Ben & Jerry’s Israel Boycott Ends

Ben & Jerry's Israel Boycott Ends

The Ice Cream Feud Ends

( – Last summer ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s announced it would be boycotting the selling of its products in Jerusalem’s eastern and West Bank areas. The famous ice cream company quickly drew criticism over the boycott, with claims the company shared anti-Semitic views and unfairly singled-out Israel. Now, nearly a year later, the boycott has come to an end.

Ending the Boycott

Daily Caller noted that Ben & Jerry’s originally announced its boycott was due to what the company claimed was “an internationally recognized illegal occupation.” The company’s decision came after a war between Gaza and Israel, which ended with a ceasefire after only 11 days. The founders claimed the conflict wasn’t in line with their values.

Despite their reasoning, many people considered the move to be discriminatory. In a statement from the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), the organization detailed CEO of Unilever, parent company of Ben & Jerry’s, Alan Jope’s call with Rabbi Marvin Hier to tell him they were pulling the boycott.

Unilever asserted in a statement that the company had sold the business rights of Ben & Jerry’s in Israel to the owner of American Quality Products (AQP), Avi Zinger. The statement added that Ben & Jerry’s would no longer hold any authority over Zinger or the company’s name in Hebrew or Arabic. Unilever declared in its statement that it has full authority to make this decision, citing the agreement the company made with Ben & Jerry’s back in 2000.

Binding Agreement

According to The Wall Street Journal, Zinger filed a lawsuit against the ice cream company back in March, claiming Ben & Jerry’s had pledged to extend licensing with AQP after it expired in 2022. Unilever’s statement noted that it had the chance to speak with local stakeholders and get several perspectives on the matter, which ultimately led to its decision to allow Zinger to take full ownership of the brand’s Hebrew and Arabic names and continue to sell the product in Israel. However, AQP will not have the right to sell the ice cream under the English name.

Rabbis Hier and Abraham Cooper commended the parent company in a joint SWC statement “for finally doing the right thing.” The rabbis also accused members of the Ben & Jerry’s board of being “extremists,” claiming their boycott was “anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, and anti-peace.”

Founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have no say in the financial or operational decisions; they’re only granted the right to make decisions about the company’s social mission, which the Unilever statement pointed out. In other words, Cohen and Greenfield had no authority to stop the sale of its product in Israel and can’t stop future sales in the country.

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