Ben & Jerry’s Israel Reports Rise in Local Sales as CEO Calls for Campaign to Reverse Boycott
Ben & Jerry’s Israel said it has seen its sales grow in a sign of solidarity after the US ice-cream brand decided to nix the license agreement with its local partner
“Since the morning hours, there has been a significant increase in the purchase of our ice creams — more than 21% from a normal day. Do not stop! We need to mobilize all necessary forces to put pressure on Unilever, the owners of Ben & Jerry’s Global, to turn the bowl upside down,” Ben & Jerry’s Israel said Tuesday. “We call on everyone to stand by us and the hundreds of Israeli workers who may be harmed by the global BDS pressures. We will continue to sell throughout Israel and to all Israelis.”
Meanwhile, a number of chain stores have said they are pulling or are considering pulling Ben & Jerry’s ice cream from their freezers, in protest of the ice-cream maker’s call to stop selling its products in what it termed “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” including Jewish West Bank settlements and areas of east Jerusalem, as it was “inconsistent” with company values.
The Vermont-based Ben & Jerrys, which is owned by the UK’s Unilever, had faced pressure from pro-Palestinian groups over its business in Israel. The company said Monday it would not renew its license agreement with its current Israeli partner, but will seek to continue to sell ice cream in the country under a different arrangement, and without sales in the Palestinian territories.
Ben & Jerry’s Israel CEO Avi Zinger claimed that he had refused to heed a demand by the global Ben & Jerry’s company to stop selling ice cream to West Bank settlements and areas of east Jerusalem, leading to Monday’s decision.
“We will not succumb to the pressure and boycott of Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s Global,” said Zinger. “Ice cream is not part of politics. We call on Israelis to continue to buy Israeli products that support hundreds of workers in the southern region.”