WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 20: Ben and Jerry's ice cream is stored in a cooler at an event where founders Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen gave away ice cream to bring attention to police reform at the U.S. Supreme Court on May 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. The two are urging the ending of police qualified immunity. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

By Rabbi Yair Hoffman

There has been a united response among the Jewish people to address the fact that a prominent ice cream company has fallen victim to the BDS mentality. Sadly, the founders of the ice cream giant are leftist leaning Jews. Even though they are no longer the owners of the company, their imprint and leanings remain.

Some have opined that Jews are overly preoccupied with the actions of an ice cream company. Who cares if this company has instructed its Israeli affiliate not to sell in Yehudah and Shomron?

Respectfully, this author disagrees. The united response in regard demonstrates that so many of the Jewish people, religious and non-religious alike, are fulfilling the words of the holy prophet Isaiah (62:1), “L’ma’an Tzion lo echesheh, u’l’ma’an Jerusalem lo eshkot—For Zion’s sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest.”

The company and the world should know that it is not about the modern movement of Zionism—it is about the unique relationship that the Jewish nation has with the land of Israel, as stated in Genesis (17:7–8):

“And I will establish My covenant between Me and between you and between your seed after you throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant, to be to you for a G-d and to your seed after you. And I will give you and your seed after you the land of your sojournings, the entire land of Canaan for an everlasting possession.”

Those words were the very beginning of our relationship with the land of Israel. That, not Theodor Herzl or the so-called occupied territories. Nor was it in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897 where the idea of a Jewish state was born.

Rather, it was on a fateful night some 4,000 years ago in a land called “Eretz Yisrael” that G-d Himself pledged that the Jewish people would be a special people, uniquely chosen, and that the land would be theirs.

In other words, it was and remains our birthright.

Jerry, Ben, all of you, should know that “All Bad People Get Ruined.” This is not only a fact—it is also a mnemonic. Because ever since that fateful night, people, nations, and empires have attempted to deprive us of our birthright, of our land, and have tried to destroy us.

• All – the Assyrians

• Bad – the Babylonians

• People – the Persians

• Get – the Greeks

• Ruined – the Romans.

Jerry and Ben, do we have to teach you history?

The Assyrians did relocate us and we lost the ten tribes—but we pray for their return every day. The Babylonians destroyed our first Temple, but we rebuilt it. The Persians tried to destroy us under Haman. The Greeks tried to assimilate us, and we defeated them and that is why we have Chanukah. The Romans destroyed the second Beis HaMikdash, and we all fervently pray that it be rebuilt. They and their spiritual heirs have tried to destroy us—in Hadrian’s attacks on Bar Kochva, in the Crusades, and in the constant rearing of the ugly head of pogroms.

So stop this garbage, and put on your yarmulke.

BDS is nothing but a continuation of all of this. The Arab claim to “Palestine” is just the latest phase of hateful people who dispute the words of Genesis 17:7–8, G-d’s plan itself. They want the Jewish people out of Yehudah and Shomron, out of East Jerusalem, out of all of Jerusalem, and out of all of Israel.

It’s Not A Rectification Of 1967

This is not some rectification of the 1967 boundaries. BDS is about hate. Vicious and violent hate.

It is a hate that took three fingers from my neighbor’s father in what was the Hebron Massacre—when 69 residents were brutally murdered and the Yeshiva of Slabodka was decimated. That was in 1929, 38 years before 1967.

Do you really think that it is all about the alleged Jewish occupation of Yehudah and Shomron? BDS is a carefully crafted reinvention of an old hatred. The very founders of BDS have stated that they do not believe in a two-state solution. They will stop at nothing until the State of Israel is entirely dismantled.

Jerry, Bill, Ben, you think that if the Jews give up land there will be peace? Are you blind to the new development of the Abraham Accords? It is the first true peace of so many moderate Arab nations, but you are ruining this realization that the truth is that if we don’t give up land, there will be peace.

What is truly bothering the anti-Semites of the world, Tlaib and her ilk, is that Jews, or a Jewish state, actually exist.

Ben, Jerry, you must know the truth about 1967. The people of Israel defended her against attackers that wished to annihilate her at every border. And the “Palestinians” thrived under Israel’s administration of the land. To quote from Myths and Facts:

When Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, she improved the conditions that Palestinians had lived under during Jordan’s 19-year occupation of the West Bank and Egypt’s occupation of Gaza. Universities were opened, Israeli agricultural innovations were shared, modern conveniences were introduced, and healthcare was significantly upgraded. More than 100,000 Palestinians were employed in Israel and were paid the same wages as Israeli workers, which stimulated economic growth.

The most recent Human Development Report from the United Nations ranks the PA 102nd in terms of life expectancy, educational attainment, and adjusted real income out of the 177 countries and territories in the world, placing it in the “medium human development” category along with most of the other Middle Eastern states (only the Gulf sheikdoms are ranked “high”). The PA is ranked just 12 places below Jordan and one behind Iran; it is rated ahead of Syria (#105), Algeria (#108), Egypt (#120), and Morocco (#125).”

Culmination Of Our Prayers

The return of Jews to the land was the culmination of the prayers of our mothers and grandmothers for 2,000 years. It was something that our ancestors could only dream of, but it was always, always ours. Not a month goes by that a new Hebrew inscription isn’t discovered that points to our possession of the land in both the Temple eras.

King David

King David said it best in Tehillim, what you call the Book of Psalms (137:5-6): “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let me forget my right hand. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you. If I do not set Jerusalem at my highest aspirations of joy.”

In these words, King David is pointing out the two telltale signs of a stroke. He is essentially saying that he should have a stroke if he does not remember Jerusalem.

The world should dare not tell us to forget Jerusalem in light of these words of King David. The Bible tells us that G-d has said, “Jerusalem is the city where I have chosen to place My Name (Kings I 11:36).” Indeed, Jerusalem is mentioned throughout Tanach some 650 times and not once, l’havdil, in the Koran.

Indeed, Jerusalem is actually synonymous with Klal Yisrael.

The holy navi Isaiah says, “Be comforted, be comforted, My people; speak unto the heart of Jerusalem—Nachamu, Nachamu Ami, dabru al lev Jerusalem” (Yeshayayhu 40:1–2)

Why Jerusalem? The answer is because Jerusalem—all of it—is intrinsically connected with Klal Yisrael. The prophet further states, “For Hashem has comforted His people. He has redeemed Jerusalem” (Isaiah 52:9). And also, “I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people” (Isaiah 65:19).

Ben, Jerry, BDS supporters, take heed and know that it was always, always ours. Look at Psalms 102:15: “Her servants desired her stones, her very dust moves them to pity.” We have never, ever left Jerusalem, and even when times were difficult, we always pined for her. We pined for her stones, her dust, and her spiritual nurturing.

Holy Since Time Immemorial

The land, all of it, has been holy to the Jewish people since the dawn of history and before. Where was the binding of Yitzchak? It was on Har HaMoriah, in Jerusalem, the place that Hashem shall choose (See Deuteronoy 12:5).

The Rambam tells us (Hilchos Beis HaBechirah 6:14) that the sanctification that was made in Israel’s First Commonwealth still stands and will stand for all time.

He writes, “The sanctity of the [area of the] Mikdash and of Jerusalem emanates from the Shechinah (Divine Presence) and the Shechinah can never be annulled.”

Part of the Bible is the Book of Esther. It is from this book that we read each year in the month of Adar, on a day that we were saved from destruction. Throughout the world, this book is read by Jews on the 14th of the month. But in walled cities, the book is read on the 15th of the month. In Jerusalem it is also read on the 15th of the month. What is fascinating is that this is not just in the parts of city that existed in Jerusalem of old. It is the custom to read it on the 15th even in modern, contemporary Jerusalem.

There were open miracles in the battle 53 years ago, where enemy forces threatened to annihilate Eretz Yisrael and its people. A bomb landed on the Mirrer Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Miraculously, it did not detonate. We got the Kosel back.

In Az Yashir we read the reaction of the nations in the aftermath of the Exodus from Egypt: “Then the chieftains of Edom were startled; as for the powerful men of Moab, trembling seized them.”

Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, zt’l, notes that this pasuk seems to be revealing some great insight. Yet, he asks, “Is it not obvious that when faced with open miracles people are startled and tremble?” (Hagaddah of the Roshei Yeshiva of Mir, p. 226).

Rav Chaim Shmulevitz answers that it is not so obvious. It is the nature of people not to change themselves even after seeing open miracles. “This explains why people around us now are not changing after seeing the open miracles of the Six Day War,” adds Rav Shmulevitz. This speech was delivered in June 1967 in the Mirrer Yeshiva in Jerusalem. The Mir experienced an open miracle when a bomb that crashed through the ceiling did not explode.

Mr. Dan Waldman, who fought in 1967, recollects the following:

“We had 200 planes. They had three entire air forces. Rabim b’yad me’atim. We had 2.5 million Jews; they had four entire nations. There were numerous miracles.

“There was no feeling like it in the world. I remember soldiers saying that they will not liberate Jerusalem from Sha’ar HaAshpah [Dung Gate]; they went in through the Lions’ Gate. Everyone realized that these were open miracles—chareidim in Bnei Brak and even the most secular people.

“Hashem won us this war not in six days but in six hours. There were such nissim. The Jordanians knew that our planes were bombing those of the Egyptians. They sent a message to Egypt. Hashem made it that they changed the codes the previous day and did not inform [them]. This was Yad Hashem. The complete destruction of the Egyptian Air Force in hours. This was Yad Hashem.”

So, the movement to boycott Ben & Jerry’s is a good thing. Once again, the Jewish people are united in fulfilling the words of Isaiah. Hopefully, this can channel into other areas as well. The High Holidays are fast approaching. Hopefully, this will result in opening the nation’s heart to further fulfill the Divine plan in Genesis and cause the unaffiliated to embrace our beautiful and glorious heritage and birthright. There are Chabad houses and other kiruv programs across the country. Let’s encourage all of the Ben & Jerry’s boycotters to join. May we merit to see the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash speedily, in our days! 

The author can be reached at yairhoffman2@gmail.com.


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