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Ben & Jerry's continues fight to stop sale of Israel business 

September 7, 2022 at 9:42 am

A tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream [Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Ben & Jerry’s said it plans to amend its lawsuit challenging the sale of its ice cream business in Israel by its parent company, Unilever, Reuters reports.

In a letter filed last night in federal court in Manhattan, Ben & Jerry’s said it plans to file an amended complaint by 27 September, with Unilever’s response due by 1 November.

Ben & Jerry's to freeze ice-cream sales in West Bank settlements - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Ben & Jerry’s to freeze ice-cream sales in West Bank settlements – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Unilever has agreed to the timetable, the letter said. Its response to Ben & Jerry’s original complaint had been due yesterday.

Ben & Jerry’s had sued on 5 July, saying the sale of the Israeli business to local licensee Avi Zinger breached Unilever’s 2000 agreement to buy the Burlington, Vermont-based company because it would allow ice cream sales in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

In July 2021, Ben & Jerry’s decided to end sales in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, calling it “inconsistent” with the progressive values and social mission it retained the right to promote. That decision prompted a backlash against Unilever, including divestments by pension funds from the consumer goods company and accusations of anti-Semitism by some Jewish groups.

On 22 August, US District Judge Andrew Carter in Manhattan said Ben & Jerry’s did not deserve an injunction against the sale to Zinger because it failed to show it would suffer irreparable harm. The judge did not decide the lawsuit’s merits.

Unilever has said Ben & Jerry’s had no power to stop or undo the sale, which has already closed.

READ: Ben & Jerry’s proposes to mediate Israel dispute with parent Unilever