Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling ice cream in the occupied Palestinian territories

But the brand has come under intense scrutiny for its dealings in Israel in recent years as tensions in the region have erupted.

The Vermont-based company has aligned itself with liberal causes, including diverting some funds intended for law enforcement and investing “that money in community solutions that promote real health, peacekeeping and security.” she said in a statement in June 2020. The company called on the United States to end white supremacy and last year launched a podcast on racism in America. In December 2020, Ben & Jerry’s unveiled a Colin Kaepernick-inspired non-dairy ice cream flavor called “Change the Whirled.”

Fans have criticized the company for doing business in Israel – particularly in West Bank settlements, which are considered illegal under international law – arguing that it does not match Ben & Jerry’s liberal image.

The company has been mostly silent on the subject. In 2015, Ben & Jerry’s posted on his website that he was “very aware of the complexity of the local market” and that he believed he could make a positive change by maintaining a presence in the region.

But on Monday, Ben & Jerry’s changed their mind, claiming to have heard and acknowledged the concerns shared by their fans and partners.

Ben & Jerry’s said it has informed its licensee in Israel that its agreement will not be renewed when it expires at the end of 2022. After that date, Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the Palestinian territories. The company’s ice cream, however, will continue to be sold in Israel, “through a different arrangement,” Ben & Jerry’s said, noting that it will inform customers of these details in the future.

Israeli politicians have castigated the ice cream brand’s decision. The country’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, said Ben & Jerry’s had decided to present themselves as “anti-Israel ice cream”.

Ayelet Shaked, Minister of the Interior of Israel, tweeted his disdain for Ben & Jerry’s decision on Monday.

“Your ice cream is not to our liking,” she said. “We’ll get by without you.”

Israeli-Palestinian relations are fraught with conflict, some of the disagreements stemming from those who settled in the country thousands of years ago. International law considers East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and Gaza as occupied territories under United Nations Security Council resolutions, although this qualification is contested by Israel.

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