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New Yorkers flock to pro-Israel Ben & Jerry’s after West Bank boycott slumps sales

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Lovers of ice cream — and the land of milk and honey — schlepped to an Upper West Side Ben & Jerry’s Thursday to save the shop after its parent company’s freeze on sales in the West Bank chilled its bottom line.

Customers cheered owner Joel Gasman’s chutzpah for taking a stand against the boycott in a Post cover story — and said his vow to donate proceeds to help Israel makes them melt. 

“I’m trying to celebrate my feelings about the occupation with my support of a local businessperson,” a customer in her 60s said at the shop on 104th Street and Broadway. 

“This guy who owns the store is a very good neighborhood person… he’s just trying to make a living.”  

Shaya Adonolem, a 30-year-old nurse nibbling a New York Super Fudge Chunk cone, praised Gasman for being “able to stand up and have a voice.”

Shaya Adonolen got an ice cream cone to support Gasman's shop on July 29, 2021.
Shaya Adonolen got an ice cream cone to support Gasman’s shop on July 29, 2021.
Robert Miller

Sales at the Manhattan shop had plunged after Ben & Jerry’s imposed a boycott on Israeli-occupied areas last week —  but it had rebounded by 10 percent following the Post report Thursday, Gasman told the Post.

“It’s been very heartwarming,” Gasman said.  “We had a family come from New Jersey today, they drove in — paid two tolls — and they said they wouldn’t go to any other Ben and Jerry’s.”

Gasman, who is Jewish like many of his customers, said the shop was hit by a slew of negative online comments from people who’d never been to the store after Ben & Jerry’s announced it would stop selling ice cream in “Occupied Palestinian Territory” on July 19.

Owner Joel Gasman called the support from customers "heartwarming."
Owner Joel Gasman called the support from customers “very heartwarming.”
Robert Miller

Other customers canceled catering events or simply stopped dropping in, he said. 

Internationally, the move sparked backlash from Israelis and Jewish groups, some of whom called the move anti-Semitic.

Gasman first spoke out about the move last week on Facebook last week, saying it left a bad taste in his mouth — and vowed to donate 10 percent of profits to educational causes in Israel.

Local resident Joseph Telushkin at the Ben & Jery's store to support Gasman.
Local resident Joseph Telushkin at the Ben & Jery’s store to support Gasman.
Robert Miller

On Thursday, Joseph Telushkin, 72, said he’d stopped by the shop to support Gasman’s pro-Israel politics.

“I’m very happy that they made this decision [to donate] because there is a name for people who don’t want to do business with Jews, and the name is anti-Semite,” he said. “So, this is very impressive.”

Customer Eric Wollman holding an ice cream cone and today's issue of the New York Post at Joel Gasman's Upper West Side Ben & Jerry's shop on July 29, 2021.
Customer Eric Wollman holding an ice cream cone and today’s issue of the New York Post at Joel Gasman’s Upper West Side Ben & Jerry’s shop on July 29, 2021.Robert Miller

Despite the outpouring of support, Gasman said the future of the shop is still uncertain.

“We don’t know what, really, we have in store for us going forward,” he said. “At least I got my message out.”

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