Ben & Jerry's backs pro-Hamas protests as 'essential to a strong democracy'

The company compared the terrorist-approved occupations to 'Lunch counter sit-ins, student-led protests against the Vietnam War.'

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, known for its left-wing activism, has recently taken another strong political stance, this time concerning the Hamas-approved occupations on campuses Nationwide.

The company announced that it supports ongoing protests concerning the war in Gaza, characterizing such demonstrations as “essential” to democracy.

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“Lunch counter sit-ins, student-led protests against the Vietnam War and Apartheid South Africa, and now the campus protests in solidarity with Gaza, all are part of our rich history of free speech and non-violent protest that makes change and is essential to a strong democracy,” the ice cream company’s board said in a recent statement.

The move is consistent with Ben & Jerry’s previous actions concerning long-standing territorial disputes in the Middle East involving Israel and a number of Palestinian actors. Three years ago, the Vermont-based company announced that it would halt sales in certain occupied Palestinian territories in the wake of external political pressures to do so.

“We’re a values-led company with a long history of advocating for human rights, and economic and social justice. We believe it is inconsistent with our values for our product to be present within an internationally recognised illegal occupation,” the company said in a statement on its website, referencing Israel’s claim to the West Bank, an area it has controlled since the conclusion of the Six-Day War in 1967. 

Israel’s then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Ben & Jerry’s decision to pull out of the region was “morally wrong.”

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the ice cream giant’s founders, have repeatedly expressed a commitment to corporate activism since the company’s founding in 1978, centered around the belief that “business should be using its power to help address social and environmental issues, and not just making money.”

[RELATED: Ben & Jerry’s call to ‘return’ land to Native Americans echoes university signaling]

Ben & Jerry’s has taken stances on other highly-politicized topics in the past. In 2009, it renamed its widely-loved “Chubby Hubby” flavor as “Hubby Hubby” in an effort to promote gay marriage. More recently, it has taken up social causes pertaining to ‘white supremacy,’ ‘environmental justice’, and cannabis legalization.

Campus Reform has reached out to Ben & Jerry’s as well as its parent company, Unilever, for comment. This story will be updated accordingly.