“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” read a statement. Israeli PM Bennett called it a “moral” and “business mistake.”
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
In a victory for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement, popular ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s announced that it will no longer sell its products in Judea and Samaria.
“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” read a statement from the company.
“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.”
The statement came two months after social media users blasted the brand for not supporting the Palestinians during the May 2021 Gaza – Israel clash.
After carefully cultivating a social media presence focused on left-wing activism, many people lobbied criticism of the brand for suddenly ceasing to post in the aftermath of Operation of Operation Guardian of the Walls.
Earlier in 2021, the brand’s Twitter account called for the police to be defunded, the end of protections from prosecutions for police officers, which it deemed a “racist” policy, and for the “dismantling of the prison industrial complex.”
The ice cream brand even slammed UK Home Secretary Priti Patel for her statements about enforcing UK border law, accusing her of showing a “lack of humanity for people fleeing war, climate change and torture.”
The brand was founded in the 1970s by Jewish-American friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. It was purchased by the multinational company Unilever in 2000 for some $326 million.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett responded to the announcement on Twitter, writing “Ben & Jerry’s decided to brand itself as anti-Israel ice cream. This is a moral mistake and I believe it will turn out to be a business mistake as well.
“Boycotting Israel — a democracy surrounded by islands of terrorism — reflects how they have completely lost their way. The boycott does not work and never will; we will fight it with all our might.”
While some Twitter users praised Ben & Jerry’s decision, many said the decision didn’t go far enough.
The statement implied that while Israel would no longer sell its products in Judea and Samaria, it will still be available in the rest of Israel.
“The right thing is to boycott Israel as Israel is an apartheid state. Hopefully Israel will have gotten rid of its apartheid system in 100 years,” wrote one user.
“Total pr stunt! So, you’ll not sell your product in ‘OPT’ but you will sell it in Israel, who are actual occupiers of the ‘OPT’?? Add to that, that israel is itself occupied Palestinian Territory, like wtf?? Why not simply revise to sell your product in Israel full stop!” wrote another user.
One bemused pro-Israel user responded, “I think my favorite part of this is that Ben and Jerry’s virtue signaling still wasn’t enough for people. An ice cream maker boycotts one place on a planet full of far worse human rights abuses, and people are mad that they don’t boycott all of Israel.
“Good job guys. Thumbs up,” he wrote sarcastically.