Monday, 16 September 2013

Activists call on Ben & Jerry’s to stop scooping in Israeli settlements


More than 150 activist groups and civil society organizations around the world have signed on to a statement urging the US ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s to discontinue sale or distribution in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The campaign, launched in March by Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel — Vermont is where Ben & Jerry’s is headquartered — calls on the company’s chief executive officer to “stand by its Social Mission and to ensure that its products are not sold, catered and distributed in Israeli settlements” in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.” The groups also demand that Ben & Jerry’s release a public statement committing to “end its business ties to Israel’s occupation and settlement enterprise.”

Ben & Jerry’s (which was bought by European multinational Unilever in 2000) has a long history of celebrating progressive causes, and activists say that the company’s operations in illegal Israeli settlements run counter to the company’s stated mission.

But this is not the first controversy surrounding Ben & Jerry’s and Israeli settlements. In 1998, the company angered settler and anti-Palestinian groups by announcing it would no longer use mineral water from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, which belong to Syria, to make sorbet. more

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