Sep 21, 2021

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Last week, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company announced that it would no longer be selling its products in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory”. Behind the move is one woman who has a long history of being anti-Israel and even supporting anti-Semitism. 

Anuradha Mittal: anti-Jewish state

When Ben & Jerry’s board announced its intent to stop selling its products in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory”, it was quickly revealed that their initial intention was to boycott Israel entirely. The board of B&J was stopped from doing so by its parent company, Unilever, which has four factories and 2,000 employees in Israel. This divergence was possible because when co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield agreed to sell the business in 2000 to Unilever for $325 million, the purchase agreement allowed the company to maintain control over its “social mission.”

It should be noted that the company’s eponymous founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, are both Jewish and though they are stridently left-wing, it seems clear that the impetus to target Israel came from B&J’s chairman of the board, Anuradha Mittal.

The Washington Free Beacon published an article revealing Mittal’s hatred of Israel in its entirety. After B&J’s announcement, it was discovered that Mittal had at least 107 anti-Israel tweets, one of which described the creation of Israel as a “catastrophe.” This echoes the language of anti-Israel terrorist organizations which commemorate the anniversary of the creation of Israel in 1948 as tne “Nakba” (catastrophe). 


Last month, Mittal signed a petition to US Secretary of State Blinken “demanding that he halt weapons sales to Israel.” 

She has also expressed strong support for the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement and defended Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D., Minn.) claim that pro-Israel members of Congress have an “allegiance” to a foreign government. 

“Omar’s remarks were denounced as anti-Semitic by members of her own party and prompted the House to pass a resolution against hate and intolerance,” the Beacon noted.

“Criticism of AIPAC is not anti-semitic & calling for Congress not to have allegiances to foreign countries (Israel) is not anti-semitic,” Mittal wrote in March 2019, “but targeting the first black Muslim member of Congress with false accusations of antisemitism IS Islamophobic!”

Oakland Institute: Pro-BDS, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic

Mittal founded the Oakland Institute in 2004. The institute clearly reflects her concept that rejects the existence of any Jewish state in the region and not just post-1967 borders. The institute’s website refers to “ 70 years of occupation and displacement” while marking “100 years since the Balfour Declaration, which laid the foundation for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.” The website also makes the astounding statement that the Palestinian movement has been a “nonviolent struggle.”

This blindness to extreme violence targeting Jewish citizens of Israel was reflected in an article published by the Oakland Institute during the Israel-Lebanon war in 2006 calling for support of Hezbollah: 

“You do not have to agree with all of Hezbollah’s ideas to support their resistance to Israel. Condemning “both sides” in the Middle East is just like condemning “both sides” in the American Civil War. During the Civil War, with all its complications, one side fought for slavery and the other fought for emancipation. Today in the Middle East, one side fights to rob and pillage, the other seeks self-determination and dignity.”

The article compares Israel to an oppressive pro-slavery government while entirely overlooking an Iranian-backed terrorist organization with hundreds of thousands of missiles dedicated to a genocidal effort targeting the Jews in Israel. The article claims that any objection to Hezbollah is based in “Islamophobia”. 

The Oakland Institute also published a series of reports in 2017 accusing Israel of humanitarian crimes. The series included a lengthy interview with Bassem Tamimi who has promoted claims that Israel arrests Palestinian children in order to “steal their organs.”

B & J is deeply connected to the Oakland Institute and in 2017, the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation donated $80,000 to the organization. NGO Monitor documented that under Mittal’s leadership, the institute has partnered with “radical NGOs that support BDS, including BADIL, ICAHD, Youth Against Settlements, and Hebron Rehabilitation Committee,” all of which advocate for BDS.

BADIL has been accused of having ties to terrorist organizations and promoting blatant anti-Semitism.