Ben & Jerry’s founders: This is not a boycott of Israel in any way

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A Ben & Jerry's ice-cream shop in Australia. Credit: Enchanted_Fairy/Shutterstock.

(A7) Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s told Axios in an interview on Sunday that the decision by Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s parent company, to stop selling the ice cream in Judea and Samaria is not a boycott of Israel.

Greenfield said that the states which decided to divest from Ben & Jerry’s based their decisions on “misinformation” that “Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever are being characterized as boycotting Israel — which is not the case at all. It’s not boycotting Israel in any way,” he said.

Greenfield also asserted that “what Israel is doing is considered illegal by international law.”

Cohen and Greenfield, who sold Ben & Jerry’s to Unilever in 2000, were also asked in the interview why Ben & Jerry’s continues to sell ice cream in Georgia and Texas, which have abortion bans.

“I don’t know,” Cohen replied. “It’s an interesting question. I don’t know what that would accomplish. We’re working on those issues, of voting rights. … I think you ask a really good question. And I think I’d have to sit down and think about it for a bit.”

Unilever caused an uproar with its controversial July 19 announcement that it will stop selling the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Judea and Samaria.

In response to the announcement, several US states have announced they would divest from Unilever. These include New JerseyArizona and Florida and Texas.

IllinoisMaryland, and Rhode Island are also considering divesting from Unilever.

Shortly after the announcement, Cohen and Greenfield wrote an op-ed in The New York Times in which they wrote they are “proud Jews” and supporters of Israel but also added that “it’s possible to support Israel and oppose some of its policies, just as we’ve opposed policies of the U.S. government.”

“As such, we unequivocally support the decision of the company to end business in the occupied territories, which the international community, including the United Nations, has deemed an illegal occupation,” they wrote.