Ben & Jerry’s board of directors on Tuesday rebuked the sale of products bearing any of the ice cream maker’s insignia in West Bank settlements, the most recent salvo within the Vermont-based company’s feud with its corporate parent over ice cream sales within the territories.
Last 12 months Ben & Jerry’s board said it was going to stop selling its ice cream in annexed east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, saying the sales within the territories sought by the Palestinians are “inconsistent with our values.” The settlements are widely seen by the international community as illegal and obstacles to peace.
Consumer goods giant Unilever, which bought Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, announced earlier this 12 months that it was selling its business interest in Israel to an area company that might sell Ben & Jerry’s ice cream under its Hebrew and Arabic name throughout Israel and the West Bank.
Ben & Jerry’s independent board said in an announcement Tuesday that Unilever’s sale was made without the board’s consent and any products sold by Blue & White Ice Cream Ltd. “shouldn’t be confused with products produced and distributed by Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc.”
“Ben & Jerry’s position is evident: the sale of products bearing any Ben & Jerry’s insignia within the Occupied Palestinian Territory is against our values,” the statement said.
An email sent to London-based Unilever was not immediately returned Tuesday, but the corporate has said previously it did have the precise to the sale and noted that the deal had closed.
The 2000 acquisition agreement allowed the Ben & Jerry’s board to make decisions concerning the company’s social mission but it surely stipulated Unilever would have the ultimate word on financial and operational decisions.
In August, a federal judge rejected Ben & Jerry’s request to dam a plan by Unilever to permit its products to be sold in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. The judge said Ben & Jerry’s failed to point out that Unilever’s decision would hurt Ben and Jerry’s social mission or confuse its customers.
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