Unilever deal ends Ben & Jerry’s anti-Israel boycott in hit to BDS

Unilever distances itself from BDS, announces new deal to allow sale of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to Israelis in Judea and Samaria.

By World Israel News Staff

British consumer goods giant Unilever announced Wednesday the end of an anti-Israel ice cream boycott that drew heavy criticism, triggered sanctions by some US states, and even provoked a lawsuit.

In a statement, Unilever said it has secured a “new arrangement” for the sale of its Ben & Jerry’s brand ice cream “throughout Israel and the West Bank”. The ice cream will now be sold exclusively under its Hebrew and Arabic names.

The move effectively ends the boycott of Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria the company imposed in July 2021.

As part of the new arrangement, Unilever has sold its Israeli rights to the Ben & Jerry’s brand to Avi Zinger, owner of American Quality Products Ltd, the company which hitherto had distributed the ice cream in Israel as a licensee.

The deal will allow the sale of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream across Israel, including in Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, without Unilever’s direct involvement in the sales.

“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.

Unilever agreed to the change after consultations with the Israeli government, the company said, calling the issue “complex and sensitive”.

“Unilever has used the opportunity of the past year to listen to perspectives on this complex and sensitive matter and believes this is the best outcome for Ben & Jerry’s in Israel. The review included extensive consultation over several months, including with the Israeli Government.”

The company “unequivocally” condemned any form of discrimination or intolerance, saying anti-Semitism “has no place in any society”. Unilever also distanced itself from the anti-Israel BDS movement, without explicitly condemning it.

“We have never expressed any support for the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement and have no intention of changing that position.”