Ben & Jerry’s Will Continue to be Sold in Israel
Washington, D.C., June 29, 2022: Avi Zinger, Ben & Jerry’s Israeli licensee, has settled the federal lawsuit filed on his behalf by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and co-counsel, following Ben & Jerry’s refusal to renew Zinger’s 34-year-old license to manufacture and sell Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The settlement prevents Ben & Jerry’s from boycotting Israel and ensures that Zinger will continue selling Ben & Jerry’s ice cream throughout Israel and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) without interruption. The settlement signals a major defeat for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement which had pressured Ben & Jerry’s to stop all Ben & Jerry’s sales in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In March, Brandeis Center client American Quality Products (AQP), Zinger’s company, sued Unilever and its subsidiary, Ben & Jerry’s, for unlawfully terminating its multi-decade business relationship in order to boycott Israel. The lawsuit requested the U.S. federal court deem Unilever’s termination illegal, enabling AQP to continue selling Ben & Jerry’s products throughout Israel. Today, Unilever and AQP announced an agreement that resolves the legal dispute and defeats BDS efforts to keep the premium ice cream out of Israel. Pursuant to the agreement, Zinger and AQP will continue to manufacture and sell Ben & Jerry’s ice cream products to all customers in all parts of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Unilever has sold its Ben & Jerry’s business interests in Israel to Zinger to enable him to continue selling the same Ben & Jerry’s ice cream consumers have been enjoying for 35 years with its Hebrew and Arabic name. “I thank Unilever for resolving this matter and for the strong and principled stand it has taken against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. There is no place for discrimination in the commercial sale of ice cream. It has always been important to me to ensure that all customers – no matter their identity – are free to enjoy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. BDS lost. I now have the right to sell Ben & Jerry’s using its Hebrew and Arabic name to all our Israeli and Arab customers throughout Israel and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) – forever. This is a victory for those who seek cooperation and coexistence, and a resounding defeat for discrimination. It is particularly significant for those who have stood united against BDS,” stated Zinger. “On behalf of myself and my employees, I am grateful for the support we received from Israeli Knesset members across the political spectrum; from the Foreign Ministry under the leadership of Foreign Minister Yair Lapid; for the efforts of governors and state attorneys general from numerous states in the United States who initiated severe sanctions in response to the boycott; and for the individuals and Jewish organizations from around the world who on their own initiative spoke out against BDS and contributed to this successful resolution. Thank you also to Alyza Lewin and her team from the Brandeis Center, Marc Zell, and Nathan Lewin, who worked tirelessly to help me. It is the support we received from all corners of the globe that made this resolution possible. I am grateful to once again be able to focus on what I do best – making high quality premium ice cream for all to enjoy,” added Zinger.