise: Send all the silly, cartoon flavors to the settler communities, but not the good flavors. Keep those for the American markets. Hey, I know this makes me sound like an ugly American, but I’ve seen much uglier. MAKE them eat cake whether they want to or not. Maybe by withholding the good flavors from the occupied territories, those guys and gals will have epiphanies to recognize that if they have a right to Chunky Monkey, then Palestinians have the right to not have their olive and orange groves destroyed, not have their water pirated for settlements, the right to not have their schools closed down, the right to come and go freely between the territories and Israel-proper and self-determination. Maybe.
I propose the Great Ice Cream Compromise: Send all the silly, cartoon flavors to the settler communities, but not the good flavors. Keep those for the American markets.
Don’t tell me I’m mixing apples and oranges here. None of those ingredients are in any B&J flavors. We’re talking Pistachio ice cream and self-determination. If everyone in the world had the good flavors and self-determination, the world would be a better place, don’t ‘cha think? I’m pretty sure we can unite the world around ice cream, IF the American distributors can keep the good flavors in stock. So what’s it gonna’ take to achieve lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
- Ben & Jerry’s needs to stop making some of those silly confectionary concoctions, and get back to the basics. I’m not talking chocolate, vanilla and strawberry mind you, but those creative combinations that made them famous.
- Anyone in Israel, the US or elsewhere who supported Bibi, Sharon, Begin and other right-wing Jewish monsters doesn’t get the good flavors. I know that’s harsh, but so is having your home and farm seized for a new settlement. No Pistachio or Banana Split for YOU.
What’s interesting is that B&J’s was threatened with a boycott from the crunchy-granola eating, leftist Jews in Vermont when they sold in the OPT market. Recently that prompted big, bad Unilever to embargo sales to the OPT’s. Reflexively, right-wing Jews are now fomenting their own boycott. What’s hilarious is how right-wing settler community leaders accuse socially conscious American Jews of being “anti-Semitic.”
One settler leader said, “We will not succumb to the anti-Semitism that has permeated American Jews . . .” Oh please, I thought I put that “self-hating Jew” campaign to rest when I re-possessed that silly tag, and turned it back on the Jewish right-wingers when I said, ““For decades now, any Jewish person who dared criticize a single aspect of Israeli policy was maliciously labeled a “self-hating Jew,” or “self-hater” in parlance. One Jewish woman expressed her dismissive disdain for Hillary because she “is surrounded by self-haters.” The disgraced chess champion Bobby Fischer is the only real self-hating Jew that I ever knew of, but I’ve been called that many times for arguing things that got Ehud Barak elected as Prime Minister of Israel.”
Israeli politicians and settler leaders have argued that American states have enacted anti-BDS laws (Boycott-Divest-Sanction), which should be employed to punish Unilever-B&J’s for deciding how to run their own business. But they fail to note that these laws, intended to selectively quash free speech in America, have been declared Unconstitutional. This is parallel to the effort by right-wing Jewish academics to quash free speech about the BDS movement on college campuses, as I noted previously, “This is yet another attempt by right-wing elements to co-opt and misapply the Free Speech Movement (FSM).”
The significance of this is that it illustrates the extent of growing objections by American Jews towards the Israeli occupation. More to the point, this complex narrative illuminates the urgency of Unilever-B&J’s to more thoughtfully determine which markets get the “good flavors,” and who gets stuck with Cookie Dough Monster. Ice cream diplomacy has arrived!
H. Scott Prosterman