Ben & Jerry’s ice cream will be sold in Israel once more. An Israeli court found that the company’s policy to stop selling its ice cream in Israel was illegal according to Israeli law and a deal was struck to restart distribution. Ben & Jerry’s is known for voicing their political beliefs. However, its decision to stop distributing ice cream in certain areas within Israel’s sovereign borders was met with international criticism. Many accused the company of participating in and promoting the BDS movement, which pushes for the boycott, divestment, and sanctioning of the State of Israel.
When Ben & Jerry’s announced its decision to discount sales outside of the pre-1967 borders (i.e. settlements in the West Bank), the company’s only distributor refused. Ben & Jerry’s board then terminated its contract with the local distributor.
This created a major conflict for parent company, Unilever. Unilever disagreed with the boycott, calling the decision discriminatory, intolerant, and antisemitic.
Unilever sued Ben & Jerry’s, eventually striking a deal that allow the sale of the Israeli distributor. The move allows the local distributor to continue selling Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but only under a Hebrew or Arabic logo – not its English logo. The move was seen as a major win for those combatting BDS around the world.
aWhile Ben & Jerry’s doubled down on their original decision, saying they were not longer profiting from sales in Israeli, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis praised for Unilever for standing up against BDS. His Facebook post reads:
“Unilever’s decision to reverse Ben & Jerry’s discriminatory boycott by allowing their ice cream to be sold in Israel is a step in the right direction. I am disappointed that they took a year to stand against the BDS movement.
Florida will continue to maintain a strong relationship with the State of Israel.”
DeSantis is regarded as a supporter of the Jewish community, commonly speaking out against antisemitism and vocalizing his support for Israel.