The Daily Telegraph
Ben & Jerry’s in new court push to block ice cream sales in Israel
BEN & JERRY’S is preparing a new legal attack on its parent company Unilever amid an ongoing row over a boycott of shops in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The ice cream brand is preparing to file a revised complaint against Unilever in New York in an effort to prevent its products from returning to shelves in Israeli settlements.
Ben & Jerry’s is owned by Unilever but has an independent board. Earlier this year it pulled its products from sale in the occupied territories, saying that Israel’s actions there were “inconsistent with our values”. Unilever then sought to block the boycott by handing control of the Israeli operations to a local businessman – meaning the ice cream could still be sold across the country.
Unilever said it “rejects completely and repudiates unequivocally any form of discrimination or intolerance”.
Ben & Jerry’s board sought to reverse the sale in response, to “protect the brand and social integrity Ben & Jerry’s has spent decades building”.
A judge last month denied an injunction request from Ben & Jerry’s, saying the brand had not shown that it would otherwise suffer irreparable harm. Ben & Jerry’s is drawing up arguments for a new round of action, said Bloomberg.
The wrangling hinges on the takeover of Ben & Jerry’s with Unilever agreeing when it bought the brand in 2000 to create an independent board with power to control decision-making.
Ben & Jerry’s has said this gives it the ability to decide where it sells its ice cream. Unilever argues it still holds “primary responsibility” for decisions.
Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s did not respond to requests for comment.