About Ben and Jerry’s

I am a non-Jewish 80 year old Bergen County resident who regularly receives the Jewish Standard, presumably because I work out at the JCC on the Palisades (where I have always been treated for 11 years with complete congeniality). I read the Jewish Standard to learn about the diverse opinions of my Jewish friends and neighbors, and I found the piece about Ben and Jerry’s particularly clear, informative, unabashed, and enlightened (Dr. Mark Gold and Hiam Simon, “They all screamed about the ice cream,” Aug. 6). I have read nothing in my secular press anyway near as good. Thank you. 

David P. Schiebel MD

More about Ben and Jerry’s

With regard to the opinion piece on the Ben & Jerry ice Cream boycott, the authors are avoiding important points that underline the issue of West Bank ‘occupation’.

One does not have to be a “settler”’ to acknowledge relevant facts.

1) The West Bank may be “outside the borders of Israel” but it is disputed territory. For the 19 years that Jordan occupied it, no one seemed to have a problem. All Palestinians were granted full Jordanian citizenship. Only in the 1980s, in response to Palestinian political correctness did Jordan relinquish her claim on these lands.

2) The “50 year occupation” is a blink of an eye to Arabs, who have occupied these lands for 1,400 years since they spilled out of Arabia and conquered them from Jews and Christians who lived there. They are much more patient than the West in resolving their issues and — setting aside media partisanship — could live like this for the foreseeable future. They know that if positions were reversed it would be much worse for the “‘occupied.”

3) Palestinians don’t enjoy citizenship because they live in territory that has failed to establish rule of law and state-like administration. If they held their leaders accountable they could enjoy all the rights and privileges, such as they are, that citizens of other Arab countries do.

4) Israel chose not to annex the bulk of the West Bank because its “conquest”’ had been one of defense, not offense. Had their opponents/enemies chosen to make peace, the issue would have long been resolved. Alas, there is no peace partner. Does anyone doubt what the area would become if Israel withdrew unilaterally? Has anyone heard of Gaza?

5) The Palestinian failure to accept reality and focus their efforts and resources on building instead of destroying is regrettable. Were it a stable and peaceful entity, Israel would be the first to welcome it to the international body of nations. As it is, Israel props this territory up with behind the scenes aid and support.

6) The fewer the business opportunities for Jews and Arabs to share, the less likelihood of normalization of relations. 

7) Islamic hardliners cannot rest as long as any land they once conquered is now in control of non-Moslems. That is an affront to Allah. Until more moderate heads prevail, the issue will not be allowed to resolve, notwithstanding advertisements in Ha’aretz.

Rabbi Benjamin Yablok

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