Tubs of ice-cream are seen as a laborer works at Ben & Jerry’s manufacturing facility in Be’er Tuvia, Israel July 20, 2021.
Ronen Zvulun | Reuters
Unilever‘s CEO, Alan Jope, instructed traders throughout a convention name Thursday that the corporate stays dedicated to its companies in Israel after its subsidiary, Ben & Jerry’s, introduced earlier this week that it will stop the sale of its ice cream in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The ice cream maker, identified for its left-leaning political stances, made the transfer after going through backlash on-line for its enterprise within the occupied territories. Unilever’s CEO sought to distance the guardian firm from the choice, saying it was made independently by Ben & Jerry’s.
“Unilever remains fully committed to our business in Israel,” Jope mentioned. “This was a decision that was taken by Ben & Jerry’s and its independent board in line with an acquisition agreement that we signed 20 years ago.”
“I can assure you it is not our intent to regularly visit matters of this, where sensitivity has been a long-standing issue for Ben & Jerry’s,” Jope mentioned.
“We were aware of this decision by its brand – by the brand and its independent board, but certainly [it’s] not our intention that every quarter we’ll have one quite as fiery as this one,” Jope mentioned.
Ben & Jerry’s announced on Monday it is not going to renew its partnership with its licensee, which manufactures and distributes the corporate’s ice cream in Israel within the area, when the partnership settlement expires on the finish of subsequent yr.
However, Ben & Jerry’s plans to stay in Israel via one other association that the corporate has not but introduced.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has vowed to act aggressively towards Ben & Jerry’s choice, telling Unilever’s CEO the transfer would have “serious consequences, legal and otherwise.”
In response to Ben & Jerry’s transfer, Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma known as for a block of all Ben & Jerry’s gross sales in his house state in step with state legal guidelines.
Oklahoma passed an anti-boycott of Israel legislation in 2020, which acknowledges Israel as a distinguished buying and selling companion and prevents the state from doing enterprise with any firm that’s engaged in a boycott of Israel.
Ben & Jerry’s isn’t the primary firm to search out itself tangled in controversy over enterprise within the occupied Palestinian territories. In 2018, the holiday rental website Airbnb mentioned it was banning listings of Israeli property within the West Bank, territory Palestinians declare must be a part of their state.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.