“In the Betty Crocker Cookbooks of old, you may be fortunate enough to find a hidden creed slipped inside. It is beautiful words written from a fictitious Betty Crocker (though keep in mind that a real-life virtuous woman did write it!) in the 1920’s. It was meant to inspire homemakers from long ago to join the ‘Home Legion’ and declare ‘Good Homemaking for a Better World.’ Oh how the times have changed (insert sorrowful sigh)… but doesn’t that sound lovely and how useful would that be right now?” (from Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth blog)
I believe homemaking is a noble and challenging career.
I believe homemaking is an art requiring many different skills.
I believe homemaking requires the best of my efforts, my abilities, and my thinking.
I believe home reflects the spirit of the homemaker.
I believe home should be a place of peace, joy, and contentment.
I believe no task is too humble that contributes to the cleanliness, the order, the health, the well being of the household.
I believe a homemaker must be true to the highest ideals of love, loyalty, service, and religion.
I believe home must be an influence for good in the neighborhood, the community, the country.
This is to certify that Betty Crocker is a member of the Home Legion dedicated to Good Homemaking for a Better Word.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27
How many times have you heard that slavery was “America’s original sin”? I’m not quite sure what that means, but I think the idea is that slavery was a uniquely horrible thing that defines the United States and will stain whites forever. It’s one of the few things Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Barack Obama agree on. There are books about it. Here’s a college course at UC Davis called “Slavery: America’s Original Sin: Part 1.”
Tlingit and Haida Indians, who lived in the Pacific Northwest, went raiding for slaves as far South as California. About one quarter of the population were slaves, and the children of slaves were slaves. During potlatches, or huge ceremonial feasts, the Tlingit would sometimes burn property and kill slaves, just to show how rich they were. What’s a couple of slaves to a guy who lives in a house like this?
When we bought Alaska from the Russians in 1867, Indians were furious when we told them they had to give up their slaves. The Tlingit carved this image of Abraham Lincoln, the emancipator, to try to shame the government into compensating them for slaves.
Free blacks in the South owned slaves. The fact of having been slaves didn’t stop them from wanting to be slave masters themselves. In 1840, in South Carolina alone, there were 454 free blacks who owned a total of 2,357 slaves. Only about 20 percent of Southern households had even one slave, but 75 percent of the free-black households in South Carolina owned slaves.
Don’t believe me? It’s all in this book by the expert on the subject, Larry Koger of the University of South Carolina. And he demolishes the idea that most blacks bought slaves only to get family members out of slavery. Like whites, some were kind masters and some were mean, but, for the most part, they owned slaves for exactly the same reasons whites did.
He had a plantation of 672 acres along the Mississippi in Louisiana, and close to 100 slaves. Another black slave owner in Louisiana, P.C. Richards, owned 152 slaves. Black slaveowners avidly supported the Confederacy. There are no accurate estimates of the number of slaves held by free blacks at the time of the Civil War, but they would have been tens of thousands.
If slavery is somebody’s Original Sin, it’s sure not ours. Take a look at this map of the slave trade, beginning in 1500.
The thicknesses of the lines represent numbers of slaves. What became the United States imported just 400,000 slaves—about 3 percent of all the slaves who crossed the Atlantic. Look at all the slaves who went to Brazil and to the Caribbean Islands. They needed millions because, unlike American slaveowners who raised slave families, they bought grown men and worked them to death. And let us not forget, virtually every slave on this map was caught by blacks or Arabs.
And look at all the slaves who ended up in North Africa and the Middle East.
That’s millions of them going to Muslim countries at exactly the same time slaves were crossing the Atlantic. And Arabs had been taking black slaves out of Africa, across the Sahara, for 900 years before America was even discovered—and a forced march across the desert was a lot worse than crossing the Atlantic. In this article about Africa’s first slavers—the Arabs—historian Paul Lovejoy estimates that over the centuries, Muslims took about 14 million blacks out of Africa [Recalling Africa’s harrowing tale of its first slavers – The Arabs – as UK Slave Trade Abolition is commemorated, March 27, 2018]. That is more than the 12 million who went to the New World.
And you might ask, where are the descendants of all those Middle Eastern slaves? America has millions of slave descendants. Why don’t you see lots of blacks in Saudi Arabia or Syria or Iraq? Arabs castrated black slaves so they wouldn’t have descendants.
Muslims were even more enthusiastic about enslaving white people. Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters, by Prof. Robert C. Davis is the best book on the subject. Remember the Barbary Pirates of North Africa? Between 1530 and 1780 they caught and enslaved more than a million white, European Christians. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Arabs took more white slaves south across the Mediterranean than there were blacks shipped across the Atlantic.
Mostly, Muslim pirates captured European ships and stole their crews. In just three years, from 1606 to 1609, the British navy admitted it had lost 466 British merchant ships to North African pirates [Counting European Slaves on the Barbary Coast Past & Present, August 2001]. Four hundred sixty-six ships in just three years. Arabs took American slaves. Between 1785 and 1793 Algerians captured 13 American ships in the Mediterranean and enslaved the crews. This is a 1804 battle between Arab pirates and the USS Enterprise.
It was only in 1815, after two wars, that the United States was finally free of the Barbary pirates.
Muslim pirates also organized huge, amphibious slave-catching assaults that practically depopulated the Italian coast. In 1544, Algerian raiders took 7,000 slaves in the Bay of Naples in a single raid. This drove the price of slaves so low it was said you could “swap a Christian for an onion.”
After a 1566 raid on Granada in Spain netted 4,000 men women, and children, it was said to be “raining Christians in Algiers.” Women were easier to catch than men, and were prized as sex slaves, so some coastal areas lost their entire child-bearing populations. One raid as far away as Iceland brought back 400 white slaves.
Prof. Davis notes that the trade in black Africans was strictly business, but Muslims had a jihad-like enthusiasm for stealing Christians. It was revenge for the Crusades and for the reconquest of Spain from the Arabs in 1492. When Muslim corsairs raided Europe, they made a point of desecrating churches and stealing church bells. The metal was valuable but stealing church bells silenced the voice of Christianity.
It was a tradition to parade newly captured Europeans through the streets so people could jeer at them, while children threw garbage at them. At the slave market, both men and women were stripped naked to evaluate their sexual value. In the North African capitals—Tunis, Algiers, Tripoli—there was a big demand for homosexual sex-slaves. Other Europeans were worked to death on farms or building projects.
Prof. Davis writes that unlike in North America, there were no limits on cruelty: “There was no countervailing force to protect the slave from his master’s violence: no local anti-cruelty laws, no benign public opinion, and rarely any effective pressure from foreign states.” Slaves were not just property, they were infidels, and deserved whatever suffering a master meted out.
For a man, there was a fate even worse than being a sex slave. Hundreds of thousands became galley slaves, often on slave-catching pirate ships. They were chained to their oars 24 hours a day, and could move only to the hole where the oar went through the hull—so they could relieve themselves. If the men were rowing, they fouled themselves. Galley slaves lived in a horrible stench, ate rotten food, were whipped by slave drivers and tormented by rats and lice. They could not lie down and had to sleep at their oars. Many never left their ships, even in port. Their job was to row until they died, and to be tossed overboard at the first sign of weakness.
And, of course, it was white people who abolished slavery, both in their own countries and, except for a few stubborn holdouts, the whole world. Africans, just like the Tlingit Indians, screamed about all the wealth we made them give up.
Targeting and killing Palestinian children could not accomplish what a decision by an ice cream company has achieved. To be sure, the visual impact of Israel’s recent onslaught on Gaza turned many against that country’s war crimes and its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, but what the Israeli government really has feared most is an economic and cultural boycott such as the one that brought down the apartheid regime in South Africa. That blow came last week when Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, which is sold in the food shops in the illegal-under-international-law Israeli settlements on the West Bank, would no longer market its product in those areas after the current contract with suppliers expires at the end of 2022.
Social media and mainstream media normally censor any posts or stories that are too critical of the Jewish state, but in this case the decision reverberated throughout the media as ice cream wars are both newsworthy and exceedingly rare. But the dramatic response by both Israeli politicians and their spear carriers in the US Congress indicated just how serious the move, little more than a gesture in practical terms, was considered to be.
There was also a touch of irony to the tale as Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were and still are both politically liberal Jewish New Yorkers who moved to Vermont to open their business. The fact is that they were not party to the decision as they had sold their company to British food and consumer home products conglomerate Unilever back in 2000, which is precisely the problem for the Israeli government. Even though Ben & Jerry’s has an independent board, its parent company Unilever is a major corporation. The fact that it accepted a decision that it knew would be extremely controversial is significant as there would have to have been a consensus over the issue by the company’s top executives and board as well by major shareholders. There are indeed reports that the independent board of Ben & Jerry’s wanted to boycott all of Israel but was restrained by Unilever management. Either way, for Israel it was perhaps the shape of things to come with other companies possibly following the Ben & Jerry example by limiting their involvement in the country’s economy or pulling out altogether.
The Unilever decision greatly boosted the morale of the perpetually under siege non-violent Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), which has been calling on companies and investors to support Palestinian human rights by isolating Israel economically. Israel’s government responded sharply even as it unleashed its Ministry of Strategic Affairs’ army of largely diaspora trolls on the internet, overwhelming the ice cream maker’s website and Facebook pages with a defense of Israel that included vile accusations of anti-Semitism.
The Israeli head of the Ben & Jerry subsidiary is also apparently refusing to go along with what is only a partial boycott, affecting the clearly illegal settlements. In a tweet, local CEO Avi Zinger wrote: “We are continuing to sell in all of Israel, and we will not surrender to the pressure of Unilever and the global Ben & Jerry’s.”
Israeli President Isaac Herzog immediately condemned the Ben & Jerry move, insisting that any boycotts of Israel over human rights concerns constitute “a new kind of terrorism.” Newly elected Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has also inevitably joined the chorus , labeling Ben & Jerry “anti-Israel ice cream.” Ironically, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also publicly called on his co-religionists to boycott Ben & Jerry, saying “Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy.” It was a complete reversal on Netanyahu’s part as he has argued vehemently against any boycott campaigns, particularly as they apply to Israel.
Also in Israel itself, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked visited the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory. She confirmed that Israeli authorities were already working with American Jewish and Christian Zionists, as well as other pro-Israel groups and Congress to pressure Unilever “until they change their despicable decision. Ben & Jerry’s International chose to suck up to terrorist and antisemitic organizations” and the government will engage in the “legal, consumer and diplomatic arenas” to reverse the decision.
It is no surprise that Israel is particularly pressing hard on what it perceives as a friendly audience in the United States. In a move coordinated with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who has himself tweeted “Ben & Jerry’s decision represents shameful surrender to antisemitism, to BDS and to all that is wrong with the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse. We will not be silent,” Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United States and the United Nations, called the move “the dehumanization of the Jewish people.” He reportedly has contacted the governors of the 35 states in America that have legislated against the BDS movement, demanding that they sanction or otherwise punish Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever over the decision. He wrote “I ask that you consider speaking out against the company’s decision, and taking any other relevant steps, including in relations to your state laws and the commercial dealings between Ben and Jerry’s and your state.” As two-thirds of US states have such legislation, including major large population states Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, California, Maryland and Texas the threat is a serious one, though the legislation and what it actually authorizes varies from state to state.
The anti-BDS legislation is widely regarded as unconstitutional as it would essentially eliminate free speech if the subject is Israel. It was recently successfully challenged in Georgia by journalist Abby Martin, who was denied the right to speak before a college group if she would not first sign a statement saying that she would not support any boycott of Israel.
Indeed, Jewish groups and spokesmen in the US are beginning to line up against the ice cream maker. Faux conservative talking head Ben Shapiro has announced to his audience that he will no longer eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Perhaps more significant, the ubiquitous Anti -Defamation League (ADL) has issued a statement on the decision “We are disappointed by this decision from @benandjerrys. You can disagree with policies without feeding into dangerous campaigns that seek to undermine Israel.” Meanwhile, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has written to the governors of the 35 states that have anti-BDS legislation and has demanded that they force their state pension funds to divest from Unilever.
And as ADL and the Conference of Presidents go, so too goes the US government. Predicably call-me-Zionist Joe Biden and the US State Department, which has Zionist Jews at its three top positions, added their two cents, confirming that the White House “firmly reject[s] the BDS movement, which unfairly singles out Israel.” And there are the usual sounds coming out of the Israeli firsters in Congress and elsewhere. Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma, for example, quickly called for “block[ing] the sale of all #Benandjerrys in the state and in any state-operated facility to align with our law.” Florida’s Ron DeSantis, self-described as America’s most pro-Israel governor, was also quick off the mark, instructing his state government to stop any purchases of Unilever products while Texas governor Greg Abbott called the move “disgraceful and an insult to America’s closest ally in the Middle East.” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has meanwhile committed himself to stop eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
If anyone does not have a problem with the behavior of Israel and its proxies in the United States I will attempt to explain. Wealthy Israel, which has been taking the United States taxpayer for a ride for over seventy years, is a major strategic liability for the US and a moral cesspit due to its genocidal policies towards the Palestinians and its incessant promotion of war within its region and beyond. Its president is now grossly hyperbolically referring to an ice cream company’s partial boycott as a “new form of terrorism.” In the current context, its Foreign Minister and Ambassador are also inter aliainterfering in US politics and our judiciary, openly calling on individual American states to take steps to sanction and punish a Vermont based ice cream company which made a business decision based on both moral and legal considerations.
Worse still, many Americans who claim to be ethical but who perversely function as corrupted politicians and media whores are fully on board with punishing Ben & Jerry, which is a direct assault on the Bill of Rights and serves no national interest whatsoever. If there is anything that better illustrates the toxicity of the lopsided relationship with Israel than what is taking place right now it is difficult to imagine just what that might be. Hopefully the decision by Unilever will backfire on the critics, encouraging rather than discouraging other companies to divest in Israel or boycott what it produces. They will be joined by the labor unions, university student representative bodies and mainstream churches that have already denounced apartheid Israel and signed on to BDS. That Israel and its friends are terrified of the possible consequences of the Ben & Jerry boycott is in fact good news. Hopefully the charade of one set of rules for Israel and one set of rules for everyone else will end and Americans will at last be freed from a relationship that has brought nothing but grief since 1948.
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.orgaddress is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is firstname.lastname@example.org