‘Your claim that Ben & Jerry’s refusal to sell ice cream in Israeli settlements threatens NY state investments is an attack on free speech’ — a letter to the Comptroller

July 29, 2021

Thomas P. DiNapoli

Office of the State Comptroller

110 State Street

Albany, New York 12236

Dear Comptroller DiNapoli:

Ben & Jerry’s recently issued a statement that they believe it is inconsistent with the company’s values for their ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This has triggered reactions from politicians who oppose boycotting  Israel to protest its policies towards Palestinians. They are looking for ways to strike back at Ben & Jerry’s and at its parent corporation, Unilever. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that boycotts and speech urging boycotts are legally protected by the First Amendment.  Boycotts have a long history as a legitimate means of peaceful, political protest.

We urge our elected representatives to recognize that the First Amendment to the Constitution exists to protect the right to dissent, not to protect powerful political voices. Apparently some believe it is perfectly fine for pro-Israel forces to boycott Ben & Jerry’s and/or Unilever but not okay for pro-Palestinian voices to urge a boycott to protest Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land and its inhumane treatment of Palestinians.  

Subscribe to THE SHIFT, a Mondoweiss newsletter.

At a time when long-established rights – the right to vote, women’s right to control their own bodies, the right to organize, the free press — are all under attack, it is deplorable to see Democratic politicians join those tearing down democracy. 

In particular, your unfounded claim that Ben & Jerry’s refusal to sell ice cream in Israeli settlements threatens the New York State Retirement System investments has to be understood as an attack on free speech.  

We insist you and our legislative leaders stand up for free speech and rescind the New York State Retirement System’s policies that penalize the boycott of Israel.


New York State Freedom2Boycott Coalition

Copies of this letter also went to the Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl E. Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. We expect there will be a number more organizations signing on.  

So where are the Palestinian voices in mainstream media?

Mondoweiss covers the full picture of the struggle for justice in Palestine. Read by tens of thousands of people each month, our truth-telling journalism is an essential counterweight to the propaganda that passes for news in mainstream and legacy media.

Our news and analysis is available to everyone – which is why we need your support. Please contribute so that we can continue to raise the voices of those who advocate for the rights of Palestinians to live in dignity and peace.

Palestinians today are struggling for their lives as mainstream media turns away. Please support journalism that amplifies the urgent voices calling for freedom and justice in Palestine.


You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: Premium WordPress Themes | Thanks to Themes Gallery, Bromoney and Wordpress Themes