Ben & Jerry’s will no longer allow its ice cream to be sold in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, two months after the company stopped posting on social media during the most recent Israel-Hamas conflict.
“Ben & Jerry’s will end sales of our ice cream in occupied Palestinian territory,” the company announced in an Instagram post.
“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” the company said in a statement. “We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”
Ben & Jerry’s has licensed an Israeli factory to produce and distribute ice cream since the 1980’s. The licensing agreement will be discontinued, the company said on Monday, and Ben & Jerry’s will distribute products in Israel “through a different arrangement.”
On May 18, the company posted a tweet advertising new ice cream flavors with mint, however the comments section was subsequently flooded with pro-Palestinian comments. The company, which is generally active in its support of progressive causes, stopped posting on social media entirely.
A two-decade old group called Vermonters for Justice in Palestine joined with another activist group, Decolonize Burlington, to pressure Ben & Jerry’s over its distribution to the West Bank.
“We realized that this company has been brave in embracing social justice issues that aren’t necessarily palatable to all,” Decolonize Burlington head Hannah Rose, 22, told the Boston Globe last week. “But all of these movements are delicately and deliberately intertwined, so if they’re going to speak in favor of Black Lives Matter while operating in occupied territories, their message is futile.”
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