Unilever has sold off its Ben & Jerry’s ice cream business in Israel to Avi Zinger, the owner of American Quality Products (AQP), the brand’s current Israel-based licensee.
The move marks an attempt by Unilever to extricate itself from a row over sales of the brand in settlements in the West Bank.
The deal means that Ben & Jerry’s will continue to be available across Israel and the West Bank, sold under the Hebrew and Arabic versions of the brand’s name.
The new arrangement follows a Unilever review of Ben & Jerry’s in Israel after the brand announced last year that it would discontinue sales of its ice cream in the West Bank.
In a statement, Unilever said that it had “used the opportunity of the past year to listen to perspectives on this complex and sensitive matter and believes this is the best outcome for Ben & Jerry’s in Israel. The review included extensive consultation over several months, including with the Israeli government.”
“Unilever 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.”
Ben & Jerry’s disapproved of its parent company’s decision, saying: “We continue to believe it is inconsistent with Ben & Jerry’s values for our ice cream to be sold in the occupied Palestinian territory”.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
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