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Pro Israel Ben & Jerry’s was Flocked by New Yorkers

Fans of ice cream — and the land of milk and honey — flocked to an Upper West Side Ben & Jerry’s on Thursday to help the store survive after its parent company’s sales freeze in the West Bank slashed its profits. Customers applauded owner Joel Gasman’s audacity in speaking out against the boycott in a Washington Post cover story. He claimed his promise to donate money to help Israel made them melt.

A customer in her 60s said at the shop on 104th Street, and Broadway said, “I’m trying to celebrate my feelings about the occupation with my support of a local businessperson. This guy who owns the store is a very good neighborhood person… he’s just trying to make a living.” Shaya Adonolem, a 30-year-old nurse who was munching on a New York Super Fudge Chunk cone, applauded Gasman for being able to “stand up and have a voice.”

Sales at the Manhattan business had plummeted when Ben & Jerry’s announced a boycott of Israeli-occupied territories last week. Still, they had rebounded by 10% after the Post piece on Thursday, according to Gasman. After Ben & Jerry’s declared it would stop selling ice cream in “Occupied Palestinian Territory” on July 19, Gasman, Jewish like many of his customers, said the shop received a barrage of harsh internet comments from people who had never visited the store.

Other customers, he claimed, have canceled catering events or stopped coming in. The move drew criticism from Israelis and Jewish organizations around the world, with some calling it anti-Semitic. Gasman initially spoke out against the decision on Facebook last week, saying it left him with a sour taste in his mouth and promising to contribute 10% of proceeds to Israeli educational organizations.

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