Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream To Stop Sales In “Occupied Palestinian Territory”

12
(AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Ben & Jerry’s said Monday it was going to stop selling its ice cream in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory”, saying the sales are “inconsistent with our values.”

In a statement posted on the company’s website, the Vermont-based ice cream maker says it recognizes “the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”

“We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region,” the statement said. “We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year.”

The statement did not explicitly identify the concerns raised, but last month, a group called Vermonters for Justice in Palestine called on Ben & Jerry’s to “end complicity in Israel’s occupation and abuses of Palestinian human rights.”

PM Bennett responded to the news by issuing the following statement:

“There are many ice cream brands, but only one Jewish state. Ben & Jerry’s has decided to brand itself as the anti-Israel ice cream. This decision is morally wrong and I believe that it will become clear that it is also commercially wrong. The boycott against Israel – a democracy surrounded by islands of terrorism – reflects a total loss of way. The boycott does not work and will not work, and we will fight it with full force.”

“How much longer will Ben & Jerry’s permit its Israeli-manufactured ice cream to be sold in Jewish-only settlements while Palestinian land is being confiscated, Palestinian homes are being destroyed, and Palestinian families in neighborhoods like Sheik Jarrah are facing eviction to make way for Jewish settlers?” the organization’s Ian Stokes said in a June 10 news release.

Founded in Vermont in 1978, but currently owned by consumer goods conglomerate Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s has not shied away from social causes. While many businesses tread lightly in politics for fear of alienating customers, the ice cream maker has taken the opposite approach, often espousing progressive causes.

Ben & Jerry’s took a stand against what it called the Trump administration’s regressive policies by rebranding one of its flavors Pecan Resist in 2018, ahead of midterm elections.

The company said Pecan Resist celebrated activists who were resisting oppression, harmful environmental practices and injustice. As part of the campaign, Ben & Jerry’s said it was giving $25,000 each to four activist entities.

Aida Touma-Sliman, an Israeli lawmaker with the Joint List of Arab parties, wrote on Twitter that Ben and Jerry’s decision Monday was “appropriate and moral.” She added that the “occupied territories are not part of Israel” and that the move is an important step to “help pressure the Israeli government to end the occupation.”

While Ben & Jerry’s products will not be sold in the settlements, the company will stay in Israel through a different arrangement.

The Yesha Council, an umbrella group representing the roughly 500,000 Israelis living in West Bank settlements, said “there’s no need to buy products from companies that boycott hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens because of the place they choose to live.” It said Ben & Jerry’s decision “brought a bad spirit to such a sweet industry” and called on Israelis to buy locally produced ice cream this summer.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the decision “a shameful capitulation to antisemitism, BDS and everything bad in the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse.” He said he is going to take the issue to the more than 30 states that have legislation against the anti-Israel boycott movement.

For its part, the BDS movement applauded Ben & Jerry’s decision as “a decisive step towards ending the company’s complicity in Israel’s occupation and violations of Palestinian rights,” but called upon the company to do more.

“We hope that Ben & Jerry’s has understood that, in harmony with its social justice commitments, there can be no business as usual with apartheid Israel,” a statement read.

(AP)


12 COMMENTS

  1. While I am quite sure that their new “policy” is motivated more by worrying about their bottom line and where they stand to make the most money, than by some imaginary and absurd moral compass, I still feel that is a disgusting move on their part
    I would love to see the Rabbanim remove their hechsher from all their products
    I for one will definitely not be patronizing them and am even considering taking on cholov Yisroel so as not to even be tempted For that matter I think all Jews, religious or not, should take on cholov Yisroel so as not to give them any business (and no, I am not Lubavitcher)

  2. Can someone please explain how not selling ice cream to Muslims will hurt Israelis? The only benefit I can see to the Muslims in these areas is that this may now significantly lower their chance of coronary disease as they won’t be able to get their sugar laden, fat full ice cream. Is this just a symptom of the mental disorder know as liberalism or is there possibly some sense in all of this?

  3. Congratulations Aron’s Kisena Farms for removing all Ben & Jerry’s products from his stores! We support Aron’s! Way to go! Chaveirim Kol Yisrael.

  4. Congratulations Aron’s Kisena Farms for removing all Ben & Jerry’s products from his stores! We support Aron’s! Way to go! Chaveirim Kol Yisrael.
    (Copied from Wong Chu)

  5. Ben and Jerry’s tastes nasty anyways. Haagen Daz is much better and actually got its name because it was “Danish-sounding”. It was named as a tribute to Denmark, honoring their good treatment of Jews during World War II.

    Unilever owns many companies including,
    Ben & Jerry’s; Bovril; Colman’s; Cornetto; Flora; Hellmann’s; I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter; Knorr; Magnum; Marmite; Pot Noodle; Wall’s; Lipton; Lyons tea; PG Tips; Comfort; Domestos; Dove; Lynx; Persil; Radox; Sure; Surf; Timotei; Tresemme; Vaseline

    May be a good idea to boycott them

  6. editor please modify my comment:
    Now is time to tell Ben & Jerry that we do not intend to buy their ice cream in the lower 48 states anymore
    it doesn’t conform to moral obligations

  7. I think it’s important to note, that Ben and Jerry is Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. Both hardcore liberal self hating Jews.