Athens for Everyone has chosen to end its relationship with Ben & Jerry’s which had previously helped us raise funds through percentage nights. Despite Ben & Jerry’s strong progressive track-record on other issues, their Israeli franchise conducts business in Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Not only are these settlements created as a result of an Israeli occupation that is a blatant violation of international law, but they are also a part of a larger system of apartheid that exists in Israel today. With their selling of ice cream in these settlements and their silence on issues relating to Palestine, Ben & Jerry’s is complicit in this occupation and apartheid.
We regard the rights and dignity of Palestinians as equivalent to that of the rest of humanity. Currently, Palestinian land is being occupied and colonized by Israel. Palestinians face discrimination in Israel, and Palestinian refugees are not given the right to return to the homes from which they were expelled. We stand with Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS), a Palestinian-led movement, in their struggle for justice in Palestine. This movement uses nonviolent means to pressure the state of Israel to comply with international law. Their three main demands are as follows:
- Ending Israel’s occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall.
- Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality.
- Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
In accordance with this movement, Athens for Everyone plans on boycotting not just Ben and Jerry’s, but all firms that are complicit or actively engaged in the violation of Palestinian human rights. Athens for Everyone also calls for all entities, including the University of Georgia and the Athens-Clarke County Government, to withdraw any investments from the state of Israel or any entities sustaining Israeli apartheid.
Finally, we demand that the United States end all military support for and institute sanctions against the state of Israel so as to not aid in the perpetuation of Israeli apartheid. When making any future decisions as an organization, we intend on considering these positions especially when evaluating candidates for public office and deciding with which organizations we partner.by