DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — An announcement this month from one of America's most well know ice cream brands is causing backlash and protests in support of Israel.
Ben & Jerry's announced July 19 that it will stop selling its ice cream in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories because the company believes it's "inconsistent" with its values.
Ben & Jerry's had come under pressure from pro-Palestinian groups over its business in Israel and Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
A pro-Israel rally was held Wednesday afternoon outside of a Ben & Jerry's location along Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach.
Organizers said the protest is directed at Ben & Jerry's corporate board of directors.
Rabbi Efrem Goldberg said they are not protesting the Delray Beach store but want to let the company know that they disagree with their recent decision.
The Ben & Jerry's in Delray Beach is owned by Richard Stern, who is Jewish, and his family. Stern said he does not support the company's recent decision.
He said there was immediate backlash following the announcement.
"We had some people stick their head in the door and say some unflattering terminology I can't repeat," Stern said.
Stern said his family-owned ice cream shop narrowly survived keeping their doors open during the pandemic.
"We have been getting great support, and now this," Stern said. "We do a lot of bar mitzvahs, weddings and do catering for the large Jewish populations, and I can imagine we are probably going to lose that business as well."
Goldberg said Wednesday's protest is not about hurting Stern's business.
"We're here to make our voices heard in support of our local Ben and Jerry's but objecting and protesting to the corporate Ben and Jerry's for this unfair policy towards Israel," Goldberg said.
Although Ben & Jerry's will no longer be sold in occupied Palestinian territories, the company said it will stay in Israel through a different arrangement.
He said the Jewish community does not agree with the decision and feels an ice cream company should not involve itself with national politics.
"Ben and Jerry's corporate is mistreating Israel by isolating and diving Israel by introducing politics into its policies," Goldberg said.
Ben and Jerry's corporate activist manager Jabari Paul said he came to Delray Beach to attend the protest.
"We wanted to come down and hear from them first hand," Paul said. "The position that we took was consistent with our values."
The group protesting Ben and Jerry's said they want to make it clear they will continue to support this local store but are hoping their message is heard by the corporate leaders.