Ben & Jerry’s loses case to prevent selling ice cream in Judea and Samaria

A Manhattan judge rejected the ice cream maker’s claim that the products sold by local Israeli operations would confuse customers.

By World Israel News Staff

Ben & Jerry’s has lost a bid to prevent its ice cream from being sold in Judea and Samaria, Reuters reported Monday evening.

A year ago, in July 2021, the ice cream company announced that it would 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.

In a New York Times guest essay following the announcement, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the American Jewish businessmen who founded Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Holdings in 1978, gloated, “We’re Ben and Jerry. Men of ice cream, men of principle.”

A federal court in New York on Monday did not agree with the ice cream maker’s assessment that the sale by its parent company, Unilever, of its Israeli operations to local franchisee, Avi Zinger, would harm its brand.

In his ruling on Monday, District Judge Andrew Carter rejected the idea that customers would be confused if Zinger offered products that carry a message that might conflict with Ben & Jerry’s own, saying it was “too speculative.”

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“Ben & Jerry’s has offered no evidence of such confusion or the impact of the alleged confusion,” Carter wrote, according to Reuters.

Ben & Jerry’s original announcement that it would no longer offer its products “in occupied Palestinian territory” was hailed as a victory for the BDS movement.

But the blowback was massive, and prompted Unilever’s stock prices to plunge, with losses estimated at around $26 billion. Several U.S. states divested their pension funds from Unilever in line with anti-BDS laws — totaling an additional $1 billion.

Unilever’s sale to Zinger, announced in June, angered Ben & Jerry‘s board members, who said that it violated the terms of the takeover deal struck with it. Board members of the woke ice cream company revealed that Unilever had failed to pay their salaries, which they said was a “pressure tactic” to drop the case against it.