Ben & Jerry’s boycott West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements – .

Ben & Jerry’s boycott West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements – .

Well-known ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s on Monday announced plans to boycott West Bank settlements and Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, refusing to allow its products to be sold in those areas.

“We believe it is incompatible with our values ​​that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT),” the company said in a notice it posted on its website.

The move gives a boost to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has targeted the Vermont-based American company for the past decade.

The Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine group had been particularly active on the issue.

The ice cream company, known for taking a stand on social justice issues, said it was not boycotting Israel, but simply the “occupied Palestinian territories.”

He said he would maintain its sales relations with the regions of Israel within the pre-1967 borders.

“Although Ben & Jerry’s is no longer sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, we will remain in Israel under a different arrangement. We’ll share an update on this as soon as we’re ready, ”the company explained.

The boycott language used by Ben & Jerry’s was vague in that it referred to “occupied Palestinian territories” and did not mention the words “settlements” or “East Jerusalem”, but it can be assumed that these are the territories to which it is referred to.

Ben & Jerry’s said, “We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.

“We have a long-standing partnership with our licensee, who makes Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region.

“We have been working to change that, so we have informed our licensee that we will not be renewing the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year.

Uniliver Israel responded by saying, “We know that Ben & Jerry’s recently made an announcement. To be clear, Unilever Israel does not run Ben & Jerry’s locally. The brand is managed by a competitor that owns the Ben & Jerry’s franchise. in the Israeli market. Unilever Israel was not involved in this decision. It was taken by Ben & Jerry’s globally and its independent board of directors. We are very proud of our history in Israel and are fully committed to our long term presence. We employ approximately 2,000 employees, the majority of which in our factories in Arad, Acre, Safed and Haifa. In the last decade alone, the company has invested in the Israeli market over NIS 1 billion and will continue to invest in its people, brands and businesses in the local market. ”
A resident of Ma’aleh Adumim settlement who did not want to be named said he was disappointed by the announcement, but added that it would not prompt him to boycott Ben & Jerry’s in return.

“It’s by far the best ice cream you can find in stores here,” he said. “I’m just going to buy my New York Chunk Fudge in Jerusalem and smuggle it home after going through all the checkpoints.” “

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the announcement via a tweet, writing “Now we Israelis know what ice cream NOT to buy”.

Samaria Regional Council chief Yossi Dagan responded by saying that settlements in Judea and Samaria will still exist after Ben & Jerry’s ice cream melts.
MP Ofir Akunis (Likud) wrote on his Facebook page “We will stop buying Ben & Jerry’s in Israel, Judea and Samaria and everywhere else in the world”

Meretz Party MP Mossi Raz reacted to the announcement by saying. “Once again, Israel is wronged by the immorality of the settlements in the occupied territories. Of course there are those who are not ready to sell [Ben & Jerry’s ice cream] in settlements which are illegal and immoral, and it is a pity that all Israelis are hurt by their existence. The Likud Young Guard calls for a boycott of the ice cream maker saying “we don’t need Ben & Jerry’s, we have Golda” MK Simcha Rothman of the Religious Zionist Party responded by saying “don’t stop. buy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, as long as Israel owns the brand ”.

The NGO Peace Now responded by stating that “Ben & Jerry’s decision makes it clear that even as right-wing settlers continue to try to erase the Green Line, the world clearly distinguishes sovereign Israel from the occupied territories. International companies are interested in doing business. with the State of Israel, but are unwilling to accept military control over millions of Palestinians and with the settlement enterprise. The government of change is well aware of the enormous damage that the settlement enterprise is inflicting on Israel. economy and avoiding boycotts and international criticism will help end the occupation. “


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