US court denies Ben & Jerry’s request to stop sales in Israeli-occupied territories

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Ben & Jerry’s failed in its attempt on Monday (August 22) to stop Unilever, its parent company, from selling its ice cream in West Bank settlements, which the US company claimed would go against its core principles.

Ben & Jerry’s is an American ice cream company founded in 1978, well known for its supportive contribution towards nature and human rights.

The firm took the step of requesting an injunction after Unilever disclosed selling ice cream to an Israeli licence holder. 

Also read | Now, Israeli students accuse Ben & Jerry’s of occupying US tribal land

Last year, Ben & Jerry’s said that it would no longer sell its ice cream in the Palestinian territories as the idea is inconsistent with the company’s principles, but will continue to sell in Israel.

As per the US federal judge, the ice cream company had ‘failed to demonstrate’ that the decision to sell the products in the Israeli-occupied territories caused it irreparable harm, AFP reported. 

However, Israeli licence holder Tel Avi Zinger continued to make the ice cream in his facility and supply it to the Israeli settlements.

Also read | Ben & Jerry’s sues Unilever to block distribution in Israel-occupied Palestine

On July 5, Ben & Jerry’s requested the dissolution of any agreements authorising the sale or distribution of its products in the West Bank and the referral of any future similar transactions for approval by its board of directors.

As per the case, Unilever’s decision was taken without authorisation from Ben & Jerry’s Independent Board and violated the merger agreement.

The US district court judge disagreed, saying it was “too speculative” to think that the company’s narrative may be compromised or that the customers could become confused about its underlying beliefs.

(With inputs from agencies)

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