Ben & Jerry’s, which is owned by Unilever, will no longer sell ice cream in occupied Palestinian territories, saying it’s inconsistent with the values of the socially conscious brand. The ice cream company has been doing business in Israel since 1987. The Vermont-based company has aligned itself with liberal causes, including diverting some funds destined for police departments and investing “that money in community-driven solutions that foster real health, peacekeeping, and safety.” The company called on the United States to end white supremacy and launched a podcast on racism in America last year.
Customers have criticized the company for its business in Israel, particularly in West Bank settlements, arguing it doesn’t align with Ben & Jerry’s liberal image. In 2015, Ben & Jerry’s posted on its website that it was “keenly aware of how complex the local market can be,” and it believed it could affect positive change by maintaining a presence in the region. However on Monday, Ben & Jerry’s had a change of heart, saying it heard and recognized the concerns shared by its fans and partners. Ben & Jerry’s said it informed its licensee in Israel that its agreement will not be renewed when it expires at the end of 2022. After then, Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the Palestinian territories. The company’s ice cream will, however, continue to be sold in Israel, “through a different arrangement.”
Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, criticized the decision and said that Ben & Jerry’s has decided to brand itself as the”anti-Israel ice cream.” Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s minister of interior, tweeted, “Your ice cream is not in line with our taste,” she said. “We will manage without you.”
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