Ben & Jerry’s Parent Company Ends Israel Boycott

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Ben & Jerry’s will continue to sell its products in Israel and the West Bank, its parent company announced Wednesday, reversing the ice cream company’s year-long boycott.

Unilever said Ben & Jerry’s will sell its products under Hebrew and Arabic names, after it sold its Ben & Jerry’s business interests in Israel to Avi Zinger, the Israeli distributor and manufacturer.

“The new arrangement means Ben & Jerry’s will be sold under its Hebrew and Arabic names throughout Israel and the West Bank under the full ownership of its current licensee,” Unilever said in a statement.

Ben and Jerry’s announced their boycott of Israel in July of 2021, stating that selling ice cream there goes against their values “of advocating for human rights, and economic and social justice.”

“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners,” the company wrote at the time.

Unilever realized “it had to find a way out of the mess it was in” and “found a way to bypass Ben & Jerry’s,” Zinger said in a radio appearance, according to The Times Of Israel.

“Avi Zinger is able to and has the right to continue selling the same Ben & Jerry’s ice cream he’s been selling for 35 years in those areas forever, in perpetuity. It’s his,” Alyza Lewin, president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, which represented Zinger, said in a statement to The Times Of Israel.

Zinger now has the exclusive rights to the Ben & Jerry’s logo, and will no longer use English branding, according to the outlet.

Unilever’s decision was “a stunning unequivocal defeat for the global [Boycott, Divest, Sanctions] BDS Movement,” International Legal Forum (ILF) CEO Arsen Ostrovsky, an Israeli human rights attorney who was among the first people to initiate a lawsuit in the U.S. against Ben & Jerry’s, said in a statement.

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