Photo Credit: Joel Gasman's Facebook page
Joel Gasman (R) behind the counter of his Ben & Jerry’s store at 104th and Broadway in Manhattan, July 26, 2021.

Joel Gasman, the independent owner and operator of Ben & Jerry’s at 104th and Broadway in Manhattan, this week posted on Facebook:

As independent franchise owners with Ben & Jerry’s, we feel the recent actions by its corporate office do not reflect our personal views, and we’re saddened by the impact that this has had on our business and the Jewish community.
We are proud Jews, Americans, and active supporters of the New York Jewish community and the State of Israel. We think the only concern you should have when coming into our store is deciding if you want rainbow or chocolate sprinkles!
Starting today we’ll be donating 10% of our profits to State of Israel educational causes. At this time, we ask for your support so that we can continue to operate and, in turn, support our community.

Our friend Yisrael Medad commented on the post: “There are educational causes also in Judea and Samaria, the prime target of the Ben & Jerry’s boycott. Perhaps also include them?”

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Lauren Calloway wrote: “It is wonderful to see a positive plan come out of Unilever’s poor decision. I too believe the brave and determined citizens of Judea and Samaria need our support. It would be a blessing if the monies you collect could be donated to their communities. Thank you for standing proud! Am Yisrael Chai.”

But Eileen T. Hughes did not join in the celebration: “If you’re okay with the occupation of Palestine and crimes against humanity we have nothing more to discuss. I have learned that I have changed 0 people’s minds on Facebook if they suffer heavily from cognitive dissonance. Have a wonderful rest of your day.”

Thank you, we will.

Gasman told the NY Post (NYC Ben & Jerry’s blames West Bank ban for slow sales, vows donation to Israel) the boycott imposed by the ice cream maker on its stores in Judea and Samaria caused his business “to tank,” adding, “We couldn’t sit back and watch without speaking up. It has definitely hurt our bottom line and our overall store value. We did fear boycotts from customers. We still do.”

He added, “We’ve lost some foot traffic as well as bigger catering jobs that usually help us during the summer. We’re getting bad reviews online that have nothing to do with the store, only in regards to corporate views.”

“It’s been upsetting for us,” Gasman said. “We felt like many people didn’t understand the nature of a franchise business and how small business owners are affected by their parent corporation’s views.”

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.