Progressive ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s announced Monday they would stop selling ice cream in certain parts of Israel just three years after the brand defended their partnership with an outspoken anti-Semite.
“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” the company said in a statement, noting they will not renew their license agreement with Israel, which expires at the end of the year.
— Ben & Jerry’s (@benandjerrys) July 19, 2021
“Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT, we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement,” the company continued.
The brand will no longer sell ice cream in the West Bank area and the east Jerusalem area, according to the Associated Press (AP). Israel won the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967 during the Six-Day War. Some 700,000 Israeli citizens live in the two territories, according to the AP.
Israel considers east Jerusalem as part of the capital but believes the West Bank is a disputed territory, according to the report. Members of the International community, however, claim both areas are occupied.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett criticized the move as “anti-Israel” in a tweet. (RELATED: ‘Can’t Be Reformed’: Ben & Jerry’s Says Police System ‘Must Be Dismantled’)
“Ben & Jerry’s decided to label itself as anti-Israel,” Bennett tweeted. “This is an ethically bereft decision, and I believe that it will come to be one that is wrong from a business standpoint as well. The boycotting of Israel – an island democracy surrounded by terror – reflects a complete lack of proportions. The boycott will not work, we will fight it with everything we’ve got.”
גלידות יש הרבה, מדינה – יש לנו רק אחת.
בן אנד ג׳ריס החליטה למתג את עצמה כגלידה אנטי-ישראלית.
זו החלטה שגויה מוסרית ואני מאמין שתתברר גם כשגויה עסקית.
החרם על ישראל- דמוקרטיה מוקפת איי טרור – משקף אובדן דרך מוחלט.
החרם לא עובד ולא יעבוד ונילחם בו בכל הכח.
— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) July 19, 2021
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Israelis to stop buying the brand.
Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy 🇮🇱💪 https://t.co/j7VNpIWX0f
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) July 19, 2021
Just three years ago, the Vermont-based company partnered with outspoken anti-Semite Linda Sarsour to promote an anti-Trump ice cream flavor. In announcing the partnership with Sarsour and several other activists, the company said the plan was to promote “those who are leading the resistance to the current administration’s regressive agenda” and celebrating activists “who are continuing to resist oppression, harmful environmental practices and injustices.”
Ben & Jerry’s defended their work with Sarsour, noting the work she “has done to promote women’s rights is undeniably important.”
Thanks for the feedback. We may not agree on everything, but the work that Linda has done to promote women’s rights is undeniably important and we are proud to join her in that effort.
— Ben & Jerry’s (@benandjerrys) November 2, 2018