Ben & Jerry’s new motto: "hate, strife, and boycotts"

by Lev Tsitrin

Ben & Jerry’s motto “Love, peace, and ice-cream” is so passe in our age of outrage, whether real or imagined (I say “imagined” because the tragedies that inflamed the BLM movement — the deaths of Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, have nothing whatsoever to do with racism , either personal or systemic; and the “progressive” outrage over Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians strangely ignores Palestinian treatment of the Israelis that is rooted in the refusal to acknowledge the basic implications of the Arab conquests in which, after Mohammed’s death, Arabs conquered and settler-colonized half of the then-know world, Palestine — the Jewish homeland for centuries before Arab conquests — including). So why not follow the spirit of the angst-filled age?

With two alternatives of happiness in balance — one of giving a measure of creature comfort to all via a cool treat and making good living in the process, the other, satisfying one’s deep-seated need for releasing the suppressed hatred, the board of Ben & Jerry’s chose the latter, announcing the decision to stop sale of its ice-cream in what it declared to be “occupied Palestinian territories,” though it is really a disputed territory — not just the Arab land occupied by the Israelis but also the Jewish land occupied by Arabs, the Jews being at the very least as “native” to the land as the later-comers, the Arabs.

Ideology and facts don’t mix. To an anti-Semite, Jews being in the right is no proof that Jews are not in the wrong. I recently had a couple of comical Twitter encounters in which the opponents told me that there never was Jewish presence in Palestine, that the proper study of history showed that it was in the possession of Palestinians essentially since the day of the Creation. I offered a mainstream timeline: Jewish presence from Exodus of about 1,200 BC to the Roman exile of about 300 AD, Arab presence since 636 AD. That was lies, was the reply. In support of my timeline, I twitted back a link to a Wikipedia entry on Palestine but it was pronounced a lying, manufactured history, too: by citing Wikipedia I engaged in Israeli propaganda. I asked the respondent if it were possible that he projected on me his own mindset, and that whenever he saw a fact that supported the Jewish position he automatically filtered it out, simply because he bore the Jews ill will; to that he did not reply. I guess while we prefer to believe that antisemitism is but an unfortunate byproduct of ignorance, in fact the opposite is often true, wilful ignorance being a deliberate, consciously-cultivated product of antisemitism.   

Needless to say, to an ideologue the Big Truth is his espoused ideology, the Big Lie is the facts that contradict it. There is a certain logic to it: if the ideology is inherently right, than the facts that counter it must of necessity be wrong, and therefore, be expunged from the record. This is how all ideology-based regimes — Communism, or Nazism, or Islamism operate. In a Western empiricist’s mind, the facts are primary; they are the building blocks of the systemic view of the world. A fact that was disproved calls for rethinking the validity of the system. It is the exact opposite to the ideologue’s mind (it that which does not think can be called “a mind”): “rethinking” the doctrine is unthinkable; a fact that contradicts it is no fact, and must be ignored (hence, the constant suppression of the opposing voices. I still remember my father sitting on a low stool in front of his huge lamp radio set patiently turning the tune button in a hope of finding a gap in the maddeningly relentless monotonous hum that was jamming the Voice of America.) It being the Big Truth that the innocent, native Palestinians are the victims of foreign imperialist Jews, no amount of evidence to the contrary can shake it. Historical record and archaeological evidence are but parts of the Big Lie.  

This is apparently how the Ben & Jerry’s board sees the matters. Though businessmen by profession, its members are “progressive” ideologues by avocation, so facts be damned. The avocation prevailed over the business sense, Ben & Jerry’s joining the “progressive,” anti-Israel crowd. Its policy (if there was any rational policy to it at all rather than a purely emotional, ignorant, ideological antisemitic urge), is I think best summarized by contemptuous reference to the Soviet eagerness to conform which I heard, more than once from my grandfather quoting a backwoods Buelorussian saying (I replaced in my translation its racy moniker for the part of anatomy it references with an official medical term): “everyone heads into the rectum, so I will head into the rectum, too.”

Ben & Jerry’s is of course free to head wherever they want, but we will not join them. That place, filled by “progressives” of all stripes, is claustrophobic and stinky; and the companion groups, like the BDS-supporting academics, are but noisy ignoramuses, and miserable companions. We will continue to strive for “love, peace, and ice-cream” — though not of Ben & Jerry’s variety, this latter being filled with hate, strife, and boycotts — hardly the best ingredients of enjoyable life.


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