Ben & Jerry’s has been criticized for selling in Texas – but not the West Bank


Ben Cohen, co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s and Jerry Greenfield, is taking the heat for freezing when asked why the ice cream company he founded in Israel stopped selling its products due to political problems in parts of Israel, but he continues to trade in US states that disagree with laws.

In July, the Vermont-based ice cream company announced it would cease selling ice cream in the “occupied Palestinian province” because it was “inconsistent” with the company’s values.

But when asked if the company is extending its boycott practice to other jurisdictions, such as the US, there are policies that do not match the company’s beliefs, Cohen and Greenfield – which no longer control Ben and Jerry but remain public face – unanswered.

“You are a big proponent of voting rights. Why are you still selling ice cream in Georgia? Texas – abortion bans. Why are you still selling there?” Asked Two 70-year-old businessmen

McComand is referring to an extensive overhaul of Georgia’s voting restrictions that may make it difficult for some residents to vote and sparked backlash in the local business community earlier this year.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s, have been asked why they continue to sell ice cream in states that have laws that don’t agree.
Courtesy of HBO

As for Texas, they were referring to a law passed earlier this year that outlawed almost all abortions in the state and offered cash prizes to people who sued anyone who helped in any way.

“I don’t know,” Cohen shouted, walking away.

“It’s an interesting question. I don’t know what it accomplishes. We’re working on voting rights. … I think you’re asking a really good question.

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream
Ben and Jerry doesn’t sell ice cream in some parts of Israel.
Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images

McCammond continued to press both Texas and the recently enacted abortion law.

“By that rationale, we can’t sell any ice cream anywhere. I have problems with what’s being done in every state and country,” Cohen said.

Greenfield said, “What Israel is doing is different from international law to be considered illegal. And so I think it’s a consideration.”

In July, Cohen and Greenfield defended Ben and Jerry’s decision to stop selling products in parts of Israel.

Ben Cohen (L) and Jerry Greenfield crossed the U.S. Supreme Court at an event presented by Ice Cream and focused on police reform on May 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Ben Cohen (left) and Jerry Greenfield walk behind the US Supreme Court at an event hosted by Ice Cream on May 20, 2021 in Washington DC to focus on police reform.
Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images
Axios Political Reporter Alexie McCammond interviewed Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of Ben & Jerry's.
Axios political reporter Alexie McCammond interviewed Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s.
Courtesy of HBO

“While we have no control of the operation of the company we founded in 1978, we are proud of its action and believe it is on the right side of history.” Written in the New York Times joint op-ed.

The company’s decision sparked immediate backlash from critics, including Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who called it anti-Israel and threatened Alan Jopp, CEO of Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, with the consequences of a sales ban.

Public officials in the US have also criticized the move, with several states, including New York, threatening to defund anti-boycott laws from Unilever.

However, Greenfield told Axios that the actions of those states were based on “misinformation.”

Unilever has for its part tried to stay out of contention, reiterating that Ben and Jerry are controlled by its own independent board and Unilever cannot overturn its decision.

Representatives for Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever did not immediately return a post request for comment.

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