SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. — Ben & Jerry’s said Monday that it will stop selling its ice cream in the occupied Palestinian territories because the company believes it’s “inconsistent” with its values.
In a statement, the Vermont-based company said, “We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”
Reuters reports that Ben & Jerry’s had come under pressure from pro-Palestinian groups over its business in Israel and Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Ben & Jerry’s said in its statement that it has a longtime partnership with a licensee that manufactures its ice cream in Israel and distributes it in the region.
“We have been working to change this, and so we have informed our licensee that we will not renew the license agreement when it expires at the end of next year,” wrote Ben & Jerry’s.
Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in occupied Palestinian territories, the company said it will stay in Israel through a different arrangement.
Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s, issued a separate statement Monday, saying it remains committed to its presence in Israel.
“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a very complex and sensitive situation,” wrote Unilever. “As a global company, Unilever’s brands are available in more than 190 countries and in all of them, our priority is to serve consumers with essential products that contribute to their health, wellbeing and enjoyment.”
Unilever added that it recognizes the right of Ben & Jerry’s to make decisions about its social mission.
“Ben & Jerry’s was acquired by Unilever in 2000,” wrote Unilever. “As part of the acquisition agreement, we have always recognized the right of the brand and its independent Board to take decisions about its social mission. We also welcome the fact that Ben & Jerry’s will stay in Israel.”