October 3, 2022

Judge rules against Ben & Jerry's efforts to pull product off Israeli shelves

Judge rules against Ben & Jerry’s efforts to pull product off Israeli shelves

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Company has lost its legal battle to prevent the sale of its products by its parent company Israeli settlements which it claims will damage its credibility and undermine the company’s social mission.

A federal judge on Monday rejected a request by Ben & Jerry’s to block its parent company’s plan, Unilever, to allow its products to be sold in East Jerusalem and the West Bank against the wishes of Vermont Ice Cream’s independent board of directors. .

US District Court Judge Andrew Carter said Ben & Jerry’s failed to show that London-based consumer goods firm Unilever’s decision would harm Ben and Jerry’s social mission or confuse its customers.

In his three-page decision, Carter said the damage Ben & Jerry claims was “highly speculative.”

Ben & Jerry’s Parent Company Sued to Stop Sale of Its Israeli Business

An employee at Ben & Jerry’s scoops ice cream into a cone outside Union Station in Washington. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)/Getty Images)

Products sold in Israel and West Bank It will not use English brands, and will instead display new Ben & Jerry’s brands in both Hebrew and Arabic. “Consequently, products sold in Israel and the West Bank will be different from other Ben & Jerry’s products, mitigating, if not eliminating, the potential for reputational damage.”

Last year, the independent Ben & Jerry’s board said it would stop selling ice cream in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and challenged East Jerusalem, arguing that doing so would be “inconsistent with our values” due to the company’s opposition to Israeli government policies it has been associated with. boycott movement.

Ben & Jerry’s Company owner appointed by the Israeli government, members of Congress

In an interview last year, Ben & Jerry founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield struggle to explain Why are they against selling products in Israel due to political differences but doing business in areas of the US where they don’t agree with laws and policies.

West Bank Ben and Jerry's

A refrigerator bears the Ben & Jerry’s logo in a food store in the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the occupied West Bank July 20, 2021. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

“It’s an interesting question. I don’t know what it’s going to achieve. We’re working on those issues, related to voting rights,” Cohen said when asked why the company sells products in states where it opposes electoral integrity legislation. “I don’t know. I think you’re asking a really good question. And I think I’ll have to sit down and think about it a bit.”

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Ben & Jerry spokesman Sean Greenwood said Monday that the company “does not have a new position that we can share at this time.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report