Jul 20, 2021

Israel warns Unilever over Ben & Jerry’s ice cream boycott

Israel's prime minister has warned Unilever's chief executive of "Severe consequences" after its Ben & Jerry's brand announced it would stop selling ice cream in the occupied Palestinian territories. Ben & Jerry's has an independent board, whose role was enshrined in the deal made when the UK group acquired the Vermont-based ice cream maker more than two decades ago. Although it correctly stated that Ben & Jerry's intended to withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories, the Ben & Jerry's board complained about an explicit reference, added by Unilever, to continuing selling ice cream in Israel. The consumer goods industry had regarded Ben & Jerry's deal with Unilever as a trailblazing example of a brand known for strong ethical stances retaining that emphasis even as it was sold to a multinational. Ben & Jerry's has strongly supported the Black Lives Matter movement and acted before Unilever last year in joining a boycott of advertising on Facebook in a protest against racist and hateful content.

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