Jun 30, 2022

Ben & Jerry’s criticises parent group Unilever over Israel sale

Ben & Jerry's has said it disagrees with parent company Unilever's move to end a row over ice cream sales in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, highlighting the discord between the Vermont-based manufacturer and the UK consumer goods group. On Wednesday Unilever announced it was selling its Ben & Jerry's business in Israel to a local licensee, overriding an earlier decision by the brand to stop sales in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in an apparent protest at Israeli occupation. Ben & Jerry's, which was acquired by Unilever in 2000 but retained an independent board, said: "While our parent company has taken this decision, we do not agree with it . . . 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 sale to Avi Zinger's American Quality Products brought to an end a year-long dispute over the Ben & Jerry's policy, which had attracted a lawsuit and a ferocious reaction from the Israeli government and US politicians. The opposition to the sale from Ben & Jerry's has called into question how much autonomy its independent board is able to exercise in practice.

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