Ice-cream makers Ben & Jerry’s have ceased sales and manufacturing of their ice-cream in Palestinian territories occupied by Israel.
In a statement, Ben & Jerry’s said, “we believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).”
They explained that they will not renew their agreement with the licensee who manufactures and distributes Ben & Jerry’s in Israel. They went on to say that while they will not sell ice cream in the OPT, “we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement”.
Occupied Palestinian Territories are defined as the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The occupation of these territories by Israel has been described as illegal by the international community and international law.
Activists have long criticised the company’s ties to Israel.
Activists in Burlington, Vermont, are calling for a boycott of ice cream makers Ben & Jerry's for its decades-long business ties to Israel.
They are urging the company, known for supporting social justice issues, to divest from the country. pic.twitter.com/BIW19HAYp8
— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 14, 2021
View this post on Instagram
Ben & Jerry’s has made a name for itself as a socially conscious brand, having supported same-sex marriage, criticising former US President Donald Trump and, in Australia, giving free ice-cream to young people who enrolled to vote.
Last year, they were vocal about the Black Lives Matter movement, gaining praise for a statement they released in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by a white policeman. The brand has been particualarly vocal on Twitter.
However, when Israeli forces blockaded the Palestinian area of Sheikh Jarrah and stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Ben & Jerry’s social media account stayed quiet, not posting for two months. This prompted activists to start using the hashtag #HasBenAndJerrysTweeted Yet.
The brands’ social media silence was broken with the announcement about ending sales in Occupied Palestinian Territories.
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) July 19, 2021
The move has been criticised by members of the Israeli government, including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who described the move as “an immoral decision and I believe that it will turn out to be a business mistake, too.”
“Ben & Jerry’s has decided to brand itself as the anti-Israel ice cream.”
Yair Lapid, Isreal’s Foreign Minister described it as a “capitulation to antisemitism”.
It has been praised by others.
The Palestinian Boycott, Divest and Sanction National Committee, who wrote on Twitter that, “following years of #BDS campaigns @bandandjerrys has announced it will end sales of its ice cream in Israel’s illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land. We warmly welcome their decision but call on Ben & Jerry’s to end all operations in apartheid Israel.”
The boycott, divest and sanction movement calls for brands to boycott working with Israel in its entirety.
Wasel Abu Yousseff, who is a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said “we welcome the decision of any company to stop its work and investments in Israeli settlements.”
Featured Image: Instagram/@benandjerrys
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