Ben & Jerry's to freeze ice cream sales in West Bank settlements

Ben & Jerry's to freeze ice cream sales in West Bank settlements
The decision to pull out of occupied Palestinian territories has been met with mixed responses, with many users noting that the company will continue its presence in Israel.
2 min read
Ben & Jerry's statement has received mixed reactions [Christiana Botic/The Boston Globe/Getty]

Ben & Jerry's ice cream makers will stop selling in the occupied Palestinian territories, in reference to illegal Israeli settlements across the West Bank.

In a statement posted its website on Monday, the Vermont-based company said 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," the statement said.

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

Some social media users applauded the move by Ben & Jerry's, which has long been criticised for its stance on Palestine.

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Campaigners in Vermont have fought the firm on its relationships in Israel as of 2012 or before, Haaretz said.

"Thank you for not profiting from occupation and [a]partheid," Twitter user Samar D Jarrah said.

Meanwhile, Americans for Peace Now, a group concerned with Palestine-Israel, said it "congratulates Ben and Jerry's for making a principled distinction between sovereign Israel and Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are illegal and illegitimate".

However, while its products will not be sold in the occupied territories, Ben & Jerry's "will stay in Israel through a different arrangement".

This part of their message was cited negatively by many Twitter users.

One individual, referencing the commitment to remain in Israel, wrote: "Oh, cool so this is meaningless."

The company, which presents itself as a socially progressive brand, was slammed last month for its agreement with an Israeli factory supplying illegal settlements, Haaretz said.

Despite supporting causes such as Black Lives Matter and coming out against the storming of the US Capitol in January, Ben & Jerry's has not publically backed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

The peaceful, Palestinian-headed movement calls for economic and other forms of pressure to be leveraged to force Israel to stop violations of Palestine's sovereignty and the rights of its people.