I scream! You scream! Do we all scream for Unilever?
We’ve also seen the reverse of what we have seen: large corporations acquiring smaller companies and destroying them. In 2000, Unilever acquired Ben & Jerry’s, the far-left, hippy-dippy ice cream brand.
Unilever has let Ben & Jerry’s have their way with ridiculous political statements. This is probably because they are successful — at least until now.
Ben & Jerry’s announced last summer that it would not sell its products to Israel. The company made a controversial statement stating that it believes it was against its values to sell Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the Occupied Palestinian Territory [OPT]. We are also open to the concerns of our loyal customers and trusted partners.
FAQs on the website’s statement page pointed out that “We are a values-driven company with a long history advocating for human and economic rights.” It is against our values that our product should be found in an illegal occupation internationally recognized.
Unilever’s corporate bosses say that this is not the case. On Tuesday, the conglomerate stated that Israel will not allow Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold.
The statement starts with “Unilever today announced that it has reached a new agreement for Ben & Jerry’s Israel, which will ensure that the ice cream remains available to all consumers.”
It goes on:
Avi Zinger, who is the owner of American Quality Products Ltd. (AQP), Israel’s current licensee, has purchased the company’s Ben & Jerry’s business interests in Israel. Under the new arrangement, Ben & Jerry’s will continue to be sold in Israel and the West Bank as its Arabic and Hebrew names under the full ownership and control of its current licensee.
Unilever’s 2000 acquisition agreement with Ben & Jerry’s granted Ben & Jerry’s and their independent Board the right to make decisions about the social mission of the company. However, primary responsibility for financial decisions and operations was reserved for Unilever. Therefore, the Board has the right to join this arrangement.
Unilever decided that the “values” of Ben & Jerry’s old hippies are no longer important compared to the billion-shekel Israeli business the parent company is involved in.
“Unilever is proud of Israel’s business, which supplies daily household products to Israelis,” the company said. It added that they look forward to making a positive contribution to Israel for many decades to follow and that the Israelis and Palestinians will reach a peaceful settlement of their conflict.
Arsen Ostrovsky (CEO of the International Legal Forum), a human rights lawyer, released a statement praising Unilever for its reverse of Ben & Jerry’s Israel boycott.
International Legal Forum (ILF), applauds Unilever for its principled decision to reverse Ben & Jerry’s discriminatory, antisemitic and unjustified boycott of Israel. This is a stunning and unambiguous defeat for the global BDS Movement. The ILF was proud that it was the first organization to file a lawsuit against Unilever in the United States for Ben & Jerry’s racist and illegal boycott of Israel. This was on behalf of a Palestinian claimant who argued that such boycotts only promote hatred and division while Palestinians suffer the most. It was a sweet victory against the evil forces of hatred, bigotry, and antisemitism that make up the global BDS Movement.
Unilever is doing a great job of standing up against the anti-Semitism in companies like Ben & Jerry’s. Unilever is not going to ruin Ben & Jerry’s. Instead, it has provided a service to an untold number of Israeli and Palestinian customers.
Freedom is sweet like an ice cream cone on a hot summer day.