Friday , September 24 2021

The Ben & Jerry ice cream brand boycotts Israeli-occupied territories

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned Unilever Plc CEO Alan Jope that Ben & Jerry’s plans to halt sales in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem areas will have “serious legal and non-material repercussions.” “.

Bennett dit the Unilever ice cream brand had taken a “blatant step against Israel” and that the government would act aggressively against any boycott aimed at its citizens. The territories, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, are claimed by the Palestinians as the core of a future state.

Ben & Jerry’s, founded in Vermont in 1978, has a history of publicly embracing socially progressive causes, from same-sex marriage to the Black Lives Matter movement. When it was bought by consumer goods giant Unilever two decades ago, Ben & Jerry’s insisted on maintaining its own advice and maintaining independence over its social mission and brand integrity.

“We believe it is inconsistent with our values ​​for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in occupied Palestinian territory,” flavor maker Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey said this Monday in a statement.

The company plans to end a long-standing partnership by the end of next year with the licensee that manufactures Ben & Jerry’s in Israel and distributes it in the region.

There are indications that the controversial decision is testing the relationship between Ben & Jerry’s and his parents.

According to NBC News, Anuradha Mittal, chairwoman of the ice cream maker’s board of directors, said the statement Unilever released on its behalf (saying Ben & Jerry’s will remain in Israel) was not approved by the group. supervises, as it should have been.

“I’m sad for the deception,” Mittal said, according to NBC. “It’s not about Israel. It’s about violating the acquisition agreement that kept the company’s soul alive.”

“Fully committed”

In a separate statement, Unilever said it has always recognized the right of Ben & Jerry’s and its board to make decisions about its social mission and welcomes the fact that the ice cream brand stays in Israel.

Unilever remains “fully committed to our presence in Israel, where we have invested in our people, brands and businesses for several decades,” said the company, which declined to comment further.

Unilever shares rose 0.6% at 10:39 a.m. on trading in London, leaving them little changed so far this year.

Israel has successfully resisted boycotts in the past. Two years ago, Airbnb backtracked on a controversial decision to stop renting houses in Jewish settlements in the West Bank after hosts in the disputed region demanded the start-up of the house.

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