Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at the Chicago Tribune. As we enter what is the last true month of summer, there’s nothing like a heaping bowl of ice cream to soothe the dog days. Or a dripping sugar cone if that’s
Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at the Chicago Tribune.
As we enter what is the last true month of summer, there’s nothing like a heaping bowl of ice cream to soothe the dog days. Or a dripping sugar cone if that’s your pleasure.
As students get ready to start classes — some in mere weeks — an ice cream treat is in order before they hit the books. That could happen at the Dairy Queen on at Milwaukee Avenue and Rockland Road in Libertyville (unless you prefer the offerings of Dairy Dream across town), or Dairy Queen in Mundelein on Route 45.
Or the Dairy Queen in Gurnee, which has a new home in the strip mall at Washington Street and Route 21 because its former location on Old Grand Avenue is ready for the wrecking ball as part of the village’s flood mitigation plan. Or the Oberweis Ice Cream and Baskin-Robbins stores by Grand Avenue and Dilley’s Road near Six Flags Great America. Or perhaps Shirl’s in Waukegan or Zion.
Ice cream also can bring folks and families together on a warm summer’s eve with a scoop or two on the patio while watching the lightning bugs do their nightly dances. Unless one likes Ben & Jerry’s and another wants to boycott the brand.
That’s because the Vermont-based maker of such iconic ice cream flavors as Chubby Hubby, Chunky Monkey, Cherry Garcia and Phish Food — I’ve tried them all — and its multinational Dutch parent, Unilever (which also owns Breyer’s and Magnum ice cream and novelties), has found itself in the midst of the complex debate over Israeli policies in its occupied Palestinian territories.
Illinois officials are eyeing last month’s announcement by the company that starting at the end of next year, it will no longer sell Ben & Jerry’s products in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, contested territories won by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967. Illinois is one of many states which have laws barring government investments in companies that economically boycott Israel, or partake in the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
Illinois also prohibits investing state funds in companies that do business with outliers Iran and Sudan. Indeed, few Illinoisans even know the state has an Israeli Boycott Restrictions Committee of the Illinois Investment Policy Board.
Officials sitting on that board are expected to give Unilever a 90-day deadline to reverse last month’s decision by Ben & Jerry’s founders Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield that continuing to sell its products in contested Palestinian lands “is inconsistent with our values.” If not, Illinois could punish Unilever by not investing in, or contracting with, the global giant or any of its subsidiaries, including Ben & Jerry’s for its ice- cream-with-a-conscious decision.
Besides its ice cream products, Unilever has some 400 consumer brands it controls, including Dove soap and shampoo, Lipton tea, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Vaseline and Q-Tip. Threats to pull state investments and purchases so far haven’t hurt Unilever’s stock, and the corporation said last week it is “fully committed” to doing business in Israel despite the “social mission” decision by Ben & Jerry’s, which it acquired in 2000.
Cohen and Greenfield have a long history of advocating for social values. In a statement, the pair said, “It’s possible to support Israel and oppose some of its policies, just as we’ve opposed policies of the U.S. government.”
The company has a licensee which makes Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region. The company told the licensee it will not renew the licensing agreement when it expires at the end of 2022. The firm is seeking to stay in Israel through different, yet-to-be-announced circumstances.
Andy Lappin, chair of the state’s anti-boycott committee, told The Associated Press that, “The egregious nature of the (Ben & Jerry’s) statement is almost unprecedented.” Other states, too, are investigating the ice cream maker’s stand.
Ben & Jerry’s isn’t the only firm that’s dipped into social issues. Chick-fil-A has come under attack for some of its executives opposing gay rights. Hobby Lobby, too, has been targeted for its religious zealotry. Boycotts against them have failed to do any damage.
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Ice cream aficionados have unlimited choices for their palates when it comes to the summer treat. Depending on one’s tastes and global view, there’s plenty to choose from in the freezer aisle at your favorite grocery store.
Even from a company that won’t allow its products to be served in West Bank waffle cones.
Charles Selle is a former News-Sun reporter, political editor and editor.