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20th Jul 2021

Israeli PM vows to take ‘aggressive’ action over Ben & Jerry’s ban

Kieran Galpin


Ice Cream brand boycotts Occupied Palestinian Territory.

American ice-cream brand Ben and Jerry’s have said they would no longer sell their products within Palestinian territories currently occupied by Israel. The West Bank and East Jerusalem have been under Israeli control since 1967, after the illegal annexation of the Palestinian people.

“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 brand writes on their website.

“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.

“Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy,” tweets former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Ben & Jerry’s has decided to brand itself as the anti-Israeli ice cream,” said current PM Naftali Bennett. However, despite Bennett claiming the ice cream company is anti-Israeli, the brand has reassured that this is not the case at all:

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

This isn’t the first time the ice cream brand has taken a stance on huge social issues. They reported on the invasion of Capitol Hill and Black Lives Matter, where other brands remained silent.

UK firm Unilever, which has owned Ben & Jerry’s since 2000, says the decision was taken and announced by Ben & Jerry’s and its independent board.

 “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a very complex and sensitive situation,” they said.

“As a global company, Unilever’s brands are available in more than 190 countries and in all of them, our priority is to serve consumers with essential products that contribute to their health, wellbeing and enjoyment.”

Current Israeli PM Naftali Benett has responded to the move made by the ice cream brand. The boycott would have “serious consequences”, says the PM, noting that the boycott was a “clearly anti-Israel step”.

He also said that Ben and Jerry’s and its parent company would face “serious consequences, legal and otherwise, and that [Israel] will act aggressively against all boycott actions directed against its citizens”.