Your Ice Cream is Free Today: Palestine is Not
by Sophia Balemian-Spencer
Since 1979 Ben and Jerry has been giving out free ice cream once a year. Only serving their ice cream in Jewish settlements and not to the Palestinians, we felt as though there needed to be awareness among the consumers of Ben and Jerry’s.
Currently in Palestine there are settlements that are being built on stolen Palestinian land that is exclusively for people of Jewish heritage. These settlements are illegal. There are well over 500,000 Jewish settlers living in these settlements while Palestinians in the West Bank are subjected everyday to the brutalities and indignities of living under Israeli military occupation. Ben and Jerry’s continues to sell their ice cream on these settlements, even though they support progressive causes through funds such as the Occupy Wall Street movement. We are asking that they refuse to sell their ice cream in these settlements and make a statement to longer support this illegal and unjust situation.
Which is why today Nada Khader and myself went down to the Ben and Jerry’s located in the Westchester Mall in White Plains, Nework, to create awareness among the consumers. As we made our way to the small stand we were immediately wary of one of the managers collecting money for a charity Ben and Jerry’s is sponsoring. With each person coming out with their free scoops we handed out our pamphlets, non aggressively, for them to read.
Discretely, we made it through a majority of the pamphlets in half an hour before we were noticed by the manger collecting the funds for the charity. Insisting on knowing what our motives were, while we stood around taking pictures, she was persistent to know what our brochures were about. When she was informed of our mission she surprisingly allowed us to continue
Proceeding to take pictures and hand out of the information we were suddenly stopped by two managers of the mall and told we weren’t allowed to hand out flyers. We respectfully agreed and began to leave but were still being watched. On our way out we handed one out to every person with a cone as the managers stiffly watched our every move. When they were aware we were still giving them out, one of them began to quickly follow us and was then was joined by two other men, presumably mall security. Practically running out of the doors the manager stopped and glared us down until we were out of his sight.
On our way back an enormous group of school children were coming towards our direction. We took the opportunity to inform them of the situation in Palestine. Coincidentally, the school children were on their way to get their free ice cream so we gave them extra brochures to give the managers with “compliments from us”.
Overall we successfully informed the public and hope that Ben and Jerry’s will change their policies of selling their ice cream in these settlements.