Join the Ben & Jerry Boycott?

Unlike many people I know, I am not going to start boycotting Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. There has been quite a brouhaha in the conservative and Jewish media I follow, stemming from the ice cream company’s decision not to sell its wares in parts of Israel. While I don’t champion their decision, I can’t start boycotting because I have not been buying Ben and Jerry’s ice cream since the 1990s.

My personal boycott started when one of our daughters heard either Ben or Jerry (I don’t remember which one it was) speak at a conference that took place during the Gulf War. She was appalled at the venom he spewed against our military. While it would have been utterly acceptable to oppose American intervention, he instead wished violent repercussions on the American soldiers themselves. With that, my cravings for Fudge Brownie ice cream ended.

Ben & Jerry’s love affair with socialism and their anti-American leanings have never been a secret. I admit to a certain irritation at those who are “shocked, simply shocked” at this latest manifestation of their political views. Some people simply weren’t paying attention.

My boycott was a private decision made so that I could look at myself in the mirror. My principled ground is shaky; I use many products from companies who meddle in politics in ways that I consider damaging to civilization and  in opposition to Godly views. One of my friends draws her private line by not patronizing Starbucks while another has given up using Facebook. Each of us makes our own decisions. Without retreating to a self-sufficient and secluded homestead, it’s almost impossible not to patronize businesses that encourage immoral and harmful positions. My friends and I are aware that we are bailing out a swimming pool with a teaspoon. Yet, we think taking even these limited and somewhat futile steps is worthwhile if only to remind ourselves how easy it is to become accustomed to distorted ideas. 

The Ben & Jerry boycott, as well as the rising concern of Asian parents whose children are being discriminated against in education, and the objections of workers whose jobs are being threatened if they don’t vaccinate, share a commonality. As long as we have cultural myopia, focusing only on what affects us and those in “our immediate group,” we move further down the road to a dismal future that will hurt all good and freedom-loving people. To paraphrase Pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous words:

First they came for the white Evangelicals, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a white Evangelical.

Then they came for the male college students, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a male college student.

Then they came for the business owners, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a business owner.

Then they came for black conservatives, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a black conservative.

Then they came for the Trump supporters, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Trump supporter.

Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak for me.

The potential stanzas could go on and on, but a society’s timeline does not.

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21 thoughts on “Join the Ben & Jerry Boycott?”

  1. As soon as I saw the headline of the e-mail, I thought, I did not know the boycott ever stopped.

  2. My personal decisions started back in the 80s with Michael Jackson and celebrities who were getting very suggestive. Being a struggling parent with limited funds I made the decision not to support people or products that didn’t comport with my values. While my modest means didn’t make a dent in their pockets, I have been able to sleep well. The early stand is helping me now to continue to draw lines I won’t cross and to carefully select those people and organizations who more closely align with my beliefs. Blessings and gratitude for you both. I am honored to have you as my Rabbi that I never knew I needed but appreciate the knowledge and wisdom you have to share.

  3. I adore Chunky Monkey but stopped buying Ben & Jerry years ago because of their harmful views. Plus I am a Texan & we have Blue Bell which is the BEST, just no chunky monkey. B&J’s prices are pretentious at best. Starbucks is another so when they came to our small town, I was sad to see the lines. I do have to agree with Mrs. Lapin that many businesses have bowed to the woke crowd so if we boycotted all of them we would have nowhere to shop. We no longer have small groceries because the big box stores ran them out of business. It is a teaspoon trying to drain a pool. But our God reigns and we will triumph.

  4. Susan Pistorio

    Dear Rabbi and Susan, and fellow readers,
    Our personal boycotts boil down to this: we can’t, obviously, boycott every offender, but we have to be able to live with ourselves. Sometimes we just have to put our foot down!

    It gets a little silly sometimes. My family hasn’t bought Tyson chicken since the Clinton administration, nor Heinz catsup for about as long (connection to John Kerry). I haven’t set foot in a Target since the trans-gender bathroom kerfuffle, even though they cancelled their “inclusive” plan. I got away from Firefox after what happened to their ceo/founder. The list goes on, but when it comes to my grocery store, I’m in a bind. It’s one of a huge chain that’s almost a monopoly in my area. I have shopped at the closest store to me since 1994, and I have very friendly relationships with some of the staff. Wonderful people. I’m so disgusted with the corporation’s virtue-signaling that I now call it “Woke Kroger”, though I still do the dance with my digital coupons and gasoline reward points. (Therefore they know or think they know wayyyy too much about me!! Creepy, yet I persist). I’m ambivalent, but it would be very life-disrupting to shop elsewhere just to – essentially – virtue-signal to myself! So, I put up with it. Interestingly, though, this June, the floral department was not decked out in rainbow colors and pride slogans. Not even a special section. Whew! Is it over? Have they seen the light? I doubt that! My guess is that they have checked that box enough to be free of the fear of condemnation. They do have racial issues and a big, fat virus to cluck about now, and of course every checker’s apron still sports a rainbow. Fortunately every checker has the freedom to decorate that apron with whatever good and wholesome thing they like. In my boycotting, then, I think my rule of thumb should be whom shall I defend in this effort? If Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream had ever been in my freezer, it would this week have gone down the garbage disposal. God bless Israel!

  5. Dear Susan,

    Thank you for sharing this opportunity. I joined the boycott of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream several years ago when I heard (on the Rabbi Daniel Lapin Podcast) about their comments about our military. After hearing their despicable words I refuse to patronize their business. Within the last few years I’ve also boycotted the NFL, NBA, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Now my focus is on my family and social life and less on social media.

    Thanks again for all your work.

    1. John, I’m quite heartened by hearing how many people are paying attention and stepping up to the plate when choosing which companies they shop with.

  6. Prescient as always. Like you, Ben and Jerry’s was never on my grocery list. I don’t like to enrich those who hate my country. God bless and God speed!

  7. I stopped buying their ice cream when I heard their ‘motivation talk’ at a business conference in late 1990. The theme was building a business and entrepreneurship. There were several very successful business executives telling their stories about building business. At the heart of each story was the merits of free markets, and capitalism. And yet, Ben and Jerry talked about the evils of capitalism. We were all dumbfounded. Many of the thousand or so participants walked out at that point. I did as well. Never looked back never bought their ice cream again.

  8. Let us petition with voice of caution, Please.
    Or should I say, “What’r you on about!”
    I deliberate in these lines to make point.
    Thks for reminder.

  9. Great paraphrase at the end, there!
    I also stopped buying B&J some 30+ years ago, for a different reason than yours:
    My family was enjoying some of that cold creamy stuff when I read a line on the company container saying something like, “While you enjoy our ice cream, give a thought to all the starving children in the world.” I said to my wife, “They don’t want me to enjoy my family outing with their delicious product, so I won’t… ever again. What pretentious a*******s.”
    A bit less idealistic than your reason, Susan?

  10. I never was into Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Not because I boycotted it or anything like that, I just don’t eat much ice cream. If I were Jewish, I imagine I might be a bit disappointed with them taking Palestine’s side in things. I am aware of the feud in Jewish circles since I follow many of them on Twitter and have one other Jewish friend in addition to Rabbi Daniel Lapin. I am glad you see how Woke companies are trashing America, and sensitive to how the troops have been maligned for doing their job. Honestly many Americans I know feel we are being used by Israel to secure their interests. I do have criticism for that nation-state, but I know the difference between the nation’s policies, leadership, and its people.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      I’ll be talking a bit about this on the coming week’s podcast posting tomorrow or Saturday, Jason. (I don’t post the podcast myself)
      Wokeness destroying America–not by accident but by design.

      1. Rabbi,
        Being a Jew that made Aliyah I hope you will address the issue Jason raised about Americans feeling that America is being used by Israel. I don’t think that most people know what the foreign aid given to Israel is about. It was something I didn’t know the details of when I still lived in America. It’s quite different than the money given to other countries. Of course there are other things that Israel provides to America and the whole world. The money issue is not the only issue that people may not be aware of.
        Thank you.

        1. Hi Suzan. We actually recently had a Live Chat with our We Happy Warrior Special Access members that focused on the inaccuracies that the press circulates about Israel.

          1. Susan Lapin, I remember that I was there. While we did cover mostly the issues of Israel and Palestine – how Israel is wrongfully criticized for the treatment of Palestinians, the issues I brought up are of a different nature. More to do with the foreign policy of USA and Israel’s dealings in America. Take for example the main lobby AIPAC which donates to both Democrats and Republicans, ensuring a favorable position for the nation-state. Now it seems to me that since Israel is our ally and friend, can’t they just go through diplomatic channels to ask for help instead of showering our politicians with money?

  11. We also boycotted Ben & Jerry’s long ago. Not only for their stance in extremism, but also because there’s better options out there (healthier too). Have not purchase a pint of theirs for many years.

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