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Ben & Jerry’s objects to sale of its ice cream in West Bank

A brand new settlement in Israel will put Ben & Jerry’s ice cream again on cabinets in annexed east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank regardless of the ice cream maker’s protest of Israeli insurance policies, in accordance to Unilever, the company that owns the model.

But it is unclear if the product, which might solely be bought with Hebrew and Arabic lettering, would nonetheless attraction to followers of Ben & Jerry’s. 

The Vermont company, which has lengthy backed liberal causes, took to social media to state its opposition to Unilever’s choice. “We continue to believe it is inconsistent with Ben & Jerry’s values for our ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” tweeted the company, which famous it might not revenue from the model in Israel.

Israel hailed the transfer as a victory in its ongoing marketing campaign in opposition to the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions motion. BDS goals to convey financial stress to bear on Israel over its navy occupation of lands the Palestinians need for a future state.

Unilever, which acquired Ben & Jerry’s in 2000 however distanced itself from the ice cream maker’s choice final year to halt gross sales in the territories, mentioned Wednesday that it had bought its business curiosity in Israel to a neighborhood company that will promote Ben & Jerry’s ice cream underneath its Hebrew and Arabic identify all through Israel and the West Bank.


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When Ben & Jerry’s was bought, the businesses agreed that the ice cream maker’s impartial board can be free to pursue its social mission, together with longstanding assist for a lot of liberal causes — racial justice, local weather motion, LGBTQ rights and marketing campaign finance reform. But Unilever would have the ultimate phrase on monetary and operational choices.

Unilever mentioned it has “used the opportunity of the past year to listen to perspectives on this complex and sensitive matter and believes this is the best outcome for Ben & Jerry’s in Israel.”

In its assertion, Unilever reiterated that it doesn’t assist the BDS motion. It mentioned it was “very proud” of its business in Israel, the place it employs round 2,000 individuals and has 4 manufacturing crops.

Unilever bought the business to Avi Zinger, the proprietor of Israel-based American Quality Products Ltd, who had sued Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s in March in a U.S. federal courtroom over the termination of their business relationship, saying it violated U.S. and Israeli legislation.

Zinger’s authorized workforce mentioned the choice by Unilever was half of a settlement. He thanked Unilever for resolving the matter and for the “strong and principled stand” it has taken in opposition to BDS. “There is no place for discrimination in the commercial sale of ice cream,” Zinger mentioned.

“Just a pint of ice cream”

Reaction to the brand new settlement arrived shortly, nonetheless.

Omar Shakir, the director of Human Rights Watch for Israel and the Palestinian territories, mentioned Unilever seeks to undermine Ben & Jerry’s “principled decision” to keep away from complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, which his group says quantity to apartheid. Israel adamantly rejects that characterization.

“It won’t succeed: Ben & Jerry’s won’t be doing business in illegal settlements. What comes next may look and taste similar, but, without Ben & Jerry’s recognized social justice values, it’s just a pint of ice cream.”

Israel hailed the choice and thanked governors and different elected officers in the United States and elsewhere for supporting its marketing campaign in opposition to BDS. It mentioned Unilever consulted its Foreign Ministry all through the method.

“Antisemitism will not defeat us, not even when it comes to ice-cream,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid mentioned. “We will fight delegitimization and the BDS campaign in every arena, whether in the public square, in the economic sphere or in the moral realm.”

BDS, an umbrella group supported by nearly all of Palestinian civil society, calls itself a non-violent protest motion modeled on the boycott marketing campaign in opposition to apartheid South Africa. It doesn’t undertake an official position on how the Israeli-Palestinian battle ought to be resolved, and it formally rejects antisemitism.


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Israel views BDS as an assault on its very legitimacy, in half as a result of of excessive views held by some of its supporters. Israel additionally factors to the group’s assist for a proper of return for tens of millions of Palestinian refugees — which might spell the tip of Israel as a Jewish-majority state — and BDS leaders’ refusal to endorse a two-state answer to the battle.

Ben & Jerry’s choice was not a full boycott, and appeared to be aimed toward Israel’s settlement enterprise. Some 700,000 Jewish settlers dwell in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, which Israel annexed and considers half of its capital. Israel captured each territories in the 1967 Mideast warfare, and the Palestinians need them to be half of their future state.

Most of the worldwide group views the settlements as a violation of worldwide legislation. The Palestinians think about them the primary impediment to peace as a result of they take up and divide up the land on which a future Palestinian state can be established. Every Israeli authorities has expanded settlements, together with through the top of the peace course of in the Nineteen Nineties.

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