The multinational company Unilever, which owns American ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s, said Wednesday that it will continue to sell its products in Israel and the occupied West Bank (the area of land occupied by Israel since 1967 that the Palestinians claim belongs to them). ). The announcement goes in the opposite direction of what was decided last summer, when the company said it would no longer sell its products in the West Bank, and argued that doing so would be “incompatible” with its values: the decision had been received positively before and Palestinians were heavily criticized by the government. Israeli.
However, the sale of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the West Bank has not actually been halted: the company has in fact decided to suspend sales once the contract with its Israeli distributor expires, at the end of 2022. Instead, Unilever has decided to renew that contract, ensuring continued sale Ice cream in the West Bank even after the end of this year.
Unilever said the decision to halt sales in the West Bank was made by Ben & Jerry’s board of directors, which has some say over its social mission – the values that drive its business. So with the Israeli government, I decided to continue selling ice cream in the West Bank as well.
Unilever justified its decision by rejecting “any form of discrimination or intolerance”, arguing that “anti-Semitism has no place in any society”: however, it is possible that the decision was also influenced by legal action and a claim for damages initiated by the Israeli ice cream distributor Ben & Jerry – American Quality Products (AQP) – is against the company after its announcement last summer, as well as strong pressure against the withdrawal of West Bank sales by some of the company’s powerful American shareholders.