Ben, Jerry and Hochul’s boycott hypocrisy

Ben & Jerry’s (credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images)
The differing interpretations of boycott legitimacy.

By Katherine Franke | New York Daily News|  Nov 28, 2021

Yet in the same week that the Biden administration signaled that it was inclined to boycott China over its human rights violations, the governor of New York announced that she plans for state government to divest from the company that owns Ben & Jerry’s over the ice cream manufacturer’s decision to restrict sales in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Last week, Republican members of Congress issued adamant calls on the U.S. government to boycott the Winter Olympics in Beijing to protest the Chinese government’s abuses of the human rights of Uyghurs and the crackdown on protesters and journalists in Hong Kong. The Biden administration has signaled an inclination to do so. Meanwhile, the Women’s Tennis Association threatened to pull all of its tournaments in China after the disappearance of Peng Shuai, a top female tennis player was who has claimed to have been sexually assaulted by a Chinese government official.

Boycotts are a familiar tactic deployed by governments and others to protest human rights violations across the globe. Just 30 years ago, some of New York’s most prominent politicians strongly endorsed a financial boycott and divestment of public funds from companies that did business in South Africa in order to bring down that country’s racist apartheid regime. These supporters included Mayor Ed Koch, Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, Comptroller Jay Goldin, union leader Victor Gotbaum and Carol Bellamy, the City Council president.

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