Nachman Mostofsky, the executive director of the Brooklyn-based, pro-Israel Amariah group, tweeted Monday night that he had been on the phone with KOF-K Kosher Certification who informed him that “they are getting calls all morning. Keep calling. Be polite!”
The calls are, of course, regarding the campaign to remove Ben & Jerry’s KOF-K’s kashrut certification over the company’s joining the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). In Israel, the local Ben & Jerry’s, which is opposed to the boycott, carries the kosher certificate of the Badatz Belz and the Kiriat Malachi Rabbanut.
Mostofsky urged US Jews to call KOF-K at 201-837-0500 and tell them to pull their certification. He said people at the kashrut certification service suggested Jews and other Israel lovers should also call Ben & Jerry’s at (802) 846-1500.
Iched69news tweeted in response: “With all respect, can you explain why should they take it off? What is the kosher issue with them? If you want to boycott them the way the BDS does sounds fair, but why take off the supervision if it’s kosher?”
The answer is (although I’m not a rabbi, and I urge the reader to consult their halachic authority) that kosher certification deals with the entire context of the business in question. This is why most rabbis would withhold the kashrut certification of a Jewish-owned business which passes the technical kashrut laws but is open on Shabbat. Likewise, if Ben & Jerry’s ice cream passes the kashrut test but joins the enemies of the Jewish State, its kashrut status must be reevaluated in that light.
Or, as Reince Niebuhr, Herringist, tweeted: “Would they give a hechsher to a strip club if the food was kosher?”
Naturally, a halachic dispute developed instantly on Twitter over whether or not the move to revoke Ben & Jerry’s certification was proper (while they all agreed that Jewish consumers should boycott the company).
David@KatzStats suggested that “if Kof K revokes their certification there would be 100 other rabbis on the next flight to Vermont. Sad commentary on the kosher supervision business, but true.”
The KOF-K website claims that all their “kashrus policies are governed by a highly experienced and learned Rabbinic committee that reviews and decides all questions of halacha (Jewish law) which may arise.” We hope they’ll take up this matter and issue a ruling.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League has issued a statement saying: “We are disappointed by this decision from Ben & Jerry’s. You can disagree with policies without feeding into dangerous campaigns that seek to undermine Israel.”
And on the other side of this brouhaha, Vermonters for Justice in Palestine called on Ben & Jerry’s to go all the way in erasing Israel from the map, stating:
“Ben & Jerry’s fails to recognize that Israel has been identified as an Apartheid State, and their factory there (inside the ‘green line’ – DI) is built on stolen land near the demolished Palestinian village of Qastina. Their attempt to normalize the widely recognized Apartheid practiced by the Israeli government and military is completely inconsistent with the company’s stated social mission. VTJP member and Palestinian refugee Wafic Faour asserts that ‘since 1947, Palestinian people have been victimized by Israeli Zionists who have arrived there through racially-selective immigration policies. Ben & Jerry’s should completely disengage from Israel and apologize for their normalization with an Apartheid state over the past decades.'”
But there’s more. New Israel Fund CEO Daniel Sokatch supported Ben & Jerry’s BDS move, stating: “Attacking people who try and distinguish between sovereign and non-sovereign Israel by calling them anti-Semitic is to evade a matter of fact, abuse the meaning of ‘anti-Semitism’ and ultimately gaslight those who would try and work towards a future of equality and justice for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
Yes, Sokatch, this is all about preserving the qualitative value of anti-Semitism. Finally, a guy who gets it…
J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami was also concerned about the dwindling stock of anti-Semitism, which he claimed was not the reason for Ben & Jerry’s turning to the dark side. He argued the company’s move was “a principled and rational distinction between commercial transactions in the State of Israel and those in the territory it occupies.”
Ben-Ami should look up the Vermonters for Justice in Palestine’s manifesto to figure out what they consider areas Israel occupies. In the end, it’s not about Gush Etzion, it’s about Tel Aviv.
Incidentally, Gush Etzion’s original settlements were established in 1943 and invaded and occupied by the Jordanian Legion on May 13, 1948, after 127 Jewish residents had been massacred. But no one cares about historic truth on the dark side, not the VJP, not the NIF, not J street, and least of all those ice cream makers aiding and abetting obesity and diabetes across the United States of America and the rest of the world.
Now, there’s a proper Zionist slogan: Jews, stay off carbs and sugar, do sit-ups, and come occupy something nice for the family in Israel.