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IPFS News Link • Boycotts

Ben & Jerry's Founders Say Settlement Ban Is Not a Boycott of Israel

• by Dave DeCamp

Since Ben & Jerry's announced in July that it would stop selling ice cream in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the move has been falsely portrayed as a boycott of Israel. In an interview that aired Sunday, the company's founders explained that is not the case.

"I think Ben & Jerry's and Unilever are being characterized as boycotting Israel, which is not the case at all," co-founder Jerry Greenfield told Axios on HBO. "It's not boycotting Israel in any way."

Greenfield and Ben Cohen sold Ben & Jerry's to the British-based food firm Unilever back in 2000 but still maintain influence over the ice cream company's activism. Since the settlement ban was announced, several US states have taken steps to divest from Unilever using legislation against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. BDS is an international campaign that seeks to pressure Israel for its crimes against the Palestinians through boycotts.

Under most states' anti-BDS laws, the state must determine that the company is "boycotting Israel" in order to divest funds. Greenfield attributed the false claim by the US states to "misinformation."