Social movement pressure freezes ice cream sales in Israeli settlements

Ben & Jerry's truck. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

JVL Introduction

Ben & Jerry’s prides itself on being an ethical company.

So – not before time – it has bowed to social movement pressure and acknowledged that it should not be allowing its products to be sold in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Slowly, slowly the mood in the United States is changing…

This article was originally published by Ha'aretz on Mon 19 Jul 2021. Read the original here.

Ben & Jerry's Freezes Ice Cream Sales in Israeli Settlements

Vermont-based company says Ben & Jerry’s ice cream will stay in Israel through a different arrangement, but won’t be sold in settlements

WASHINGTON – Ben & Jerry’s announced Monday that it would end sales of ice cream in the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, following “concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”

“Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT [Occupied Palestinian territories], we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement. We will share an update on this as soon as we’re ready,” it added.

The Vermont-based ice cream company has long been associated with progressive values, though faced vocal criticism during the Israel-Hamas conflict in May. Ben & Jerry’s hasn’t posted on its social media accounts since being bombarded with criticism for licensing a factory in Israel which provides Israeli settlements with products.

In its statement, Ben & Jerry’s also said: “We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region. We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year.”

In response, the Yesha Council, an umbrella organization of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, said it hopes Ben & Jerry’s backtracks on its decision, and in the meantime urged Israelis to buy local ice cream instead of Ben & Jerry’s. “In the hot summer days, we urge Israelis around the country to eat delicious, sweet Israeli ice cream. There’s no need to buy products from companies that boycott hundreds of thousands of citizens of the State of Israel because of where they chose to live,” they said in a statement.

“We hope that the Ben & Jerry’s company will walk back this discriminatory decision, which brings a bitter spirit to such a sweet area.”

David Ha’Ivri, of the Samaria Regional Council, told Haaretz: “I don’t tend to mix ice cream and politics. Currently Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is available in local supermarkets. Sometimes we buy their products and take home even though they are substantially more expensive than local brands. If they choose to pull out of our stores it will be their loss and gain only to their competition.”

Americans for Peace Now, the U.S. sister organization to Israel’s left-wing Peace Now, praised the move, congratulating Ben & Jerry’s “for making a principled distinction between sovereign Israel and Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are illegal and illegitimate.”

Comments (3)

  • Graeme Atkinson says:

    Founded by two nice Jewish lads as well. Good on ‘em.

  • Doug says:

    This week i shall mostly be eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream

  • Doug says:

    My grandson makes a mean knickerbocker glory, this week it will be a mean Ben & Jerry’s knickerbocker glory

Comments are now closed.