Judge rules against Ben & Jerry’s effort to pull product from Israeli shelves

Ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s lost its legal battle to prevent its parent company from selling its products in Israeli settlements which she believes would damage her credibility and undermine the company’s social mission.

A federal judge on Monday rejected a request by Ben & Jerry’s to block a plan by its parent company, Unilever, to allow sales of its products in East Jerusalem and the West Bank against the wishes of the manufacturer’s independent board of directors ice cream from Vermont. .

United States District Court Judge Andrew Carter said Ben & Jerry’s failed to show that the decision by London-based consumer goods conglomerate Unilever would harm Ben & Jerry’s social mission or confuse its customers.

In her three-page ruling, Carter said the damage claimed by Ben & Jerry’s was “too speculative.”

BEN & JERRY’S SUES PARENT COMPANY UNILEVER TO STOP SALE OF ITS ISRAELI BUSINESS

A Ben & Jerry’s employee puts ice cream in a cone outside Union Station in Washington. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

“Products sold in Israel and the west bank will not use any trademarks in English, but will instead display Ben & Jerry’s new marks in Hebrew and Arabic,” the decision states. “Thus, products sold in Israel and the West Bank will be different from other products in Ben & Jerry’s, mitigating, if not eliminating, the possibility of reputational damage.”

Last year, the independent board of Ben & Jerry’s said it would stop selling ice cream in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and challenged East Jerusalem, saying it would be “inconsistent with our values” because of the company’s opposition to Israeli government policies that some have associated with the BDS movement.

BEN & JERRY CORPORATE OWNER WATCHED BY ISRAELI GOVERNMENT AND MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

In an interview last year, Ben & Jerry’s co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield had trouble explaining why they oppose selling products to Israel due to political disagreements, but do business in areas of the United States where they disagree with laws and policies.

Ben & Jerry's West Bank

A refrigerator bearing the Ben & Jerry’s logo is seen at a grocery store in the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on July 20, 2021. (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)

“It’s an interesting question. I don’t know what it would accomplish. We’re working on these issues, voting rights,” Cohen said when asked why the company sells products in states where it’s located. opposed electoral integrity legislation. “I don’t know. I think you ask a very good question. And I think I should sit down and think about it a bit.”

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Ben & Jerry’s spokesman Sean Greenwood said Monday the company had “no new positions to share at this time.”

Associated Press contributed to this report

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