Ben & Jerry’s Denounces Sales in West Bank, East Jerusalem as ‘Against Our Values’

Milton Quintanilla | CrosswalkHeadlines Contributor | Updated: Mar 22, 2024
Ben & Jerry’s Denounces Sales in West Bank, East Jerusalem as ‘Against Our Values’

Ben & Jerry’s Denounces Sales in West Bank, East Jerusalem as ‘Against Our Values’

On Tuesday, Ben and Jerry’s board of directors denounced the sale of products under its name in Israel's West Bank. Last year, the ice cream company announced it was going to stop selling its ice cream in annexed east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, stating that the sales in the territories sought by the Palestinians are “inconsistent with our values.” For many in the international community, the settlements are largely considered illegal and an obstruction to peace, Associated Press reports.

At the start of this year, Unilever, a London-based consumer goods company that bought Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, announced it would sell its business interest in Israel to a local company that would sell Ben & Jerry’s ice cream under its Hebrew and Arabic name across Israel and the West Bank. In a statement on Tuesday, Ben & Jerry’s independent board noted that Unilever’s sale was made outside of the board’s consent and any products sold by Blue & White Ice Cream Ltd. “should not be confused with products produced and distributed by Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc.”

“Ben & Jerry’s position is clear: the sale of products bearing any Ben & Jerry’s insignia in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is against our values,” the statement said.

On Wednesday, Unilever stated it sold its Ben & Jerry’s business interests in Israel last June. 

“The ownership of the brand is different, but the Ben & Jerry’s product is no different to what’s been enjoyed in Israel for many years,” the company said in a statement.

In August, a federal judge turned down Ben & Jerry’s request to block Unilever’s plan to allow its products to be sold in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. At the time, the judge stated that the ice cream company failed to demonstrate that Unilever’s decision would negatively affect Ben & Jerry’s social mission or confuse its customers. During Unilever’s purchase of Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, the acquisition agreement stated that even though the ice cream maker’s board could make decisions about its social mission, Unilever would finalize its word on financial and operational decisions.

On Tuesday, Unilever announced it would spin off Ben & Jerry’s as well as other ice cream businesses, including Magnum and Cornetto, in order to focus more on "superior brands with strong positions in highly attractive categories that have complementary operating models." The spinoff is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

As reported by CBS News, Unilever noted that ice cream businesses have "a very different operating model, and as a result the board has decided that the separation of ice cream best serves the future growth of both ice cream and Unilever.” Unilever, which has 128,000 employees worldwide, also announced it was launching a "productivity program" that will result in the reduction of about 7,500 mostly office-based jobs. 


Photo Credit: Unsplash/Mirko Fabian

Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for CrosswalkHeadlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.

Ben & Jerry’s Denounces Sales in West Bank, East Jerusalem as ‘Against Our Values’