The international campaign to end Ben & Jerry’s complicity in Israel’s occupation and illegal settlement regime continues to gain momentum. On September 9, Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel (VTJP) released a letter [http://www.vtjp.org/icecream/internatletter.php
] to CEO Jostein Solheim signed by 151 civil society organizations. It calls on Ben & Jerry’s “to stand by its Social Mission and to ensure that its products are not sold, catered and distributed in Israeli settlements
The letter’s signatories share a commitment to international law and human rights, and believe that a company’s social mission should be more than words on paper. This is especially true in the case of Ben & Jerry’s, whose social mission, as the letter makes clear, “articulates a commitment to the welfare, security and dignity of all communities, local, national and international.” That social mission cannot be reconciled, the letter asserts, with a settlement project in Palestine that is “predicated on systematic repression, racial segregation, land dispossession, the unlawful expropriation of water, and pervasive violence against Palestinians.”
VTJP’s letter has garnered support from across the world—from the American Friends Service Committee in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to BDS South Africa in Johannesburg; from Jewish Voice for Peace in Oakland, California, to the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Dublin; from Lutherans for Justice in the Holy Land in Portland, Oregon, to Kia Ora Gaza in Auckland, New Zealand. Several faith-based and student organizations signed on.
Groups from 28 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, plus those in 8 countries, including Israel, and the West Bank, sent an unequivocal message to Ben & Jerry’s: “…consistent with international law and Ben & Jerry's Social Mission, we call on you to take all necessary contractual and legal measures to bring your franchise's settlement business to an end in a verifiable way, and to release a public statement of your company's commitment to end its business ties to Israel’s occupation and settlement enterprise.”