Ben & Jerry’s Ice-Cream Takes Unilever to Court Over Israeli Settlements

Published July 7th, 2022 - 06:14 GMT
Ben & Jerry's Ice-cream Takes Unilever to courts over Israeli Settlements
A motorist drives past a closed "Ben & Jerry's" ice-cream shop in the Israeli city of Yavne, about 30 kilometres south of Tel Aviv, on July 23, 2021. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)
Highlights
Unilever is the parent company of Ben & Jerry's Ice-cream.

Last July, American Ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's announced ending its sales in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, while maintaining sales in other Israeli cities, citing its long-standing social activism mission as the reason behind its decision.

The Ben & Jerry's pause of sales in Israeli settlements in July 2021 came only two months after an Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip, one that had prompted worldwide protests calling for an end to the Israeli military occupation of territories occupied in 1967, which is deemed illegal according to international law.

Consequently, Ben & Jerry's independent board decided to end operations in the West Bank, a decision that was reserved last week by Ben & Jerry's parent company, Unilever, as it sealed a deal selling the Israeli branch of its Ben & Jerry’s business to American Quality Products, to allow ice-cream sales in Israel and its settlements in the West Bank to proceed.

Ben & Jerry's Israel

Source

Ben & Jerry’s considered the decision to sell its products in Israeli settlements despite their 2021 announcement as "undermining" to its "social integrity".

Challenging the parent company, Ben & Jerry’s board decided last Friday to sue Unilever, based on the agreement they signed when Ben & Jerry’s was acquired by Unilever in 2000, according to which the ice cream maker kept the right to "make decisions about its social mission".

Founded in 1978 in Burlington, Vermont, Ben & Jerry’s is known for its long record of advocacy for social justice. Following their decision to stop operations in the occupied West Bank, Ben & Jerry’s faced strong backlash from pro-Israeli voices, accusing the company of "antisemitism and targeting Jews".


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