Ben & Jerry’s will stop selling ice cream in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories by the end of next year. The American ice cream maker announced this on Monday. Sales in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are “not in line” with its company values, Ben & Jerry’s said. The ice cream maker will continue to sell in Israel.
The company says it has a long-term contract with a permanent licensee who produces the ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region, including the occupied territories. The license will expire at the end of 2022 and Ben & Jerry’s will not renew it. The company says it acknowledges “concerns our fans share with us” and will continue to sell “through another arrangement” in Israel. The West Bank and East Jerusalem have been occupied by Israel since 1967. About 700,000 Jewish settlers live there.
New Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of the right-wing Yamina party and his coalition partner Yair Lapid of center party Yesh Atid have reacted with dismay at Ben & Jerry’s decision. Bennett called it “morally wrong decision” by the ice cream maker to profile itself as an “anti-Israeli ice cream.” According to Lapid, “the decision represents a shameful surrender to anti-Semitism.” Aida Touma-Sliman, a member of parliament and part of the political alliance of four Arab parties, called the decision “just and morally right”.