Ben & Jerry’s Founders Accuse Unilever of Violating Merger Deal over Israel Sale

The founder of Ben & Jerry’s Wake Up said this week that parent Unilever breached a merger agreement signed more than two decades ago after it recently decided to allow the sale of its Israeli operations in order to continue selling ice cream to people living in the Jordan River Jews of the West Bank.

“This agreement empowers Ben & Jerry’s independent board with its social mission,” co-founder Ben Cohen said in a TV interview on MSNBC on Sunday. “Unilever usurped their authority and overturned the decisions made, and we cannot allow this to happen. We cannot sit idly by.”

The ex-hippies say their concern for Palestinians has nothing to do with their feelings for Israeli Jews.

“If I care about the people of Palestine as much as I care about the people of Israel, is that anti-Semitism?” Cohen said.

“The company’s decision not to sell ice cream in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is consistent with the values ​​the company has held throughout its history of fighting for human rights and dignity,” Greenfield said.

In August, Ben & Jerry’s sued Unilever after the consumer goods company announced it was selling the Israeli franchise to local licensee Avi Zinger.

The announcement comes nearly a year after Ben & Jerry’s said it would stop selling ice cream in Jewish settlements in the West Bank because it was “inconsistent” with its values.

However, Ben & Jerry’s move delivered a major financial windfall for Unilever, with several U.S. states pulling all their public funds out.

Michael Ashner, an investor who was very active against Ben & Jerry’s boycott, Tell This Haaretz Daily Ben & Jerry’s refusal to sell ice cream in parts of Israel poses an ‘existential threat’.

“[We] See it as an existential threat to Israel,” he said. “If a multinational company can be forced to divest the assets of the State of Israel, that’s the beginning of a slippery slope. We cannot allow this to continue. “

Unilever refused to boycott and announced a sale to Zinger.

Unilever’s own chief executive, Alan Jope, took a swipe at Ben & Jerry’s for listing Israel as a mortal mountain.

“Ben & Jerry’s has a lot to put into their social justice mission without involving geopolitics,” he said in his July quarterly earnings review.

The social justice warriors at the helm of the ice cream giant have long used the brand for political activism for climate change, same-sex marriage, Occupy Wall Street, and Black Lives Matter.

In an interview last year, Cohen and Greenfield were asked why the decision to boycott a state’s policies never extended to Georgia and Texas, despite their public opposition to those states’ abortion and voting rights laws.

“Why are you still selling ice cream in Georgia? Texas?” McCamund asked.

Cohen, a Bernie Sanders supporter, was clearly stumped and shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said with a smile.

“You asked a very good question, and I think I have to sit down and think about it.”

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