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Take Action on Free Cone Day!

by Anna Baltzer, National Organizer
April 2nd, 2013
Supermarket clerk in the illegal, West Bank Israeli settlement of Gilo with a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, produced at the company's Israeli franchise factory near Gaza.


Exciting Developments & Call to Action for the Ben & Jerry’s Campaign

We have some good news and an opportunity to take action! Since the March 14 launch of the Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel (VTJP) campaign urging Ben & Jerry's to stop selling and catering to Jewish-only settlements in occupied Palestine, close to 3,500 people have signed a petition to the company, 650 e-mails were sent to Ben & Jerry's CEO, and more than 80 organizations have endorsed the campaign. To all those who have taken action so far, VTJP would like to say: Thank you. It makes a difference.

The president of the Ben & Jerry's Board of Directors, Jeff Furman, told the Burlington Free Press that he believes catering operations to the settlements have stopped since VTJP brought the matter to the company's attention. This would signify a major victory for the campaign!

VTJP is still working to confirm Furman's claim and is asking groups to redouble efforts to ensure that Ben & Jerry's ends all complicity with Israel's occupation and discriminatory policies:

TAKE ACTION ON TUESDAY! On April 9, Ben & Jerry's will host the annual "Free Cone Day" at Ben & Jerry's scoop shops worldwide. "Coneheads" of the World: Unite Against Israel's Occupation of Palestine!

This is an opportunity not only to disseminate information about the campaign, but to engage people one-on-one about the occupation and BDS. In Vermont, the event draws large crowds and media attention, and that is likely to be the case at Ben & Jerry's scoop shops elsewhere.

VTJP will be leafleting at scoop shops in Vermont and Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at the University of Vermont will be tabling at the scoop shop on campus, urging people to sign the petition and send an e-mail as they wait in line.

VTJP invites you to join the effort at a scoop shop in your area! Help build on the momentum of recent campaign developments by showing Ben & Jerry's that not just VTJP but activists around the country and world are calling on the company to do the right thing!

Here's how you can:

  1. Find the shop nearest you by clicking here
  2. Download this flier that VTJP designed, and feel free to insert your group's contact information. 
  3. Please send news and photos of your actions to icecream@vtjp.org.

Feel free to contact icecream@vtjp.org if you have any questions.

Whether or not you can take action on Tuesday, please continue to help gather petition signatures, e-mails to the CEO, and organizational endorsements in support of the campaign.

Other campaign developments:

The campaign has been covered by major Vermont media outlets as well as publications in the U.S., United Kingdom and Pakistan.

In media comments about VTJP's efforts, Board member Furman -- who is an anti-racism activist who traveled last year to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, with a delegation of American civil rights leaders -- spoke about Israel's settlements and called them "illegal."

What is the company itself saying? Not much.

Ben & Jerry's executives have refused requests for media interviews but issued a statement. The statement mischaracterized Ben & Jerry's interactions with VTJP over the last two years and insisted that its Israeli franchise's business is consistent with the company's Social Mission but provided no elaboration or explanation. Ben & Jerry's also said it has a "shared responsibility" to promote the cause of peace in Israel/Palestine and wants to find "innovative ways" to do this but it offered no specifics. The company's statement did not include the words "occupation" or "settlements."

Remember Deir Yassin on April 9

When you take action on Free Cone Day, remember that April 9 is also Deir Yassin Remembrance Day. On April 9, 1948, Zionist militia massacred more than 100 Palestinian men, women and children in the village of Deir Yassin, near Jerusalem. The massacre was part of the Nakba, a massive, systematic military operation by Zionist forces to conquer territory and force Palestinians from their lands in the creation of the state of Israel. Approximately 750,000 Palestinians were expelled and 500 Palestinian villages razed and depopulated.

It's still vitally important to tell the truth about Deir Yassin, 65 years on, just as it is important to expose Ben & Jerry's commercial complicity in Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands today.

While Ben & Jerry's ice cream cone may be free on April 9, Palestine is NOT. Please take action at a scoop shop near you.