A former employee of Ben & Jerry’s said the company’s board consulted with anti-Israel activist and Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) Israel-Palestine director Omar Shakir before the ice-cream maker announced its decision last month to boycott the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
“They believed him to be a valid source of information about Israel,” Susannah Levin told Israel’s Channel 2 radio on Tuesday, as reported by The Washington Free Beacon. Levin worked as a freelance graphic designer for Ben & Jerry’s for 21 years before resigning last month after the company said on July 19 that it would stop selling its products in Israeli settlements and eastern Jerusalem.
“Omar Shakir spoke directly to the board,” added Levin. “He wrote the Human Rights Watch report, [which] is what they were basing their information on.”
Shakir penned a report for HRW in April that accused Israel of committing “crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”
The HRW director has also been accused of anti-Semitism and ties with terrorism. He was deported from Israel in 2019 for promoting a boycott of the Jewish state and took credit for Airbnb’s 2018 decision to ban Jewish-owned listings in Judea and Samaria, a move that was later reversed.
Anti-Zionist activist and writer Peter Beinart recently revealed that he had also “spoken privately to [Ben & Jerry’s] executives and encouraged their efforts” on the boycott decision. Earlier in August, Ben & Jerry’s invited Beinart to speak with franchisees about their concerns regarding the boycott, reported the Beacon.
The British company Unilever now runs the ice-cream company, though founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have a direct say in social-justice and politically related issues.
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