The Ben & Jerry’s board chair, who orchestrated the company’s recent move to sales of its ice cream in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” was accused of funneling money from the company to her own pro-Palestinian non-profit, a report said over the weekend.
Anuradha Mittal, the chair of Ben & Jerry’s board of directors since 2008, is also the vice president of the company’s nonprofit foundation, and the director and the only salaried employee of the progressive, pro-Palestinian Oakland Institute think tank, the New York Post reported.
Between 2017 and 2018, Ben & Jerry’s foundation paid out more than $100,000 to the Oakland Institute, the report alleged, citing to IRS filings. During those years, Mittal herself received a salary of $156,000, the filings showed.
“It is our contention that this a possible violation of self-dealing as Mittal is considered a disqualified person under IRS rules,” reads a copy of the complaint prepared by the National Legal and Policy Center.
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A few thousand dollars from the Ben & Jerry’s foundation grants went to finance the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights in 2017, a controversial Palestinian nonprofit based in the West Bank.
Last year, the European Union withdrew a $2 million grant to Badil for refusing to sign a clause in its funding contract ensuring that no terrorist organizations would benefit from its programs, including the military wings of Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups.
The Ben & Jerry’s foundation’s cash was used to fund “a bold multimedia project on land rights to mark 50 years since the Six-Day War and Israel’s occupation,” according to the Oakland Institute’s 2017 annual report, documenting Palestinians’ “marginalization and struggle” at the hands of Israel.
Pure antisemitism. I won't buy their ice cream again. https://t.co/Ljs8wBO4jk
— Aaron Klein (@AaronKleinShow) July 19, 2021
Mittal is one of the architects of the ice cream company’s boycott in what it called “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” presumably referring to Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. She has previously expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, and has tweeted hashtags including #PalestineBleeds and #Nakba70, referencing the “catastrophe” of the founding of the state of Israel.
While Israel’s leaders have spoken out against the decision, calling it anti-Semitic and a form of terrorism, the Jewish founders of Ben & Jerry’s, Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, hailed the ice cream giant’s “especially brave” decision and said the company is “on the right side of history.”
“Even though it undoubtedly knew that the response would be swift and powerful, Ben & Jerry’s took the step to align its business and operations with its progressive values,” they wrote soon after the boycott was announced.