Simon Wiesenthal Center urges boycott of Ben & Jerry's

The goal of the Wiesenthal Center is to “mobilize Americans and states to contest Ben & Jerry’s boycott against Israel.”

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

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is urging legislative and consumer action against ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s over its boycott activity against Israel.

The human rights NGO said it has launched a campaign placing ads in US Jewish newspapers, paid for by supporters of the center, and calling on consumers, states and legislators to take action.

The center showed a picture of the famous Ben & Jerry’s ice cream logo, writing above it, “Tell your local grocery store,” “Stop Selling” adding “Antisemitic Ice Cream!” underneath.

The goal of the Wiesenthal Center is to “mobilize Americans and states to contest Ben & Jerry’s boycott against Israel.”

The organization wrote, “Many states have already pulled investments out of Unilever, including a combined $325 million divestment from Arizona and New Jersey. Reviews of Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s that could lead to similar action are underway in New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Maryland and Rhode Island, prompted by anti-BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] laws requiring states to withdraw investments from any company that boycotts the goods, products or businesses of Israel.”

Hallel Silverman and two other members of the Digitell visiting group stand on a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream truck. (credit: ARSEN OSTROVSKY OF THE INTERNATIONAL LEGAL FORUM)Hallel Silverman and two other members of the Digitell visiting group stand on a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream truck. (credit: ARSEN OSTROVSKY OF THE INTERNATIONAL LEGAL FORUM)

Wiesenthal officials said, “This was never just about ice cream sold in east Jerusalem but rather about Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company profits being leveraged by an activist antisemite, Ben & Jerry’s board chairwoman Anuradha Mittal, who has a track record of endorsing the antisemitic BDS movement and defending Hezbollah and Hamas.”

Mittal has also been accused of funneling money from Ben & Jerry’s nonprofit foundation to the Oakland Institute, of which Mittal is the only salaried employee, according to IRS data.

According to the Wiesenthal Center, “With a spike of violent attacks against Jews from Germany and the UK to the US, and with antisemitism exploding around the globe, we cannot enable the odious, antisemitic BDS movement to continue to use money from a global brand to brand Jews as occupiers in their own land.”

The German and Austrian federal parliaments declared BDS an antisemitic campaign that recalls the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses during the 1930s.