A refrigerator bearing the Ben & Jerry's logo is seen at a food store in the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the West Bank, July 20, 2021

Ben & Jerry's will amend lawsuit against Unilever over Israel ice cream sale

After lawsuit thrown out by court, ice cream maker says plans to file amended complaint by September 27, claims West Bank operations 'inconsistent' with its progressive values and social mission

Reuters |
Published: 09.07.22, 09:25
Ben & Jerry's said it plans to amend its lawsuit challenging the sale of its ice cream business in Israel by its parent company Unilever.
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  • In a letter filed on Tuesday night in federal court in Manhattan, Ben & Jerry's said it plans to file an amended complaint by Sept. 27, with Unilever's response due by Nov. 1.
    2 View gallery
    A refrigerator bearing the Ben & Jerry's logo is seen at a food store in the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the Israeli-occupied West Bank July 20, 2021
    A refrigerator bearing the Ben & Jerry's logo is seen at a food store in the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the Israeli-occupied West Bank July 20, 2021
    A refrigerator bearing the Ben & Jerry's logo is seen at a food store in the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the West Bank, July 20, 2021
    (Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun//File Photo)
    Unilever has agreed to the timetable, the letter said. Its response to Ben & Jerry's original complaint had been due on Tuesday.
    Ben & Jerry's had sued on July 5, saying the sale of the Israeli business to local licensee Avi Zinger breached Unilever's 2000 agreement to buy the Burlington, Vermont-based company because it would allow ice cream sales in the West Bank.
    In July 2021, Ben & Jerry's decided to end sales in what it considers Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, calling it "inconsistent" with the progressive values and social mission it retained the right to promote. That decision prompted a backlash against Unilever, including divestments by pension funds (link 1|link 2) from the consumer goods company and accusations of antisemitism by some Jewish groups.
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    אבי זינגר, מנכ"ל בן אנד ג'ריס ישראל
    אבי זינגר, מנכ"ל בן אנד ג'ריס ישראל
    Israeli Ben & Jerry's licensee Avi Zinger
    (Photo: Morag Bitton)
    On Aug. 22, U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter in Manhattan said Ben & Jerry's did not deserve an injunction against the sale to Zinger because it failed to show it would suffer irreparable harm. The judge did not decide the lawsuit's merits.
    Unilever has said Ben & Jerry's had no power to stop or undo the sale, which has already closed.
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