Ben & Jerry’s sues parent Unilever to block sale of Israeli business

NEW YORK, July 5 (Reuters) – Ben & Jerry’s on Tuesday sued its parent Unilever Plc (ULVR.L) to block the sale of its Israeli enterprise to a nearby licensee, saying it was inconsistent with its values to provide its ice product in the occupied West Bank.

The criticism submitted in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan reported the sale introduced on June 29 threatened to undermine the integrity of the Ben & Jerry’s brand, which Ben & Jerry’s board retained independence to protect when Unilever obtained the company in 2000.

An injunction from transferring the business and associated logos to Avi Zinger, who operates American Excellent Items Ltd, was necessary to “safeguard the brand name and social integrity Ben & Jerry’s has put in decades constructing,” the complaint explained.

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Ben & Jerry’s said its board voted 5-2 to sue, with the two Unilever appointees dissenting.

Unilever, in a assertion, claimed it does not talk about pending litigation, but that it experienced the ideal to sell the disputed company and the transaction had already closed.

“It’s a accomplished offer,” Zinger’s attorney Alyza Lewin reported in a different assertion. The sale fixed Zinger’s very own lawsuit in March from Ben & Jerry’s for refusing to renew his license.

The dispute highlights issues experiencing shopper models getting a stand on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Lender.

Most nations around the world look at the settlements unlawful. In April 2019, Airbnb Inc (ABNB.O) reversed a five-thirty day period-previous final decision to halt listing houses in the settlements.

Last July, Ben & Jerry’s reported it would conclude revenue in the occupied West Bank and parts of East Jerusalem, and sever its three-decade romance with Zinger. study extra

Israel condemned the go, and some Jewish teams accused Ben & Jerry’s of anti-Semitism. Some traders, like at least 7 U.S. states, divested their Unilever holdings. examine extra

Unilever has more than 400 manufacturers including Dove soap, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Knorr soup and Vaseline skin lotion.

Ben & Jerry’s was founded in a renovated fuel station in 1978 by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.

No more time associated in Ben & Jerry’s functions, they wrote in the New York Occasions last July that they supported Israel but opposed its “illegal occupation” of the West Financial institution.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Jessica DiNapoli in New York Enhancing by Invoice Berkrot and Himani Sarkar

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