I scream! You scream! We all scream for … Unilever?

For every time we’ve seen a large corporation subsume a smaller company and ruin it, we’ve seen examples of the opposite phenomenon. Ben & Jerry’s, the hippy-dippy, far-left ice cream brand — I mean, they dedicated a flavor to Stephen Colbert, for crying out loud — became a subsidiary of Unilever in 2000.

Unilever has generally let Ben & Jerry’s run their mouths with their ridiculous political statements, probably because sales are good — until now.

Last summer, Ben & Jerry’s declared that it would no longer sell its products in Israel. In a politically-charged statement, the company wrote, “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”

The FAQs on the statement page of the website pointed out that “We’re a values-led company with a long history of advocating for human rights, and economic and social justice. We believe it is inconsistent with our values for our product to be present within an internationally recognised illegal occupation.”

Not so fast, say the corporate overlords at Unilever. The conglomerate issued a statement on Tuesday that it will require Ben & Jerry’s to sell ice cream in Israel.

“Unilever today announced it has reached a new arrangement for Ben & Jerry’s in Israel which will ensure the ice cream stays available to all consumers,” the statement begins.

It continues:

The company has sold its Ben & Jerry’s business interests in Israel to Avi Zinger, the owner of American Quality Products Ltd (AQP), the current Israel-based licensee. The new arrangement means Ben & Jerry’s will be sold under its Hebrew and Arabic names throughout Israel and the West Bank under the full ownership of its current licensee.

Under the terms of Unilever’s acquisition agreement of Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, Ben & Jerry’s and its independent Board were granted rights to take decisions about its social mission, but Unilever reserved primary responsibility for financial and operational decisions and therefore has the right to enter this arrangement.

Unilever has decided that the “values” of the old hippies at Ben & Jerry’s take a back seat to the billion-shekel business that the parent company does in Israel.

“Unilever is very proud of our business in Israel which supplies everyday household products to people across the country,” the company says, adding later that “We look forward to continuing to make a positive contribution to Israel’s economy and society for many decades to come, and hope that Israelis and Palestinians can reach a peaceful resolution of their conflict.”

Human rights attorney Arsen Ostrovsky, CEO of the International Legal Forum, issued a statement praising Unilever’s reversal of Ben & Jerry’s Israel boycott:

The International Legal Forum (ILF) applauds Unilever’s principled decision to reverse Ben & Jerry’s discriminatory and antisemitic boycott of Israel, which represents the most breathtaking and unequivocal defeat for the global BDS Movement. The ILF was proud to have been one of the first organizations to initiate legal action against Unilever in the United States over Ben & Jerry’s illegal and racist boycott, on behalf of a Palestinian claimant, who made the case that such boycotts only contribute to hatred and division, while Palestinians are the ones who lose out the most. A sweet victory indeed against the dark forces of hate, bigotry, and antisemitism of the global BDS Movement.

Good for Unilever for standing up to the anti-Semitism of companies like Ben & Jerry’s. Far from ruining Ben & Jerry’s, Unilever has done a service to untold numbers of Israeli and Palestinian customers and opened up a market that Ben & Jerry’s closed with its racism.

Freedom tastes sweet, like an ice cream cone on a hot day, doesn’t it?

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