Ben & Jerry’s sues parent company Unilever over sale of Israeli business
By CALEB GUEDES-REED
(JTA) — Ben & Jerry’s is not letting go of its West Bank pullout goal without a fight — with its parent company.
The iconic ice cream brand has filed a lawsuit against Unilever over its decision last week to sell the Israeli arm of the business to Israel-based franchise, American Quality Products, Ltd., which will continue to sell Ben & Jerry’s in the West Bank.
Ben & Jerry’s says that Unilever’s decision was made without the brand’s board’s consent, and wrote in a statement on Tuesday that stopping the sale is necessary to protect “the social integrity that the ice cream brand has spent decades building.” The lawsuit will aim to block the sale.
After publicly critiquing the Unilever move last week, the Ben & Jerry’s board voted on Friday to file the suit, the New York Post reported.
“It’s a done deal,” American Quality Products, Ltd. owner Avi Zinger wrote in response. “Unilever chose the morally correct, socially just and principled path when it ensured that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream would always continue to be produced and sold in Israel and the West Bank.”
The Ben & Jerry’s board, which has a history of social justice advocacy, made the decision to stop selling its products in what they call “Occupied Palestinian Territory” following Israel’s deadly conflict with Hamas in May 2021. Unilever originally stated that it had little power over decisions made by Ben & Jerry’s board, which makes its recent decision to sell a surprise.