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July 19, 2021 1:37 pm

Ben & Jerry’s to End Ice-Cream Sales in West Bank

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Tubs of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, a Unilever brand, are seen at their shop in London, Britain, October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

American ice-cream brand Ben & Jerry’s on Monday said it will stop marketing its products in “the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” saying that selling there was “inconsistent” with company values.

The South Burlington, Vermont-based company, which is owned by Britain’s Unilever Plc, has come under pressure from pro-Palestinian groups over its business in Israel and Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which is handled through a licensee partner since 1987.

On Monday, Ben & Jerry’s said it would not renew its license agreement with its Israeli partner when it expires at the end of next year. It will, however, stay in Israel under a different arrangement, without sales in the Palestinian territories.

Unilever, in a separate statement, said it remains “fully committed” to its presence in Israel. It said it has always recognized Ben & Jerry’s right “to take decisions about its social mission.”

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“We also welcome the fact that Ben & Jerry’s will stay in Israel,” Unilever said.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the move was a “morally wrong decision” that would also prove to be a financial mistake.

“There are many ice creams, but we have only one country,” he said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called it a “shameful surrender to antisemitism, to BDS and to all that is wrong with the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse.”

Ben & Jerry’s operates a manufacturing facility and two scoop shops in Israel, which it describes on its website as being located “outside the occupied territories, just south of Tel Aviv.”

Ben & Jerry’s was acquired by Unilever in 2000 in a unique deal that allows it to operate with more autonomy than other subsidiaries.

It uses that independence to pursue a cultural and social mission that has recently included strongly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ+ rights and electoral campaign finance reform.

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