with Ben Cohen, Anuradha Mittal, Peter Beinart, Suhad Babaa, and Hadar Susskind
How did an ice cream company come to dominate Israel-Palestine discourse? On July 19th, beloved ice cream company Ben & Jerry's announced that it would end sales of its ice cream in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The backlash from the Israeli government, from Republican elected officials and from right wing Jewish organizations was immediate and overwhelming, with calls for US governors to use anti-BDS laws to stop Ben & Jerry's from selling in their states.
And, of course, all of this led to even bigger questions surrounding Israel-Palestine and US policy on this issue, both at home and abroad. Many of those attacking Ben & Jerry's claim that they are "boycotting Israel", thus erasing the Green Line and de facto endorsing a "Greater Israel." Even in the Knesset, when ninety MKs signed a letter criticizing Ben & Jerry's for its decision to "boycott towns and cities in Israel," they implied that West Bank settlements are no different from Israel proper.
Americans for Peace Now, Just Vision, and Jewish Currents were joined by guests Ben Cohen (Co-Founder, Ben & Jerry’s) and Anuradha Mittal (Board Chair, Ben & Jerry’s) in conversation with Peter Beinart and Suhad Babaa, to discuss this recent decision and its far-reaching implications. Why was it important for Ben & Jerry's to make this decision and how does it affect the larger work to end the occupation and promote peace? Does the unprecedented response make it more or less likely that others will follow?
The webinar took place on Monday, August 16th, at 4:00 pm Eastern.
Ben Cohen is an American businessman, activist and philanthropist. He is a co-founder of the ice cream company Ben & Jerry's.
Anuradha Mittal is the Chair of the Board at Ben & Jerry's. She is also the founder and executive director of the Oakland Institute and an internationally renowned expert on development, human rights, and agriculture issues. Recipient of several awards, Anuradha Mittal was named the Most Valuable Thinker by the Nation magazine.
Peter Beinart is Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York. He is also Editor-at-Large of Jewish Currents, a CNN Political Commentator, a frequent contributor to The New York Times, and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He writes the Beinart Notebook newsletter on Substack.com
Suhad Babaa is a producer, news publisher, media strategist, human rights advocate and the Executive Director and President of Just Vision, an organization that fills a media gap on Israel-Palestine through independent storytelling and strategic audience engagement. Suhad is producing Just Vision’s forthcoming film, Boycott, co-publishes the award-winning Hebrew-language news site, Local Call, and executive produced the feature-length documentary, Naila and the Uprising (2017). She was also an integral member of the impact campaigns around Just Vision's critically acclaimed film, Budrus (2009), and Peabody award-winning documentary, My Neighbourhood (2012).
Hadar Susskind is the President and CEO of Americans for Peace Now. Hadar serves on the boards of Ameinu and the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center. He has also served on the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Initiatives Task Force on the Environment, as well as the Board of Directors of the Coalition on Human Needs, the Public Policy Committee of Independent Sector and the Leadership Council of Nonprofit VOTE. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland and holds the rank of Sergeant First Class in the Israel Defense Forces.