Partners for Progressive Israel Opposes Punitive Steps Against Unilever/Ben & Jerry’s
In recent days, the states of New Jersey and Arizona have moved to divest from Unilever, the giant multinational company that owns Ben & Jerry’s. This comes in response to the July 19 decision by the Ben & Jerry’s board to continue operating in Israel while ceasing to sell its products in the occupied territories once its current license agreement expires.
In taking such a step, New Jersey and Arizona are continuing to spread the big lie of Israel’s occupation—that the area controlled since 1967 by Israel’s military beyond the country’s recognized borders is equivalent to Israel itself. This big lie of occupation is currently being propagated by no less than 21 U.S. states, which have conflated “Israel” and occupied territory in their lawbooks, making their state law inconsistent with international law and at odds with U.S. commitments under international conventions.
As we said in our July 20 statement, the occupation beyond Israel’s Green Line border is a system of oppressive control that involves an ongoing violation of human rights, including land theft, draconian limits on freedom of movement, home demolitions, and arrests without trial. Those, like the states of New Jersey and Arizona, who suggest that the occupied territories should enjoy the same degree of legitimacy as the State of Israel might fancy themselves as “pro-Israel,” but are actually undermining Israel’s moral standing and, ultimately, its security.