The Daily Telegraph

Ben & Jerry’s in new court push to block ice cream sales in Israel

- By Hannah Boland

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.

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