Ben & Jerry’s Ban on Palestinian Territories Offers New Possibilities for Consumers to Make a Statement

Ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s stops selling ice cream in occupied Palestinian territories, because they say it is inconsistent with their values. The Vermont-based company has always aligned itself with liberal causes, for instance by investing “money in community-driven solutions that foster real health, peacekeeping, and safety,”. Fans have taken the company to task for doing business in Israel — especially in West Bank settlements, considered illegal under international law — arguing it doesn’t align with Ben & Jerry’s liberal image. Some Israeli politicians have, predictably, reacted furiously.

An interesting development, because normally it’s governments and politicians that try to alter the behavior of food companies. Now it’s the other way around, a food company that tries to influence politics. And this in turn, will provide consumers with a possibility to make a political statement every time they make a food choice. It certainly will start a lot of debate around the world.

Though it may seem like a bold move from Ben & Jerry’s, in reality the potential loss in sales for them is limited. Israel, including the Palestinian territories has about 9 million inhabitants.  And it might even be compensated by supporters of the move throughout the world buying more ice cream to support the brand’s move.

What’s next? Will a food company be bold enough to stop selling in China because of the treatment of the eighur minority? Boycot Hungary for not respecting LHBTQ rights? Who knows.


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