Ben & Jerry’s will continue to be sold in the West Bank, the multinational corporation Unilever announced, a year after the ice cream producer announced that it would no longer sell its product in what it called the Occupied Palestinian Territories, once its agreement with its Israeli distributor expires in 18 months. Unilever announced on Wednesday that it has sold its business interests in Israel to Avi Zinger, the owner of American Quality Products (AQP), the current Israel-based licensee. “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 in a statement.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and CEO of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, was informed of the decision personally in a phone call Wednesday morning from Unilever CEO Alan Jope, the organization said in a statement. “We commend Unilever for finally doing the right thing and putting an end to the anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, and anti-peace boycott by extremists on Ben and Jerry’s Board,” Hier and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWC’s associate dean and director of Social Global Action, said in a joint statement.
“Unilever rejects completely and repudiates unequivocally any form of discrimination or intolerance,” Unilever said in its statement. “Antisemitism has no place in any society. We have never expressed any support for the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement and have no intention of changing that position.”
“We are aware of the Unilever announcement,” said Ben & Jerry’s in a statement. “While our parent company has taken this decision, we do not agree with it. Unilever’s arrangement means Ben and Jerry’s in Israel will be owned and operated by AQP. Our company will no longer profit from Ben & Jerry’s in Israel. We continue to believe it is inconsistent with Ben & Jerry’s values for our ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the company added.