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Ben & Jerry’s Denounces Unilever’s Move to Stay in Israel

A woman holds Ben & Jerry's ice cream at her home in Jerusalem on July 19, 2021. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)
A woman holds Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at her home in Jerusalem on July 19, 2021. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)

Late Wednesday night, Ben & Jerry’s tweeted their dissatisfaction with Unilever’s announcement that they would continue selling ice cream throughout sovereign Israel and the West Bank.

Last July, the ice cream company stated that it would no longer allow its products to be distributed to Israelis in the West Bank and east Jerusalem – this would effectively have boycotted all of Israel.

The announcement from Ben and Jerrys’ parent company on Wednesday explained that Unilever sold all of its Ben and Jerry’s business interests in Israel to Avi Zinger, owner of licensee American Quality Products Ltd. Thus, the ice cream could be sold from the river to the sea without involving the Ben and Jerry’s America. As Ben and Jerry’s tweet explained, they “will no longer profit from Ben & Jerry’s in Israel.”

Representative Andrew R. Garbarino of New York issued a statement in reaction to Unilever’s decision: 

“The BDS movement is intrinsically anti-Semitic and is in conflict with laws throughout the U.S., including here in New York State. Singling out and discriminating against the only Jewish state is despicable and not who we are as Americans. I applaud Unilever for taking action to correct Ben & Jerry’s disgraceful boycott of our friend and ally Israel and for standing firm against hate.”

Ben & Jerry’s full statement

The Wednesday night Twitter thread came in three parts, reading: “We are aware of the Unilever announcement. While our parent company has taken this decision, we do not agree with it. Unilever’s arrangement means Ben and Jerry’s in Israel will be owned and operated by AQP. Our company will no longer profit from Ben & Jerry’s in Israel.”

“We continue to believe it is inconsistent with Ben & Jerry’s values for our ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the company added.

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