A group of students at Vassar College proposed a resolution this week imploring the ridiculously expensive fancypants school to sever all ties with Ben & Jerry’s because the ice cream company “has a long-standing contractual relationship with an Israeli franchise” that sells frozen dairy products “in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.”
The resolution has no fewer than eight paragraphs beginning “Whereas.” It has five paragraphs saying “Be it resolved” or “Be it further resolved.” There is a mention of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There is talk of “antiracism and antisexism.”
“Despite the company’s Social Mission and history of supporting progressive causes, Ben & Jerry’s continues to tie its franchise to these illegal settlements,” the resolution explains. “In short, while apartheid ensues in historic Palestine, Ben & Jerry’s “peace & love” ice cream continues to pass through Israeli checkpoints, and be transported on Jewish-only roads to be sold in Jewish-only settlements.”
The main authors of the 1,563-word resolution and its abundant notes include Students For Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, Alexia Garcia, Henry Rosen and Ethan Cohen.
Groups at the elitist school which have endorsed the resolution include Queer Coalition Vassar College, Act Out! — a gay performance troupe “dedicated to confronting the oppressive (homo)normativities on campus” — and, of course, the Vassar Drone Initiative.
Ben & Jerry’s was founded in Burlington, Vermont in 1978. It has long been associated with leftist and social justice causes. Earlier this year, Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen announced that he had created an ice cream flavor especially in honor of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. (It’s called Bernie’s Yearning and tastes like mint and chocolate.)
[dcquiz] In recent years, groups opposed to Israeli settlements in various occupied territories have criticized Ben & Jerry’s for doing business in the occupied territories.
“Although Ben & Jerry’s Israeli franchise is not manufacturing ice cream in the settlements, by selling to settlement venues it is a corporate beneficiary of Israel’s military and economic domination,” charged a typical letter, circa 2013, from Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel.
In 2015, Ben & Jerry’s, which has been a subsidiary of the Dutch multinational corporation Unilever since 2000, declared that the company has “no economic interest in the occupied territories.”