By: Rajeswari Parasa
January 16 2024
Screenshot of the claim made online (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)
Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is currently sold in Israel and Israel-occupied territories through a different Israel-based licensee.
What is the claim?
A user on Facebook has claimed ice cream company Ben and Jerry’s will exit Israeli markets. The post (archive here) was shared with the caption, “Ben & Jerry's leaves Israeli markets permanently, stating Israel is occupying Palestine, and they dont stand for their actions.” The claim was also shared on X (archive here).
Screenshot of the claims made online (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)
However, the statement is not true.
Here are the facts
The official statement issued by Ben & Jerry’s says it is halting sales in “Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).” According to the United Nations, the areas occupied by Israel since June 1967, including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, are defined as Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Ben and Jerry's statement reads, “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” adding, “We have a longstanding partnership with our licensee, who manufactures Ben & Jerry’s 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.”
The statement also says, “Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT, we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement. We will share an update on this as soon as we’re ready.”
The company also made this clear in the Frequently-Asked-Questions section under this statement. For the question: “Are you exiting Israel? Are you boycotting Israel? Is this part of the Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement?” the company has responded: “No, although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT, we will stay in Israel through a different business arrangement. We will share an update as soon as we are ready.”
In 2021, Ben and Jerry’s announced it would be ending sales in Palestinian areas occupied by Israel, triggering a clash with its parent company Unilever. A report in NBC from July 19, 2021 states Israel Ben & Jerry faced legal troubles over its decision as the license agreement had not ended with Unilever.
Unilever then launched an 11-month review into Ben & Jerry’s decision and in 2022, Unilever announced that it had sold its local business to Avi Zinger, the owner of American Quality Products Ltd (AQP), the current Israel-based licensee, to sell Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
“The new arrangement means Ben & Jerry’s will be sold under its Hebrew and Arabic names throughout Israel and the West Bank under the full ownership of its current licensee,” the Unilever statement, dated June 29, 2022, said.
We have contacted Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever for a statement, and await their response.
The claim that Ben & Jerry’s has "left Israeli markets completely" is not true. The ice cream is sold in Israel and Israel-occupied territories under a new licensee. Hence, we have marked this claim as misleading.