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After Ben & Jerry’s controversy, Unilever tells ADL chief: We don’t support BDS

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

View of the Ben & Jerry's ice cream on sale in a shop in Yavne, on July 20, 2021. (Flash90)
View of the Ben & Jerry's ice cream on sale in a shop in Yavne, on July 20, 2021. (Flash90)

Unilever has never supported the Israel boycott movement and has no plans on changing that position, company CEO Alan Jope writes to ADL chief Jonathan Greenblatt in a letter about the Ben & Jerry’s ban on sales in Israeli communities in the West Bank.

Jope reiterates Unilever’s “strong and longstanding commitment to our business in Israel,” and says the company “looks forward to investing in our business in Israel long into the future.”

Jope also says that Ben & Jerry’s is committed to staying in Israel through “a different business arrangement.”

“We have welcomed this decision to stay in Israel emphatically,” he adds.

Jope also stresses that antisemitism has no place in any society.

Unilever is the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s. Its brands also include Dove, Hellman’s, Magnum, Lipton, Knorr, Axe and many more.

Ben & Jerry’s said last week that selling ice cream in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” apparently referring to West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem, was “inconsistent with our values.”

It said the decision would take effect at the end of 2022, when its contract with the current Israeli manufacturer and distributor expires. The future of Ben & Jerry’s products across Israel beginning in 2023 remains in question.

Ben & Jerry’s Israeli manufacturer opposes the decision and has vowed to continue to sell throughout all of Israel for the remainder of its contract.

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