Longtime Ben & Jerry’s worker quits over West Bank sales ban

A longtime Ben & Jerry’s contractor publicly introduced she would not work with the ice cream firm after its resolution this week to halt gross sales in Israeli-occupied territories.

“Efficient instantly, I’ve stop my job of 21 years at Ben & Jerry’s, over the assertion on Israel,” the worker, Susannah Levin, stated in a Fb publish on Tuesday.

She added that “anti-Zionism IS the brand new anti-semitism.”

“My firm’s response is a part of this despicable development and I’ll don’t have any a part of it,” she stated.

Levin’s LinkedIn web page provides that she was an Albany, NY-based freelance graphic designer for Ben & Jerry’s since 2000.

Her resolution got here after the Vermont-based ice cream maker caved to strain by on-line protesters and introduced the gross sales ban on Monday.

A consultant for Ben & Jerry’s declined to touch upon the matter.

The corporate introduced earlier this week that it’ll let its partnership settlement with its Israel-based licensee lapse on the finish of the 12 months.

“We consider it’s inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be offered within the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” the corporate stated in a press release.

The time period Occupied Palestinian Territories has been used for years to explain the areas occupied by Israel since 1967, particularly the West Financial institution, together with East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, based on the European Council on Overseas Relations.

Ben & Jerry’s clarified that it’s not pulling out of Israel, the place it is going to proceed to promote ice cream “by means of a special association.”

The transfer drew ire from Israeli politicians, kosher grocery shops within the US and elsewhere, and US lawmakers.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday stated concerning the announcement that the “boycott of Israel is a brand new kind of terrorism, financial terrorism.”

People line up for samples of Ben & Jerrys ice cream
Susannah Levin’s resolution got here after Ben & Jerry’s caved to strain by on-line protesters
David Ryder/Getty Photos

And Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned the top of Ben & Jerry’s mother or father firm, Unilever, Tuesday that the announcement might carry “extreme penalties.”

Within the US, Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma known as for a ban on all Ben & Jerry’s gross sales in his state, saying it could be in step with state legal guidelines.

Oklahoma handed an anti-boycott of Israel legislation in 2020, which prevents Oklahoma from doing enterprise with any firm that’s engaged in a boycott of Israel.

The London-based shopper items big Unilever, which acquired Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, has sought to distance itself from the announcement, saying that the choice was made independently by Ben & Jerry’s.

“Unilever stays totally dedicated to our enterprise in Israel,” Unilever CEO Alan Jope stated Thursday on a convention to debate its second-quarter earnings. “This was a call that was taken by Ben & Jerry’s and its impartial board in step with an acquisition settlement that we signed 20 years in the past.”

Jope added that whereas the model stays impartial, the corporate doesn’t intend to make an announcement “fairly as fiery as this one” each quarter.

Ben & Jerrys factory in Waterbury, Vermont
Ben & Jerry’s dangers alienating clients, traders and even its personal workers.
Christiana Botic for The Boston Globe through Getty Photos

However with this week’s announcement, the corporate already dangers alienating clients, traders and even its personal workers.

The matter was mentioned briefly at an all-hands assembly of Unilever’s magnificence and private care enterprise unit, based on photographs of the Microsoft Groups presentation that had been shared with The Publish.

Within the assembly, the corporate reiterated its stance that the announcement was made independently by Ben & Jerry’s, and that Unilever stands by its enterprise operations and relationships in Israel, based on a supply who was on the assembly.

And Jewish workers of Unilever have been discussing the matter in a personal group chat, with some expressing frustration over Unilever’s dealing with of the state of affairs, the supply stated.

And within the meantime, numerous states, together with Florida and Texas, are reviewing legal guidelines to find out whether or not they can divest funding funds, reminiscent of public pensions, from Unilever for boycotting Israel.

There are 35 US states which have signed legal guidelines which are geared toward stopping state funds from investing in firms that boycott Israel.

On Tuesday, Israel’s ambassador to the US Gilad Erdan despatched a letter to the governors of these states calling on them to take motion towards Unilever for Ben & Jerry’s announcement.

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