by Gabe Friedman
(JTA) — Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the men behind the iconic Ben & Jerry’s ice cream brand, have never shied away from politics. For instance, they recently endorsed fellow Jew Sen. Bernie Sanders for president (and even toyed with the idea of giving the Independent from Vermont his own original ice cream flavor).
This week the frozen confection legends dipped their toes into one of the most hotly contested issues of the day among Jews: the Iran nuclear deal.
Cohen and Greenfield wrote in an email newsletter from the liberal nonprofit policy group MoveOn that they support the agreement because they believe it will keep the United States “out of another war in the Middle East.”
“This agreement is the only peaceful way to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. And it’s a critical test for what sort of nation we’re going to be,” they wrote in the Wednesday newsletter. ”As Senator Bernie Sanders says, ‘the test of a great nation is not how many wars it can engage in, it is how it can resolve international conflicts in a peaceful manner.’”
Cohen and Greenfield also explained that they have launched a “donor strike” against Democratic lawmakers who have come out against the deal. Those who sign the donor strike petition through MoveOn pledge to withhold donations to Democrats who have said they will vote against the deal, such as Jewish New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.
“MoveOn members collectively contribute boatloads of money to Democrats each year — mostly in modest chunks like $5, $25, or $50,” Cohen and Greenfield wrote. ”But it adds up to millions.”
As of Wednesday,Cohen and Greenfield said that 25,000 MoveOn members had signed the pledge and agreed to withhold a collective $11 million. Maybe the strikers are putting that money instead toward buying pints of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia or Chunky Monkey.