Ben & Jerry’s is now suing its own parent company Unilever over the latter’s recent decision to reach a compromise deal with Israel’s Ben & Jerry’s. Unilever agreed to sell the rights to the iconic ice cream company to Avi Zinger, the owner of American Quality Products Ltd in Israel.
Why did it do that? Well, in the summer of 2021 Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would not renew the contract with the Israeli company that distributed it in the country. Why? Well, the Israeli company refused Ben & Jerry’s demand that it cease sales of its products in areas of the West Bank controlled by Israel.
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This led to a major backlash against Unilever throughout the United States. Many American states even went so far as to divest their pension funds of Unilever stock and even to ban doing business with the company. And there were even lawsuits filed against the company for violating American laws that prohibit American firms from honoring the BDS anti-Israel movement.
So, a few weeks ago Unilever caved and agreed to the compromise deal with Avi Zinger’s American Quality Products. According to the deal, Unilever sold its Ben & Jerry’s business interests in Israel to Avi Zinger. But the agreement also stipulated that Ben & Jerry’s will only be sold in Israel under its Hebrew and Arabic names.
Explaining why it agreed to the deal, Unilever said that it had “used the opportunity of the past year to listen to perspectives on this complex and sensitive matter and believes this is the best outcome for Ben & Jerry’s in Israel. The review included extensive consultation over several months, including with the Israeli Government.”
Unfortunately, Ben & Jerry’s is none too happy with the Unilever deal. The company filed suit in a US District Court in Manhattan seeking a restraining order to block the deal. The company says that Unilever was required to consult with its board before entering into such an agreement, but failed to do so.
So, now we must wait and see what the court has to say about all of this. For Ben & Jerry’s lovers in Israel the story seems to be never ending.