To Boycott Or Not To Boycott

We wrote here and here about Ben & Jerry’s decision to stop selling ice cream in Judea and Samaria, a rank expression of that company’s anti-Semitism. Now pro-Israel forces are fighting back. Israel National News headlines: “Republicans push back on Ben & Jerry’s following Judea and Samaria boycott.”

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) urged Americans to “take a stand” against Ben & Jerry’s following the decision.

“I think it’s really important that Americans here send a message to Ben & Jerry’s by not buying their ice cream, quite frankly,” Malliotakis said in an interview with former Democratic New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind.
In Pennsylvania, Republican State Rep. Aaron Kaufer called out the Unilever-owned ice cream makers and in a Tuesday letter urged the state’s governor, attorney general, and treasurer to enforce a law that prohibits the state from contracting with a firm unless it certifies that it will not engage in a boycott of a person or entity that does business within their jurisdiction.
“Ben & Jerry’s surrendered to a continuous and aggressive campaign from extreme anti-Jewish and anti-Israel groups,” Kaufer said in his letter, adding that Pennsylvania officials “must work together, enforce the law and stand with Israel.”

Hikind, meanwhile, on Wednesday called for a boycott of other products manufactured by Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s in the US.

“Our stand against UnileverUSA for their participation in BDS movement through Ben & Jerry’s must be taken to next level. Do not purchase Unilever products! Hellman’s mayo, Lipton tea, Dove soap & Axe. Say no to the anti-Semitic BDS. Anti-Semitism can’t be the flavor of the month,” he tweeted.

A week ago tonight, Charlie Kirk and I appeared before a large group in Fargo to raise money for a proposed expansion of Center of the American Experiment into North Dakota. We talked about the fact that big business has gone weirdly “woke,” and what to do about it. A large part of the problem is that businesses fear the Left, but don’t fear the Right. Thus, they calculate that their best course is to knuckle under to the Left, which constantly threatens boycotts and other unpleasantness.

That needs to change. Conservatives need to put their wallets where their values are. Conservatives don’t like to mix politics with consumer choice–or, for that matter, other aspects of our lives. But the Left, as Charlie argues aggressively, has given us no choice. We need to fight fire with fire to get big business back into the middle of the political spectrum.

Unilever, anticipating blowback to Ben & Jerry’s gratuitous anti-Semitism, issued a statement distancing the global conglomerate from its ice cream company’s operations. That isn’t good enough. If we really want to put pressure on Ben & Jerry’s, we need to make Unilever feel some pain.

My general view is that I don’t care about the political views of the people or companies whose goods and services I buy. However, if those companies seek to influence me on political matters, they assume the risk that they may influence me not to buy their products.

Thus, I wouldn’t dream of buying a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. There are lots of great ice creams on the market, and I have no desire to fund that company’s crackpot leftism. To take another example, there is a brewery in Duluth called Bent Paddle that, by all accounts, makes excellent beer. But Bent Paddle has been a vocal opponent of development of northeastern Minnesota’s mineral resources, and excellent beer is everywhere these days, so I don’t buy their products.

This strikes me as one of a number of instances where, if we want to defeat the barbarian onslaught from the Left, conservatives need to toughen up. We have enormous consumer buying power, and we need to put that buying power to work.

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