Ben & Jerry’s was sued on Thursday by its longtime Israeli ice cream producer, which mentioned the corporate illegally severed their 34-year relationship after halting gross sales in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
Avi Zinger mentioned Ben & Jerry’s refused to resume the license for his American High quality Merchandise Ltd. as a result of he wouldn’t abide by the corporate’s choice to cease promoting its merchandise within the Israeli-occupied West Financial institution and components of East Jerusalem.
Ben & Jerry’s and its guardian Unilever Plc declined to touch upon the lawsuit, which was filed with the U.S. District Court docket in Newark, New Jersey.
Based in 1978 by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in a renovated gasoline station, Ben & Jerry’s has lengthy positioned itself as socially acutely aware, and retained independence to pursue that mission after being acquired by Unilever in 2000.
However the gross sales boycott introduced in July sparked a backlash, together with divestments by pension funds and accusations of anti-Semitism by some Jewish teams.
In line with Thursday’s grievance, Ben & Jerry’s had “repeatedly promised” Zinger it will renew its license along with his 169-employee firm past its scheduled Dec. 31, 2022 expiration, however caved to stress from Israel’s opponents.
Zinger, an Israeli citizen, mentioned the one purpose for the reversal was his “refusal to adjust to their illegal demand that plaintiffs violate Israeli legislation by boycotting components of Israel.”
His lawsuit seeks an injunction sustaining the established order till the case is resolved, plus unspecified damages.
Most nations take into account Israeli settlements within the occupied Palestinian territories unlawful, which Israel disputes.
In asserting the boycott, Ben & Jerry’s mentioned promoting ice cream in these territories was “inconsistent with our values.”
Ben & Jerry’s accounts for about 3% of the worldwide ice cream market.
Cohen and Greenfield, who’re Jewish, should not concerned in Ben & Jerry’s operations. They wrote within the New York Occasions in July that they supported Israel however opposed its “unlawful occupation” of the West Financial institution.
The case is Zinger et al v Ben & Jerry’s Home made Inc et al, U.S. District Court docket, District of New Jersey, No. 22-01154.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Enhancing by Cynthia Osterman)
Picture: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Manufacturing facility in Waterbury, Vermont, USA.
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