Both sides are keeping mum about what if any agreement was made, but the Israeli manufacturer continues to sell Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Judea and Samaria.
To recap briefly, last July, Ben & Jerry’s “brand integrity” board sued Unilever, allegedly to stop Unilever from selling the ice cream maker’s business in Israel to its long-term Israeli licensee/manufacturer/distributer, Avi Zinger and his company, American Quality Products Limited (AQP). Zinger had filed a lawsuit against Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s after the ice cream maker refused to renew Zinger’s contract to sell ice cream in Israel, including in Judea and Samaria.
Ben & Jerry’s didn’t raise the issue in the same lawsuit Zinger brought, or even sue in the same court. The court in which Ben & Jerry’s did file suit (Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York) would have been hard-pressed to stop the settlement Unilever had already consummated with Zinger. After it became clear Unilever had already finalized the deal with Zinger, Ben & Jerry’s didn’t drop its suit. Unilever filed a motion to dismiss the case on December 2, on which the court has not yet ruled.
So what was Ben & Jerry’s really trying to accomplish? Was this just performance art? Ben & Jerry’s dusting off its halo as a socially conscious business, figuratively washing its hands of the Zinger settlement? Tragically, to these two Jewish boys from New York, being socially conscious equates to opposing Israel and taking a public stance supposedly supporting West Bank Arabs (but meanwhile depriving them of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream).
Or, maybe Ben and Jerry regretted their decision to sell their company to Unilever. Perhaps they thought that if they made themselves enough of a nuisance to Unilever, the latter would cave and either let the Ben & Jerry’s company buy itself independent again, or let the subsidiary dictate policies to the parent corporation.
Whatever they intended to accomplish, it’s unclear what if anything they did accomplish. Unilever is keeping mum. It’s public announcement says tersely:
Unilever is pleased to announce that the litigation with Ben & Jerry’s Independent Board has been resolved.
That’s it. As for Ben & Jerry’s, it hasn’t said anything at all.
Zinger, the Israeli manufacturer, announced that he was pleased about the resolution, and it doesn’t affect his deal with Unilever.
Sweet news from @brandeiscenter!
— Jacob Baime (@JacobBaime) December 15, 2022
Readers can find LIF’s previous coverage of the controversy here:
- Ben & Jerry’s To Boycott “Occupied Palestinian Territory” Including Ancient Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem
- Ben & Jerry’s Co-Founders Defend Boycotting Israel, But Won’t Boycott Texas and Georgia
- Illinois Divests Pension Funds From Unilever Over Ben & Jerry’s Israel Boycott
- Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: Israeli Company Sues Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever To Maintain License
- Anti-Israel Boycott Defeat – Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Will Continue Being Sold Throughout Israel
- Ben & Jerry’s Sues Corporate Parent Unilever To Thwart Sale Of Branded Ice Cream In Jewish Quarter of Old City, Judea and Samaria
- Ben & Jerry’s Case: Judge Skeptical About Claim Of Irreparable Harm
- Court Denies Ben & Jerry’s Request to Stop Unilever’s Already-Consummated Sale of Ice Cream Maker’s Israeli Business
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