Ben & Jerry’s to end to ice cream sales in occupied Palestine

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Nelson Oliveira New York Daily News (TNS)

Ben & Jerry’s announced Monday that it would stop selling ice cream in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, calling its business dealings in the region “inconsistent with our values.”

The socially progressive ice cream giant did not elaborate on what exactly led to the decision, but the announcement ends the company’s two-month social media silence that coincided with growing criticism of its presence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

“We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners,” Ben & Jerry’s said in a statement.

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But the Vermont-based company will continue doing business with Israel.

Ben & Jerry’s said it would end “a longstanding partnership” with the licensee that manufactures the popular ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region, but it plans to stay in the country through a “different arrangement,” according to the statement. The agreement with the manufacturer that sells Ben & Jerry’s in the occupied territories expires at the end of next year, the company said.

Monday’s development follows a series of protests against Ben & Jerry’s presence in the region.

The group Vermonters for Justice in Palestine, which has been leading the effort for years, recently urged the company to “be consistent in their values” and stop allowing ice cream sales in “segregated Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in flagrant violation of international law.”

“How much longer will Ben & Jerry’s permit its Israeli-manufactured ice cream to be sold in Jewish-only settlements while Palestinian land is being confiscated, Palestinian homes are being destroyed, and Palestinian families in neighborhoods like Sheik Jarrah are facing eviction to make way for Jewish settlers?” Ian Stokes, a member of the group, said in a statement last month.

“We say to Ben & Jerry’s: Don’t be on the wrong side of history,” he said. “The time for corporate courage and social responsibility in defense of the human rights of the Palestinian people is now.”

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