Ben & Jerry's employees watch videos on Israel, Palestinians for job training - report

The ice cream producer Ben & Jerry's previously decided to end sales in the West Bank.

Ben & Jerry's ice cream (Illustrative) (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Ben & Jerry's ice cream (Illustrative)
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Future employees of Ben & Jerry's must watch four lecture videos breaking down the Israel-Palestinian conflict as part of their training program, the Jewish Insider has revealed. 

Ben & Jerry's Israel videos

In one part of the video is Omar Shakir, who had reportedly advised the company before its seminal decision to stop selling its products in the West Bank.

“If you look at the recent escalation that took place in May of 2021, it started over discriminatory efforts to force Palestinians out of their homes in occupied east Jerusalem as part of this larger policy. The policy also extends to the Gaza Strip," the videos said, according to JI.

Shakir is the Israel-Palestine Director at Human Rights Watch and has come under fire from Israel for his criticism of its alleged human rights abuses.

Shakir’s extradition brought an end to a disputed altercation he had with Israel. He began his activism in 2004 when he was a freshman at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Shakir wanted his classmates to condole with the Palestinians and criticize Israel for its wrongdoings towards the Palestinian community.

 aA refrigerator bearing the Ben & Jerry's logo is seen at a food store in the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the West Bank July 20, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/RONEN ZEVULUN) aA refrigerator bearing the Ben & Jerry's logo is seen at a food store in the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the West Bank July 20, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/RONEN ZEVULUN)

The world-renowned ice cream maker had originally hired Shakir to demonstrate the company's values to future employees by acknowledging racism in the United States, and by expressing its beliefs about the conflict through online videos as part of the training process.

Ben & Jerry's boycott

According to The New York Times, company founders Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield expressed that they are proud Jews, but just because they are Jewish does not mean they support all of Israel’s actions, just like they are American but do not support some of America’s policies.

Although Ben & Jerry's does not plan to end its sales in the United States, the company continues to oppose some of the country's positions on certain issues. The co-founders wanted to make clear to its customers that they are not boycotting Israel, but boycotting settlements in areas that they do not believe are part of the State of Israel. 

“In our view, ending the sales of ice cream in the occupied territories is one of the most important decisions the company has made….. Ben & Jerry’s took the step to align its business and operations with its progressive values.”

Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield to the New York Times

“In our view, ending the sales of ice cream in the occupied territories is one of the most important decisions the company has made….. Ben & Jerry’s took the step to align its business and operations with its progressive values,” the founders stated in The New York Times

Although they sold their company over 20 years ago, they still run the operations side of the business.

On the Ben & Jerry's website, there is a section labeled “Ben & Jerry’s Will End Sales of Our Ice Cream in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” to help explain to their buyers why they are backing out of the West Bank. In addition to this, the website also offers answers to questions about the Palestinian territories, BDS and antisemitism.