Ben Cohen, co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s and Jerry Greenfield, is taking the heat for freezing when asked why the ice cream company he founded in Israel stopped selling its products due to political problems in parts of Israel, but he continues to trade in US states that disagree with laws.
In July, the Vermont-based ice cream company announced it would cease selling ice cream in the “occupied Palestinian province” because it was “inconsistent” with the company’s values.
But when asked if the company is extending its boycott practice to other jurisdictions, such as the US, there are policies that do not match the company’s beliefs, Cohen and Greenfield – which no longer control Ben and Jerry but remain public face – unanswered.
“You are a big proponent of voting rights. Why are you still selling ice cream in Georgia? Texas – abortion bans. Why are you still selling there?” Asked Two 70-year-old businessmen
McComand is referring to an extensive overhaul of Georgia’s voting restrictions that may make it difficult for some residents to vote and sparked backlash in the local business community earlier this year.
As for Texas, they were referring to a law passed earlier this year that outlawed almost all abortions in the state and offered cash prizes to people who sued anyone who helped in any way.
“I don’t know,” Cohen shouted, walking away.
“It’s an interesting question. I don’t know what it accomplishes. We’re working on voting rights. … I think you’re asking a really good question.
McCammond continued to press both Texas and the recently enacted abortion law.
“By that rationale, we can’t sell any ice cream anywhere. I have problems with what’s being done in every state and country,” Cohen said.
Greenfield said, “What Israel is doing is different from international law to be considered illegal. And so I think it’s a consideration.”
In July, Cohen and Greenfield defended Ben and Jerry’s decision to stop selling products in parts of Israel.
“While we have no control of the operation of the company we founded in 1978, we are proud of its action and believe it is on the right side of history.” Written in the New York Times joint op-ed.
The company’s decision sparked immediate backlash from critics, including Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who called it anti-Israel and threatened Alan Jopp, CEO of Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, with the consequences of a sales ban.
Public officials in the US have also criticized the move, with several states, including New York, threatening to defund anti-boycott laws from Unilever.
However, Greenfield told Axios that the actions of those states were based on “misinformation.”
Unilever has for its part tried to stay out of contention, reiterating that Ben and Jerry are controlled by its own independent board and Unilever cannot overturn its decision.
Representatives for Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever did not immediately return a post request for comment.