- Ben & Jerry’s announced Monday that it will stop selling ice cream in the Palestinian territories.
- The statement said their ice cream will still be sold in Israel “through a different arrangement.”
- The announcement comes months after tensions flared in the region between Israel and Hamas.
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Ben & Jerry’s announced Monday that it will stop selling ice cream in the Palestinian territories.
The company didn’t name specific issues as the reason for the move, but wrote in a statement on its website that “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.”
The statement continued: “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.”
Ben & Jerry’s also wrote that they would continue to sell ice cream in Israel “through a different arrangement,” saying, “We will share an update on this as soon as we’re ready.”
Founded by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 1978, the Vermont-based ice cream company is known for its vocal involvement in social justice causes, adding a section to its website about dismantling white supremacy following the murder of George Floyd and marking events such as the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Womxn & Relatives on social media.
Until now, Ben & Jerry’s had refrained from commenting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The ice cream company has a factory in Be’er Tuvia, Israel.
Their connection to Israel prompted the social justice group Decolonize Burlington to call for a boycott of the brand in May, the Burlington Free Press reported. Last month, another group called Vermonters for Justice in Palestine also urged the company to “end complicity in Israel’s occupation and abuses of Palestinian human rights,” AP reported.
Before sharing its statement on Monday, Ben & Jerry’s had been silent on Twitter since May 18, when it shared a message about a new flavor of mint ice cream – in response users had criticized its connection to Israel and called for a boycott.
Israel has maintained military control over land known as the Palestinian territories or Occupied Palestinian Territory – the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip – since the Six Day War in 1967. The UN views Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a violation of international law, which Israel disputes.
In May, tensions flared in the region in the worst violence since 2014 until Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire. At least 232 Palestinians were killed, according to Reuters. Nearly 2,000 people in Gaza were injured, and the UN said about 58,000 were displaced. At least 12 people in Israel were also killed, including two children and a soldier.