Ben & Jerry’s calls for Gaza ceasefire with no mention of Hamas massacre, hostages

‘Peace is a core value of Ben & Jerry’s’: Board calls for ‘permanent and immediate’ stop to fighting, says nothing of murderous October 7 attack that sparked the war

Ben & Jerry's ice cream on sale at a shop in Jerusalem, on July 19, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ben & Jerry's ice cream on sale at a shop in Jerusalem, on July 19, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

JTA — The board of Ben & Jerry’s is calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, board chair Anuradha Mittal said Tuesday in a statement.

“Peace is a core value of Ben & Jerry’s,” Mittal said in a statement to the Financial Times. “From Iraq to Ukraine [Ben & Jerry’s] has consistently stood up for these principles. Today is no different as we call for peace and a permanent and immediate ceasefire.”

Mittal, who has previously advocated boycotting Israel, said the board’s ceasefire call was made independently of the company itself, which is owned by Unilever. But she said the statement was “consistent with the history and values of our company.” The statement did not mention Hamas or the hostages the terror group has held in Gaza since it invaded Israel on October 7, sparking the war.

The ceasefire call comes after Ben & Jerry’s announced in 2021 that it would no longer sell ice cream in what it termed “Occupied Palestinian Territory.” That announcement sparked heated debate and made Unilever subject to divestment in states across the country that prohibit public investment in companies that boycott Israel.

The following year, the saga ended when Unilever announced that it had sold the company’s rights in Israel to its Israeli licensee — allowing Ben & Jerry’s to remain on Israeli supermarket shelves.

Ben & Jerry’s board objected to that sale, and has waded back into debates over Israel by calling for a ceasefire. It said the statement was in alignment with its “primary responsibility for its social mission and essential brand integrity.” The company did not return the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s request for comment.

Israel rejects a ceasefire because it would leave Hamas in power despite its vows to repeat the October 7 massacres, in which terrorists killed some 1,200 people and took more than 240 hostage, mostly civilians. Entire families were executed in their homes, and over 360 people were slaughtered at an outdoor festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality by the terrorists.

FILE – An aerial picture from October 10, 2023, shows the abandoned site of the October 7, 2023, assault by Hamas terrorists on the Supernova music festival near Kibbutz Re’im in the Negev desert, southern Israel. Some 360 people were slaughtered at the outdoor event, among 1,200 people murdered by the terrorists that day in southern Israel. (Jack Guez/AFP)

More than 24,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, though these figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and terrorists killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires. The IDF says it has killed over 9,000 operatives in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

Nearly 200 Israeli soldiers have been killed since the war began, mostly in ground operations in Gaza.

Ben & Jerry’s joins a list of organizations and government bodies calling for a ceasefire in the war. In early December, the United Auto Workers Union became the largest union to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, joining the Postal Workers and other unions. Starbucks Workers United, the coffee chain’s union, posted a pro-Palestinian message early in the war, leading to calls to boycott the company.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed a resolution 8-3 last Tuesday calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Those who opposed said it did not do enough to condemn Hamas’s violence.

Earlier in January, Americans for Peace Now became the first United States Zionist group to call for an end to the war in Gaza. Other prominent calls have come from the Vatican, the United Nations General Assembly, and various celebrities.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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