RELEASE: Gottheimer Welcomes Unilever's Sale of Ben & Jerry’s Operations in Israel

Finally Ends Ben & Jerry’s Antisemitic Ice Cream Ban. Big Win in Fight Against BDS Movement.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, June 29, 2022, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) welcomed Unilever’s sale of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream operations in Israel. Ben & Jerry’s, a Unilever subsidiary company, has participated in the antisemitic BDS movement by banning the sale of its ice cream in Israel. Unilever’s decision to sell the Israeli operations of the ice cream brand puts an end to Ben & Jerry’s antisemitic boycott of Israel — a big win in the global fight against the BDS movement that targets pro-Israel and Jewish organizations around the world. This move by Unilever follows Gottheimer calling on the company last year to reconsider its wrong and misguided decision to fuel efforts to single-out and undermine Israel. Read Unilever’s letter on today’s announcement here.

“I will always oppose the BDS movement and its antisemitic and discriminatory efforts to target our key ally, Israel. That’s why I fought back against Ben & Jerry’s biased decision to boycott Israel. Although Unilever has not always made the right decisions regarding the antisemitic actions of its subsidiary, Ben & Jerry’s, I welcome the sale of its Israeli operations, finally putting an end to their support of the BDS movement,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “For far too long, Ben & Jerry’s has participated in the antisemitic BDS movement with their decision to not do business in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Today’s news is a great win in the fight against antisemitism and biased boycotts undermining Israel.” 

At the end of last year, Gottheimer sent a bipartisan letter expressing concern regarding Unilever’s actions following the announcement of a boycott of sale of products in the West Bank and East Jerusalem by their subsidiary, Ben & Jerry’s. The bipartisan group of Members believed this action required the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to request an updated disclosure of regulatory filings from Unilever. 

Previously, Gottheimer also wrote to the CEO of Unilever expressing strong disappointment with Ben & Jerry’s decision to not do business in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The State of New Jersey then announced plans to divest investments from Unilever, based on the 2016 state law that prohibits the investment of state pension funds in businesses that engage in boycotts of Israel.