Ben & Jerry’s Will End All Sales In Occupied Palestinian Territory
Ben & Jerry’s have always mixed in politics along with their ice cream, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that just one day after celebrating “National Ice Cream Day”, the company has announced it will cease all sales in the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, following “concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”
The Vermont-based ice cream company, which launched in 1978, has long been associated with progressive values. Last year, following the murder of George Floyd, the company added a special section of its website devoted to combating white supremacy.
In a press release on their website dated July 19, 2021, Ben & Jerry keep their statement short and to the point.
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.
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.
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.
Until Monday’s announcement, Ben & Jerry’s had conspicuously refrained from weighing in on Israeli-Palestinian affairs. So while it has readily marked the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling barring school segregation in the 1950’s and condemned the January 6th U.S. Capitol attack as a riot for white supremacy, the company did not mention Israel or Palestine even as the flare-up in May grabbed headlines around the world.
Like some of their flavors, the reactions to the announcement were mixed.
Ben & Jerry's says it will stop selling its ice cream in occupied Palestinian territory.
It has a factory in Israel and has faced calls for a boycott for selling its products in illegal Israeli settlements. It has been silent on Twitter since May when Israel attacked Gaza. pic.twitter.com/Sw97oSm9S5
— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 19, 2021
— BDS movement (@BDSmovement) July 19, 2021
You can both recognize that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream needs to be pushed more while also recognizing that this is still a huge win. How often do big brands support Palestine in any aspect?
— d rose #SaveSilwan #SaveSheikhJarrah (@drosepali) July 19, 2021
Ben & Jerry’s decision represents shameful surrender to antisemitism, to BDS and to all that is wrong with the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse.
We will not be silent.
— יאיר לפיד – Yair Lapid🟠 (@yairlapid) July 19, 2021