Ben & Jerry’s to stop sales in occupied Palestinian territories

20 July 2021, 11:32 | Updated: 20 July 2021, 13:50

Ben & Jerry’s has announced plans to stop sales in occupied Palestinian territories
Ben & Jerry’s has announced plans to stop sales in occupied Palestinian territories. Picture: PA / Twitter

By Emma Clarke

The Vermont-based ice cream company has announced plans to stop sales in the Israeli-occupied territories of West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The firm said it was "inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry's ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)".

In a statement on its website, Ben & Jerry's says it recognises “the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”

“We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream in Israel and distributes it in the region,” it continued.

“We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the licence agreement when it expires at the end of next year.”

Israeli Arab journalist and politician Aida Touma-Sliman wrote on Twitter that the decision was "appropriate and moral".

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called the move "morally wrong" and said it would prove to be "financially wrong".

Likewise, Israel's foreign minister Yair Lapid branded the decision a "shameful capitulation to antisemitism".

Both the West Bank and East Jerusalem were captured by Israel during the 1967 six-day war.

Over 700,000 Israeli settlers now live in the two territories, which are deemed illegal by most of the international community. Israel disputes this, though.

Unilever, the UK firm which has owned Ben & Jerry's since 2000, said it backed the decision, but remained "fully committed" to maintaining a foothold in Israel.