Businesses poke their noses into politicking: a bad omen

Ben and Jerry are pulling their product out of parts of Israel that someone described to them as occupied Palestinian territory.

They must be obviously of the view that theirs is the only ice cream in the world worth enjoying, and that the Israelis will pull out from the lands that have been theirs long before Islam was born.

They are walking on thin ice. Just as the Japanese automaker Toyota. Those fools have announced that they are withdrawing their support from groups that do not agree with the current U.S. administration.

Toyota’s announcement was so pompous it looked as if nobody else in the world was making and selling cars. Except, it did happen somehow that Toyota did send some money to Republicans who would not certify last year’s election results in the U.S. Congress. The company caught flak for that from the mainstream media. The result: its tail down, Toyota announced these people can’t expect a single cent from them ever again.

Unanswered questions

Of course, mainstream media have managed to ignore a couple of questions.

Such as: how dare a foreign corporation get involved in American politics in the first place? And: will the calls for boycott of Toyota cars in the U.S. succeed?

They may, in fact. They are coming from both sides of the spectrum. The first wave, coming from Americans who still don’t believe last year’s presidential election was not a fraud, concerned Toyota’s gall. The next wave is coming from those who are not happy that Toyota still paid a few Republicans who had the gall to go against what the left-wing view as winning it all fair and square.

It will take some time before we can see the numbers: will Toyota’s auto sales in the U.S. increase or decrease? Not only in raw numbers, but (especially) in comparison with all the other car manufacturers who are trying to drum up custom in automobile-dependent America.

Meanwhile, across the Big Pond

Many Israelis will prefer Italian gelato to American concoctions ten times out of ten.

That’s point Numero Uno.

From the political point of view, here’s what Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had to say (in a Jerusalem Post interview): “There are many ice cream brands, but only one Jewish state. Ben & Jerry’s has decided to brand itself as the anti-Israel ice cream. This decision is morally wrong and I believe that it will become clear that it is also commercially wrong. The boycott against Israel – a democracy surrounded by islands of terrorism – reflects a total loss of way. The boycott does not work and will not work, and we will fight it with full force.”

Here’s the funniest part: Ben & Jerry’s Israeli branch told the head office in Vermont to go and fly a kite. The head office replied it will not be renewing its agreement with its Israeli licensee over this issue. The existing deal will expire in a year and a half.

Since Ben & Jerry have become a part of Unilever 21 years ago, it has become more of a political tool than a candy maker.

Unilever is a British multinational consumer goods company. It is based in London, England. Its line, according to its own statement, includes food, condiments, ice cream, well-being vitamins, minerals and supplements, tea, coffee, breakfast cereal, cleaning agents, water and air purifiers, pet food, toothpaste, beauty products, and personal care.

Not a word about politics.

That’s why the Israeli licensee’s reaction is not too surprising: “This is an unprecedented move by Unilever.”

Ice cream and politics should not be mixed, the company’s spokesman added.

Unilever Israel was quick off the mark to clarify that it had no involvement in this decision. It was made by Ben & Jerry’s globally.

“We are very proud of our history in Israel and are fully committed to our long-term presence,” Unilever Israel said in a statement published in the Jerusalem Post. “We employ around 2,000 employees, the majority of which are in our factories in Arad, Acre, Safed and Haifa. In the last decade alone, the company has invested in the Israeli market more than NIS 1 billion, and will continue to invest in its people, brands and business in the local market.”

The global parent company of Unilever said: “We remain fully committed to our presence in Israel, where we have invested in our people, brands and business for several decades.

“Ben & Jerry’s was acquired by Unilever in 2000. As part of the acquisition agreement, we have always recognized the right of the brand and its independent board to take decisions about its social mission. We also welcome the fact that Ben & Jerry’s will stay in Israel.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid dismissed the global companies’ excuses as so much drivel. He called the boycott a “shameful surrender to antisemitism, to BDS and to all that is wrong with the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse.”

“We will not be silent,” he added.

BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, a Palestinian-led movement promoting boycotts, divestments, and economic sanctions against Israel.

“Over 30 states in the United States have passed anti-BDS legislation in recent years,” Lapid said. “I plan on asking each of them to enforce these laws against Ben & Jerry’s. They will not treat the State of Israel like this without a response.”

Politicking defies reality

The so-called Occupied Palestinian Territories fly in the face of basic history: the Bible refers to them as Judea and Samaria.

Examples? Abraham is buried in Hebron, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and so on.

Meanwhile, BDS activists described Ben and Jerry’s as a leading socially responsible international company. They praised the company for what they called “finally bringing its policy on Israel’s regime of oppression against Palestinians in line with its position on Black Lives Matter and other justice struggles.”

Future will tell whether businesses trying to play political games will get away with it.

In a normal world, they shouldn’t.

But we live in a world that’s everything but normal.

One thought on “Businesses poke their noses into politicking: a bad omen

  1. Greek Voice Over August 4, 2021 at 01:15 Reply

    Well composed articles like yours rnews my faith in today’s writers.You’ve written information I can finally agree on and also use.Many thanks
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