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Ben & Jerry’s Suffer Legal Blow in Bid to Deprive Residents of Judea and Samaria of Ice Cream

A defeat for Israel-haters – especially those who were celebrating when they heard Ben & Jerry’s was trying to put an end to Unilever’s deal to sell their Israeli franchise to licensee Avi Zinger:

A U.S. judge on Monday rejected Ben & Jerry’s attempt to stop its parent Unilever Plc from allowing its ice cream to be sold in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, which Ben & Jerry’s said undermined its values.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter in Manhattan said Ben & Jerry’s did not deserve an injunction to halt ice cream sales and marketing because it did not show it would suffer irreparable harm, or that customers would be confused.

Ben & Jerry’s sued Unilever on July 5, saying the sale of its Israeli business to local licensee Avi Zinger violated the agreement under which Unilever bought the Burlington, Vermont-based company in 2000.

The sale came nearly a year after Ben & Jerry’s decided to end sales in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, saying it was “inconsistent” with the values and social mission it retained the right to promote.

Unilever countered that Ben & Jerry’s had no power to stop the sale of the Israeli business, and the sale could not be undone because it had closed in late June.

The unusual dispute has shone a spotlight on Unilever’s goal of giving its more than 400 brands social missions and purpose

Carter rejected as “too speculative” the idea that customers would be confused if Zinger offered new products conveying a message that might conflict with Ben & Jerry’s own.

“Ben & Jerry’s has offered no evidence of such confusion or the impact of the alleged confusion,” Carter wrote.

The real “confusion” here is that of Reuters, who characterize Judea and Samaria as “Israeli-occupied West Bank” and “Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories” (they are disputed territories at worst).

Oh, and that of Ben & Jerry’s, who cannot explain why they don’t boycott other places based on policies there with which they vehemently disagree.

Not to mention their confusing of their position as moral and just. Here is a reminder just far off they are:

The judge noted that products sold in the West Bank would use Hebrew and Arabic trademarks, not English language trademarks.

The fact the ice cream sold in Judea and Samaria uses Arabic trademarks is a reminder that the Arabs are not discriminated against, and if Ben & Jerry’s got their way, they would be harming the Arabs as much as Jewish Israelis.

Meanwhile, I am assuming this is not the end of the story and Ben & Jerry’s will appeal.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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