Roy Gilbert

Ben & Jerry’s Threatened Ban in West Bank Creates Ripples Beyond Ice Cream Stores

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JERUSALEM (RNS) — Ben & Jerry’s announcement that it will ban the sale of its ice cream in what it calls the “occupied Palestinian territories” beginning in 2023 could have wide-reaching legal and political ramifications, Middle East observers say.

In a statement Monday (July 19), Ben & Jerry’s said that continuing to sell products in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the Six-Day War in 1967, “is incompatible with our values.”

The Vermont company, which its founders, both Jewish, sold to the British company Unilever two decades ago, said it would not renew the contract of its Israeli licensee, which expires at the end of 2022, because the licensee sells Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in what the company calls “occupied” areas.

“We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year,” Ben & Jerry’s said.

The statement added that the company “will stay in Israel through a different arrangement,” but did not elaborate. The Israeli franchise is located in southern Israel, within Israel’s internationally recognized pre-1967 borders.

Many Israeli and Diaspora Jews say that Ben & Jerry’s has singled out Israel while ignoring the actions of other nations, and that it was the Palestinians who rejected the two-state solution drafted by the United Nations.

“There are over 100 disputed territories that involve over 120 countries around the world, yet Ben & Jerry’s only decided to boycott Israel. Don’t tell […]

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