Following the famous ice cream maker’s controversial July 19 statement – headlined with “Ben & Jerry’s Will End Sales of Our Ice Cream in the Occupied Palestinian Territory” – the franchise owners of the shop on 104th and Broadway made their own statement which opposes these beliefs.
A July 26 statement by franchise owners Joel Gasman & Family reads that “As independent franchise owners with Ben & Jerry’s, we feel the recent actions by its corporate office do not reflect our personal views, and we’re saddened by the impact that this has had on our business and the Jewish community. We are proud Jews, Americans, and active supporters of the New York Jewish community and State of Israel. We think the only concern you should have when coming into our store is deciding if you want rainbow or chocolate sprinkles!”
The message continued to state, “Starting today we’ll be donating 10% of our profits to State of Israel educational causes. At this time, we ask for your support so that we can continue to operate and, in turn, support our community.”
As of writing, the post has received 338 comments, over 1,300 likes and over 1,000 shares.
While reactions were mixed, most comments appeared to support the local business owner’s decision. However, some who expressed support for them personally were still adamant about going with a different ice cream brand.
“I feel for you guys. It’s not your fault, but I can’t buy this ice cream if Ben and Jerry’s could somehow benefit from it. I’m so sorry but B&J must go bankrupt as far as I’m concerned,” wrote one commenter.
“I feel for you as business owners – you went into the ice cream business – not politics and basically got screwed,” wrote another. “But as much as I would want to support you, at this point there is nothing that would convince me to purchase Ben and Jerry’s – a big pivot/change on your part is needed here I believe.”
In an interview with The Jewish Press, franchise owner Joel Gasman, who’s been running the store since 1999, said he’s lost some business since the announcement by Ben & Jerry’s corporate office. “I definitely had some people cancel orders and I had people complain,” he told the publication, adding that he “wanted people to know we are not in accord with what Ben & Jerry’s has done. A few people walked in the store and they came in all prepared to really give it to me…. I put my hand out and I said ‘If I didn’t own the store I’d be right outside with you right now. Basically, I agree with you 100 percent.'”
The Ben & Jerry’s of the UWS is located at 2722 Broadway at 104th Street. Here’s their web page.
“The message continued to state, “Starting today we’ll be donating 10% of our profits to State of Israel educational causes. At this time, we ask for your support so that we can continue to operate and, in turn, support our community.””
Does that support mean support for the Apartheid policies inflicted on Palestinians in the West Bank?
Does that support mean support of the near siege of Gaza?
Like Yaj, I am wondering why B&J corporate stopped at the Occupied Territories. If they disagree with Israeli policies (which is NOT the same as being against the Israeli people or even the existence of the State of Israel), why not withdraw from Israel completely? Their decision seems half-assed and trying to have it both ways: protesting Israeli policies, but also maintaining a revenue stream from that country.