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Judge Denies Ben & Jerry’s Lawsuit to Stop Selling in the West Bank

A federal judge rejected an effort from Ben & Jerry’s lawsuit against their parent company Unilever’s decision to resume selling ice cream in the West Bank.

Reuters reported that Ben & Jerry’s filed the lawsuit on July 5 after Unilever vetoed the ice cream giant’s July 2021 decision to stop selling ice cream to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, arguing that Unilever was contractually prevented from interfering in Ben & Jerry’s social justice activism. After the two sides failed to reach a settlement, Judge Andrew L. Carter Jr. sided with Unilever, ruling that Ben & Jerry’s arguments failed to demonstrate that Ben & Jerry’s would suffer “irreparable harm” from it. 

Ben & Jerry’s had argued that customers could be under the false impression that the company supports the Israeli settlements if Unilever’s veto wasn’t overturned; Carter dismissed this line of reasoning as being “speculative.”

Jewish groups celebrated the verdict. The Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted that Ben & Jerry’s “should stick to making great ice cream and not using its profits as an ATM for anti-peace and extremists who hate #Israel. If they don’t, our community and many other Americans will buy elsewhere.”

The watchdog group Stop Antisemitism tweeted that the verdict was a “big loss” for Ben & Jerry’s and that the ice cream giant should bring forward a “sour grapes” ice cream flavor.