(June 29, 2022, Los Angeles, JNS Wire)
StandWithUs strongly commends the announcement made by Unilever, Ben and Jerry’s parent company on June 29, to sell Ben & Jerry’s business interests in Israel to the Israeli licensee, Avi Zinger. The new arrangement allows the sale of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream throughout Israel and the West Bank to be sold under its Hebrew and Arabic names. In its announcement, Unilever states that it, “rejects completely and repudiates unequivocally any form of discrimination or intolerance. Antisemitism has no place in any society. We have never expressed any support for the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement and have no intention of changing that position.”
StandWithUs was at the forefront of the challenge against Ben & Jerry’s boycott, sending approximately 500 individual letters to Unilever stakeholders, testifying before a state investment board, rallying 16,000 to join the campaign, deploying advertisement trucks to Unilever’s headquarters to protest Ben & Jerry’s antisemitism and regularly reaching out to Unilever CEO Alan Jope. In the last year since Ben & Jerry’s announced its boycott, the StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department worked to hold Ben & Jerry’s (and its parent company Unilever) legally accountable for its discriminatory decision to cut ties with its factory in Israel after 2022.
StandWithUs thanks the many organizations and individuals who helped further our campaign and supplement the greater concerted efforts of the community at large. We are grateful to the twelve state attorneys general and seven state treasurers who wrote to Unilever, and congressmen from both parties who issued a letter of concern to the chairman of the SEC. States including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas invoked their anti-BDS legislation to help Unilever realize the hundreds of millions of dollars it risked by enabling Ben & Jerry’s discriminatory boycott.
StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein issued the following statement: “I was gratified to receive notification from Alan Jope, Unilever CEO, informing me and other Jewish organizations that Unilever rejects the Ben & Jerry’s discriminatory boycott of Israel. Unilever’s decision and its announcement are a full repudiation of the anti-Israel BDS movement whose ultimate goal is the eradication of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Unilever’s statement correctly views this as antisemitic. We are heartened that Unilever’s announcement emphasized its commitment to its $250 million investment in the Israeli economy, declaring it is “very proud of our business in Israel [which] employs around 2,000 people of diverse backgrounds” in four manufacturing plants and expressed its hope of “continuing to make a positive contribution to Israel’s economy and society for many decades to come.”
This is major blow to the BDS Movement, which last year claimed as a victory the Ben & Jerry’s decision to cut ties with its Israeli licensee. Today, Avi Zinger, who faced the loss of his license to see Ben & Jerry’s in Israel because he refused to comply with their boycott demands, will now be owner of Ben & Jerry’s in Israel. Ben & Jerry’s be available to all Israelis regardless of their geographical location, religion or nationality.