Boycotting the boycotter
By Larry Freudenberg
Image by E. Davis.
BDS … BDS is the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” campaign whose objective is to eradicate the Jews from Palestine. For this movement, the entire area of Israel including the occupied territories is Palestine. The BDS won a supporter when Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, decided to stop providing Ben & Jerry’s ice cream products to the occupied areas. They have board members who are terribly misguided to use their company to try and pressure Israel to settle the dispute with the Palestinians.
This company said they would remain in Israel but just not sell in the occupied territories because Israel allows settlements in these disputed areas. The settlements issue is only a tiny part of this sinister movement. The franchise owner of Ben & Jerry’s Israel has been told his contract will not be renewed. Ben & Jerry’s either doesn’t understand the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians or they’re buying into the argument that Israel is an apartheid state and has no right to exist as a Jewish state.
Is Israel an apartheid state? If you’re a supporter of BDS then this is one pillar of the movement. They also believe that Israel was illegally founded in 1948 by European colonizers. They reject the biblical right of Jews for this land. They look at modern history and see the Palestinians as victims of Israel’s founding — not to mention that they don’t subscribe to the same Bible. Being the “Jewish state” carries a label as being apartheid, which is comical. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and grants freedoms to her citizens, both Jews and non-Jews, that are not found anywhere in the region. Yet BDS supporters focus on the government of Israel as illegitimate.
The occupied territories have been a problem since these lands were captured in 1967 by Israel in the Six-Day War. Every power in the history of the world has the right to decide on the future development of any territory won in a war. The United States won Texas, New Mexico and California from the Mexicans in the 1848 Mexican-American War. We didn’t give this land back to Mexico. Every geographic area that the U.S. seized in a war was either incorporated into her country or assisted in forming a new society like Germany and Japan after their defeat in World War II.
The occupied territories have been a thorn in the side of Israel since they were captured. They weren’t captured because of Israeli aggression in the region. They were captured after war after war declared by the Arab nations against Israel since her founding.
The world has turned upside down. The Palestinian assertion that colonizers founded the Jewish nation is laughable. This tiny sliver of land given to the Jewish people by the United Nations after World War II is such a small part of the post-World War II division of the Middle East.
When will the Jews who were displaced in 1948 be allowed to resettle their properties located in Arab countries? When will they be paid for this land? Just how many Jews live in Arab countries? Palestinian terrorists have murdered how many Israelis and other innocent people?
My advice to Ben & Jerry’s is to stay out of politics and concentrate on making wacky ice cream. Because of their decision, I, for one, will not be buying their products.
The Palestinian conflict with Israel will only be settled when the leadership of the two occupied areas, the West Bank and Gaza, sits down with Israel and develops a peace plan. I feel for the average Palestinian and hope they can find peace and opportunity, but their plight is not the fault of Israel. The Palestinian people are pawns in a much larger game to push the Jews out of the region. The area of Gaza is led by Hamas, a terrorist organization. Gaza is an example of the tragic life of Palestinians. Israel’s prime minister, Ariel Sharon, closed all Jewish settlements in the area of Gaza to give the people of Gaza their own land and hopefully lead to peace. It is proof that the settlements are not the problem. Jewish settlements in the occupied areas can be closed with any peace deal. That was done for Gaza and the people of Gaza have suffered ever since. They look at their territory as a “prison.” How could this be a prison? They were given the territory, complete with productive greenhouses that they tore down, and the world tried to help them develop a successful society within the borders. It is considered a prison because they don’t want just that territory. They want all of Israel. That would certainly give them a border just like the one they have now, but it would accomplish their mission to destroy Israel.
The plight of the Palestinian people is not because of Israel, which has proven to be a pillar of democracy built on barren land. Their plight is because of their own leadership, which time after time has proven that it supports campaigns like BDS and terrorism to further its objective.
I hope that all the good people of this country and around the world dispose of their Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. There are many other brands that are not endorsing the destruction of the Jewish state.
Larry W. Freudenberg is a sixth-generation Charlestonian and retired owner of his family’s 117-year-old insurance agency, founded on Broad Street in Charleston by his great grandfather. He has been to Israel three times and is a political activist for a strong U.S.-Israel alliance.