Ben & Jerry’s Franchisee Breaks from Company on Israel Stance

A local Ben & Jerry’s shop is distancing itself from the ice cream brand’s corporate owners, who said they would no longer sell ice cream in Israeli settlements. Ben & Jerry’s, now owned by Unilever, had said “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).” The chain will still sell ice cream in other parts of Israel. Ben & Jerry’s founders also supported the company’s move, though it drew condemnation too, including from some Israeli and American politicians.

And it upset a local business owner who sells the company’s ice cream. Joel Gasman, who owns and operates the Ben & Jerry’s at 104th and Broadway, disagreed with the company’s decision, and posted on Instagram that he would give 10% of proceeds to “State of Israel education causes”

“We are proud Jews, Americans, and active supporters of the New York Jewish community and State of Israel,” he wrote.


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A post shared by Ben & Jerry’s (@benandjerrysnyc)

The Forward talked to the store’s customers, most of whom just wanted to cool off in the summer heat.

NEWS | 48 comments | permalink
    1. Chuck d says:

      Welp, guess I’m never going in there again.

      • D-Rex says:

        Same here!
        No problem with the support of Israel (when operating within international law, of course), but supporting the theft of the homes of others? That is the building of settlements, by force, in the Palestinian territories. It is theft and oppression.

    2. RAL says:

      what are the “educational causes”? Guess I won’t be visiting.

    3. SadforUWS says:

      I really don’t know what to do. I stopped buying any of Ben + Jerry’s about a year ago since they repeatedly gave support to organizations and actions I consider anti-American. This latest declaration regarding Israel came as no surprise to me. But this owner seems genuinely hurt and disgusted by his corporate bosses. He’s in a bad spot, but I cannot support Ben + Jerry’s. Same with Nike.

      • UWS_Dad says:

        You are talking about Black Lives Matter? It is anti-American to you? I guess you are at least consistent in your racism – you are against protesting cops disproportionately brutalizing people of color in America, and you are also against protesting Israelis disproportionately brutalizing Palestinians in their territory that Israel now occupies. You’re on the wrong side of history on both counts.

        • mike says:

          Can you provide any proof for your assertion that people accused/suspected of crime are treated differently based on their race or ethnic origin? I have never been able to find a study that shows that.

        • Ugh says:

          Dude, what is wrong with you? S/he didn’t say anything about race or BLM. Chill.

          • nemo paradise says:

            In days of yore, some people broke out their mink coats when the first leaf turned yellow. Today, these same folks search blogs like this to display their moral plumage, however sketchy the excuse.

        • SadforUWS says:

          This is the second time I will answer you, as WSR did not post it the first time. YES, I specifically mean Black Lives Matter. I am not scared or intimidated by your foaming at the mouth regarding this or you and others obsession with Israel while ignoring the true, real human rights crimes of the governments of China, Syria, North Korea, Belarus, Saudi Arabia, etc. Don’t forget that to be openly homosexual in the West Bank or Gaza will earn you a swift execution. To answer Sue below regarding Nike, the final straw for me regarding them was when they were going to release a patriotic themed sneaker featuring the Betsy Ross flag from the Revolutionary War. Colin Kapernick objected to it, and the sneaker was cancelled. I also have stopped watching baseball, football and basketball games forever, and will never go to another professional sports game for as long as I live, except for hockey, which did not participate in the kneeling of the anthem.

          • Brandon says:

            ^ This kind of bitterness is really disheartening to see in someone.

            I disagree with your politics, but more than that, I feel sorry for you.

            • SadforUWS says:

              you call it bitterness, I call it creating a bulwark against the attempted dismantling of this country. “I have not yet begun to fight” — John Paul Jones, September 23, 1779.

          • Joseph R. Giordano says:

            I agree

          • JerryV says:

            I support “sadforuws”‘s comment. Like him, I have no problem with criticizing some of the actions of Israel’s government (as I sometimes do). But if people criticize Israel and never criticize China, Syria, North Korea, Belarus, Saudi Arabia, etc) I think it is because they just hate Jews.

      • Truth and Reason says:

        I personally stopped buying Ben & Jerry’s when they took out that NYT ad supporting abortion. Not saying I’m pro-life or pro-choice, just that an ice cream brand has no place in my uterus.

        But yeah, I understand what you’re saying. My heart goes out to these local small businesses owners. Maybe it might further their cause for customers to better understand if any of the money they spend goes back to corporate? I’m assuming their franchise fee is already paid, but also that they’re still having to pay wholesale for the ice cream they resell. My assumption is the donation maybe offsets that, but I really don’t want a dime of my money going to Vermont.

        • NotImpressed says:

          If the ice cream is in your uterus, you’re probably not eating it correctly.

        • Burt L Kozloff says:

          “…an ice cream brand has no place in my uterus.”

          You have brilliantly driven a silver spike into the heart of this cultural Nosferatu, which sucks the life out of everything it touches.

          “Before I buy one of your cantaloupes, please tell me your position on abortion, guns and Bill Belichick.”

          Stop it. Just stop it.

      • Sue says:

        Nike? What I love about America is that a person can take to the knee as a protest and not be thrown in the gulag. I stand during the national anthem – but I don’t HAVE TO. It’s a free country. I

    4. Sok says:

      Why would B&J center care if they started supporting Israeli educational causes, unless it was for some Hasbara mill, or education divided along ethnic lines?

      If the owners want to, they can start selling Häagen Dasz instead. That company used to support Meir Kahane and they bankrolled Netanyahu’s ascent to power. It could be argued that Netanyahoo is the reason why the situation is worse now.

      • Truth and Reason says:

        Changing the ice cream brand they sell wouldn’t be as easy as it sounds. They’d have to pay a brand new franchise fee, likely go through new franchiser training for themselves and for employees. All signage would have to come down and they’d need to buy brand new. They’d have to change the store name, not just on the front door but legally, in advertising (Google Maps, etc). In effect, they would need to completely close the business they have, losing any money they’ve paid for years remaining on their franchisee contract, and start a completely brand new one.

        These owners are in a rough spot. I feel for them.

      • ? says:

        Where does it say anything about B&J caring about their decision to donate 10% of their profits?

    5. Cindy says:

      How about not clogging your arteries and gaining weight by cutting back on ice cream? 2/3 of Americans are overweight.

    6. Otis says:

      I feel bad for these franchisees but I will never buy B&J ice cream again anywhere after this anti-Israel boycott decision.

      B&J franchisees should consider legal action again B&J’s parent Unilever. B&J took a controversial and provocative political stance that was unforeseen and damaged the franchisees’ business.

    7. Rob G. says:

      This is great! As a proud Upper West Side Jew, I applaud the Gasmans for standing up to Unilever, and the dangerous and misguided BDS bandwagon.

    8. Kewl Dood says:

      It’s 2021, so it’s time to be outraged about everything! LOUD NOISES
      It’s Ice Cream! Grab a spoon and chill the heck out.

      • SadforUWS says:

        Your Spicoli-esque response of “chill out, it’s ice cream”, is a reflection of the poor education system in this country. What Ben + Jerry’s did was declare a partial economic boycott against a sovereign nation. It’s quite serious.

    9. GG says:

      I’m a little out of the loop on this one.

      So ice cream is a political issue now??

      Sheesh!! What’s next? peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?

    10. Yoohoo says:

      It’s not BDS. Ben n Jerry literally said they don’t support BDS. This is about not supporting the Israeli government in the illegal settlements. It is not anti-semitic to support rights for Palestinians AND Israelis.

    11. mike says:


      here is something from the Justice department.

      • Moshe says:

        I’m surprised the wokesters in the comments section like Brandon haven’t tried to “cancel” this study because of the inconvenient facts it shows.

    12. DJ says:

      It’s weird that being anti-genocide is considered controversial

      • Not everything disagreeble is genocide says:

        No, it’s weird that you think that what’s at issue here in boycotting israel

    13. UWSider says:

      I will not be visiting this Ben & Jerry’s again. I applaud the parent company for their courageous stance on the OPT. I would like to hear Gasman’s justification for Isreal’s occupation and continued oppression of the Palestinian people. I noticed that was conveniently omitted.

    14. carl g silverman says:

      Hello, i support NYC franchise…using ice cream as political weapon is very sad.

    15. Susan says:

      What a bummer! I LOVE Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and also their principled political commitments. But now I won’t be able to buy their ice cream from my local shop anymore. As a Jew with principles and some memory of history, I absolutely cannot support the apartheid-style crimes the Israeli government has been committing, so the B’way/104 shop is now officially a no-go zone for me. Oh well, fortunately my favorite ice-cream is readily available from neighborhood grocers.

    16. Watto says:

      Since when did ice cream become political? I’m Jewish too but that won’t stop me from eating Cherry Garcia! I support Israel – also a two-state solution. This is just crazy!!!!

    17. Rob says:

      Dont know why they got involved in a political issue. Does the ice cream contain an ingredient in which to make bombs? Does any of the B&J corporate money go to terrorists? Just sell your product which most people liked, but now its USED TO like.

    18. esti marpet says:

      your decision is provocative and unnecessary. i support B&J decision not to sell in occupied territories.

      i will not visit your store until you clarify if you plan to donate in Israel proper only or in the West Bank as well.

    19. Chrigid says:

      I don’t understand the impact the Unilever/B&J decision has on the Gasman’s business. Are Gasman’s customers so pro-settlement that they refuse to shop there anymore?

    20. Leslie Rupert says:

      Ice Cream should NOT be a political issue. What corporate did is absolutely unfair to franchisees.
      I will certainly continue to but from the Gasman’s.

    21. Well I guess this Jew will be avoiding that spot; excuse me while I pop to the bodega for a pint of B+J instead. 🙂

    22. Jim Cash says:

      @sadforuws has my vote. That’s enough restoring my faith for today. Back to the lunacy now.