Multinational consumer goods company Unilever has sold its Ben & Jerry’s ice cream business in Israel to its local licensee for an undisclosed sum, after the United States brand announced last year that it would stop marketing products in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, saying it was “inconsistent” with its values.Under the new arrangement, announced on Wednesday, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream will be available to all consumers in Israel and the occupied West Bank, including in Jewish settlements.
Ben & Jerry’s expressed its disagreement with its parent company’s decision, saying that, despite the company no longer profiting from Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sold in illegally-occupied territories, their position had not changed.
“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 said on Twitter.
We are aware of the Unilever announcement. While our parent company has taken this decision, we do not agree with it.
— Ben & Jerry’s (@benandjerrys) June 29, 2022
Ben & Jerry’s Jewish founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, no longer manage the brand but are well known for their commitment to social justice, with recently expressed strong support for the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ+ rights and electoral campaign finance reform.
The episode has highlighted the challenges facing consumer brands that have backed progressive causes and attempted to also take a stand on Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, such as San Francisco-based Airbnb, which in 2019 reversed its …