I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream… that supports the Palestinian call to boycott Israel until Palestinians have equal rights. Yesterday, Ben & Jerry’s announcement that it will cease selling its ice cream in illegal Israeli settlements, sent shockwaves through the media by showcasing the power of BDS.
“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), said the Vermont-based company, announcing that it will not renew its partnership with its Israeli franchise licensee when it expires at the end of 2022.
Let’s pile on and amplify the Palestinian struggle for equality! Take a picture of yourself eating your favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor and post it to social media, tagging @CODEPINK. Then, if you live in the U.S., take the next action for Palestinian rights by tellings your Senators to support the new legislation by Bernie Sanders.
While defenders of Israeli apartheid have been throwing temper tantrums — Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid claimed falsely claimed that Ben & Jerry’s decision was antisemitic and demanded that U.S. states punish the company — Senators Sanders, Murphy, and Lee have prepared a comprehensive new bill to stop U.S. weapons sales to rights-abusing countries (like Israel) and require congressional approval before entering into or continuing military operations. If passed, the National Security Powers Act will:
- require a president to secure affirmative votes from Congress before approving weapons sales. Currently, the onus is on Congress to come up with veto-proof majorities on tight timetables;
- automatically cut off funding for military operations that don’t have congressional approval;
- redefine “hostilities” to mean any operation requiring the use of force, rather than only when there are U.S. troops on the ground;
- curtail funding for national emergencies (think Trump’s border wall “emergency”) not approved by Congress
- repeal all current war authorizations
Rep. McGovern is introducing a version of this legislation in the House. According to the Washington Post, it was the $735 million sale of munitions to Israel in the midst of Israel’s May 2021 bombing of Gaza that catapulted the need for this legislation to the forefront of Sanders’s priorities.
The announcement that was tweeted out by Ben & Jerry’s stated that the company would “stay in Israel through a different arrangement.” But, it was quickly revealed that that part of the announcement — put out by Ben & Jerry’s parent company Unilever — had not been approved by the independent board who manages the company’s social mission. For the company to sign a new agreement with an Israeli licensee, there will have to be board approval. Board chairperson Anuradha Mittal, who is known for her commitments to ending wars and achieving racial justice, hinted that that will not happen.
From the Ben & Jerry’s announcement to a new poll finding that a quarter of American Jews acknowledge that Israel is an apartheid state, to this new legislation to curtail U.S. weapons sales and military actions, things are happening quickly. Our protests, education, and advocacy efforts are paying off and now is the time to ramp it up. We’re only getting started and we won’t stop until Palestine is free. Contact your congresspeople now!
Ariel and the entire CODEPINK team