Ben & Jerry’s to ‘end sales of our ice cream in the Occupied Palestinian Territory’
Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s will cease sales of their products in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in east Jerusalem, the company announced on Monday.
“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” Ben & Jerry’s said in a statement. “We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”
The company addressed that they have a long-standing relationship with the licensee who manufactures the ice cream in the region, adding that they won’t renew their license agreement when it expires at the end of 2022.
“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,” the company said.
— Ben & Jerry’s (@benandjerrys) July 19, 2021
This comes as the Vermont-based company drew criticism for being silent during the ongoing fighting between Israeli armed forces and Palestinian militant group Hamas at the Gaza strip in May, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called out Ben & Jerry’s for rebranding to be “antisemitic ice cream,” implying that there are many ice cream brands in the world but “One Israel.”
“The boycott of Israel – a democracy surrounded by isles of terrorism – reflects a complete loss of direction,” Bennett said. “The boycott isn’t working and it will not work, and we will fight it with everything we’ve got.”
Ben & Jerry’s has been known to use their platform on racial and social injustice in the past years, creating new ice cream flavors in support of criminal justice reform in 2019.