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Ben & Jerry’s sues parent company Unilever over the sale of its Israeli business

The ice cream brand opposes the sale of its products in what the United Nations refers to as Occupied Palestinian Territory.
A production line at the Ben & Jerry's factory in Be'er Tuvia in southern Israel on July 21, 2021.Emmanuel Dunand / AFP via Getty Images file
/ Source: NBC News

Ben & Jerry’s is suing its parent company amid the sale of its Israel business to a local licensee in the Jewish state, effectively circumventing the ice cream maker’s boycott of the country.

On June 28, the parent company, Unilever, sold Ben & Jerry’s Israel business to operator American Quality Products (AQP) for an undisclosed sum in order to “ensure the ice cream stays available to all consumers.”

Ben & Jerry’s has sought to end sales of its products in what the United Nations refers to as Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the West Bank.

NBC News first reported the company’s withdrawal from Israeli settlements last summer.

The latest suit, filed Tuesday in a Manhattan court, states the sale was not approved by Ben & Jerry’s independent board of directors. According to the filing, the company said it is seeking “to protect the brand and social integrity Ben & Jerry’s has spent decades building,” its suit says.

CNBC reported Tuesday that a judge had already denied Ben & Jerry’s application for a temporary restraining order, but still ordered Unilever to show cause by Thursday, July 14 for why a preliminary injunction against the sale should not be issued.

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