Ben and Jerry's boycotts Israeli settlements

The US ice cream company Ben and Jerry's plans to stop selling its products in the West Bank and East Jerusalem from 2022. The text announcing the move on its website says it is inconsistent with the company's values "for Ben and Jerry's ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT)". Ultimately it's all about marketing, commentators say.

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NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Companies can be political too

So far the British-Dutch parent company Unilever has benefited from Ben and Jerry's activism, NRC Handelsblad notes:

“The big question Unilever now faces is whether it will continue to back the ice cream manufacturer. It will be a business decision, however cynical one may find that. Does the risk of lost turnover outweigh the benefits of added attention? But apart from that, it's good that companies are also increasingly getting involved in social issues, be it the climate, racism or human rights violations. An awareness of international law should be a self-evident minimum.”

Le Point (FR) /

Sanctimonious morality theatre

Since the death of George Floyd, the US ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry's has campaigned to end white supremacy. But boycotting Israel goes too far, Le Point believes:

“The use of such a weapon ultimately denies the legitimacy of a democratic state, and reveals double standards. Why, for example, does Ben and Jerry's continue to sell its products in China, where the treatment of the Uyghur and Tibetan minorities and the repression of the democracy movement in Hong Kong are no less reprehensible? ... In practical terms, it is difficult to understand how the fate of the Palestinians can be improved by depriving the Israeli settlers of ice cream. The brand is mainly concerned about asserting its moral superiority.”