SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vermont (WBZ NewsRadio) — Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's announced it will stop selling its products in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on Monday. The change was announced by a social media blast Monday morning.
In the announcement, the company said selling their ice cream in the West Bank was "inconsistent with our values." Practically, the company said the change meant it would be letting a distribution agreement with one of its licensees in Israel expire at the end of next year.
Ben & Jerry's is well-known for taking public stances on political issues like ending qualified immunity and campaign finance reform. The company had not made any posts on its social media channels since May 18, in the middle of an 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
It did note that it would continue to distribute its products in Israel-proper through a "different," unspecified arrangement.
Ben & Jerry's decision to pull out of the West Bank was panned by politicians on both sides of the Israeli political aisle. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the decision "...All that is wrong with the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish discourse," while Prime Minister Naftali Bennet said that there are "...Many ice cream brands, but only one Jewish state. Ben & Jerry's has decided to brand itself as the anti-Israel ice cream."
Recently-ousted former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also criticized the decision.
Some Israeli lawmakers in the opposition lauded the decision, with Joint List leader Ayman Odeh posting a picture of himself eating a pint of the ice cream with a headline in Hebrew: "The diet was going well, until now."
Written by Chaiel Schaffel