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20th Jul 2021

Ben & Jerry’s pull sales from Israeli occupied areas

Sarah McKenna Barry

The company announced their decision yesterday.

The hugely popular ice-cream company Ben & Jerry’s has pulled sales of their products from the Israeli-occupied territories: West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The company said that to sell in territories that were sought by Palestinians would be “inconsistent” with their values.

The ice-cream manufacturer will continue to trade in Israel, but under a new arrangement.

Ben and Jerry’s posted the announcement on social media, and linked back to their full statement.

It read: “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.

“We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region. 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.”

They added: “Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT, we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement. We will share an update on this as soon as we’re ready.”

The announcement was welcomed by the Palestine Liberation Organisation. One of the group’s senior members, Wassel Abu Youssef said: “We welcome the decision of any company to stop its work and investments in Israeli settlements.”

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) said that the company’s decision was a “decisive step towards ending the company’s complicity in Israel’s occupation and violations of Palestinian rights”, but added that they could do more.

They said: “We hope that Ben & Jerry’s has understood that, in harmony with its social justice commitments, there can be no business as usual with apartheid Israel.”

However, Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid described the decision as a “shameful capitulation to antisemitism”.