Ben & Jerry's on Partnering With Group Tied to Farrakhan: We're 'Comfortable' With Idea They Have Different Views Than Our Own

Linda Sarsour / Getty Images
October 30, 2018

Ben & Jerry's, the Vermont-based ice cream maker, on Tuesday unveiled a new flavor in support of groups that are fighting President Donald Trump's agenda, including the Women's March, despite its leaders' ties to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

"Today we launch Pecan Resist! This flavor supports groups creating a more just and equitable nation for us all, and who are fighting President Trump's regressive agenda," the company tweeted.

The Women's March is one of the movements with which Ben & Jerry's is partnering.

"Women's March is committed to harnessing the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change," Ben & Jerry's states on its website.

The ice cream maker also tweeted out a picture of several progressive leaders, including Linda Sarsour, an anti-Israel activist and national organizer of the Women's March who has said that "nothing is creepier than Zionism." Sarsour has come under fire for her ties to Farrakhan, such as speaking at a Nation Of Islam event in 2015 where she attacked Israel. She has also discounted anti-Semitism, saying that "while anti-Semitism is something that impacts Jewish Americans, it’s different than anti-black racism or Islamophobia because it's not systemic."

Sarsour is not the only leader of the Women's March to have links to Farrakhan. Earlier this year, Tamika Mallory, the movement's co-president, attended the Nation of Islam's annual Saviours' Day event, where Farrakhan attacked "that Satanic Jew," called Jews "the mother and father of apartheid," and proclaimed that "when you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door." He also said that "the powerful Jews are my enemy."

Farrakhan recently compared Jews to termites and called his Jewish critics "stupid."

The mass shooting at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue over the weekend, during which 11 Jewish worshippers were killed, has caused the media and lawmakers to focus on anti-Semitism, which has brought greater attention to the close relationship between Farrakhan and the Women's March.

The Independent Journal Review on Tuesday reached out to Ben & Jerry's regarding the Women's March's close ties to Farrakhan.

"We're comfortable with the idea that the people and the causes we partner with may have a point of view different from our own on some issues," a spokeswoman for Ben & Jerry's told IJR. "They can be controversial, just as we can. Linda may not agree with everything we've done. But the work that she has done to promote women's rights, as co-chair of the Women's March, is undeniably important and we are proud to join her in that effort."

Ben & Jerry's also included a statement from Sarsour herself, saying, "We recommit ourselves to dismantling anti-Semitism and all forms of racism."

Ben & Jerry's has a history of using its product to push for progressive causes. Over the last decade, the ice cream maker has introduced flavors to highlight different progressive issues. The Chubby Hubby flavor, for example, was changed to "Hubby Hubby" in 2009 after same-sex marriage was legalized in Vermont. The chocolate fudge brownie flavor became "Food Fight Fudge Brownie" to support GMO labeling. The company also had an "Empowermint" flavor in 2016 to promote voting rights.