Australian kosher authority delists Ben & Jerry’s ice cream over West Bank ban

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The Times of Israel 21 July, 2021 - 03:51am 9 views

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Ben & Jerry's, a wholly-owned autonomous subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part mission statement emphasizing product quality, economic reward and a commitment to the community. unileverusa.comBen & Jerry's | Brands

An Australian kosher certification board said Wednesday that it was removing Ben & Jerry’s ice cream from its list of approved products in protest of the conglomerate’s recent move to stop supplying its goods to Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

“The KA has listed this brand and all kosher products with the range for many years,” the Sydney-based Kashrut Authority wrote in a statement. “That ended this week with its deletion, in support of those who proudly reside in Judea and Samaria.”

Judea and Samaria are the biblical names for the areas that make up the West Bank.

“Yes, this is a small stance on a global scale, but one we have chosen to make,” the statement said.

The authority noted that Ben & Jerry’s products in Australia that are tagged with the “KOF-K” logo, issued by a US-based international kosher certification provider, are still kosher to eat. It plugged a rival kosher-approved local ice cream manufacturer as an alternative to Ben & Jerry’s.

On Monday, Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would no longer distribute its products in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” apparently referring to West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem.

Aside from KA, which is headquartered in the state of New South Wales, neighboring Victoria state has its own Melbourne-based kosher board. Both certification panels operate by issuing lists of kosher products that are not necessarily marked as kosher on their packaging.

The Victoria board did not immediately issue any updates on Ben & Jerry’s. However, Kosher Kingdom, a large Melbourne supermarket serving the local Jewish community, said Tuesday it would stop selling Ben & Jerry’s and unload its remaining stock at a discount.

Bravo ???? to Kashrut Authority of #Australia & #NZ, for showing solidarity with residents of Judea & Samaria, by revoking kashrut license from @benandjerrys over their #Israel boycott. Communities around the world are showing they will not stand idle in wake of B&J’s actions! pic.twitter.com/9dnhULkOJU

— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) July 21, 2021

“This action is taken in response to Ben & Jerry’s boycott of Jewish communities that are at the center of a territorial dispute in Israel, including the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem — inhabited by Jews for over 3,000 years,” the chain of supermarkets said in a statement.

Seasons, which has six stores in and around New York, said it would remove all Ben & Jerry’s products from its shops, stating: “We stand with Israel. Always.”

In Teaneck, New Jersey, home to a significant Jewish population, both Cedar Market and Glatt Express, as well as Grand & Essex in neighboring Bergenfield, New Jersey, said they would cease selling the ice cream.

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United States and the United Nations, sent letters Tuesday to the governors of the 35 US states that have enacted legislation against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, requesting that they sanction Ben & Jerry’s.

The states that have passed anti-BDS legislation include Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, California, Maryland and Texas — but not Vermont, where Ben & Jerry’s is headquartered.

Ben & Jerry’s has said its decision would take effect at the end of 2022, when its contract with the current Israeli manufacturer and distributor expires. The future of Ben & Jerry’s sales across Israel beginning in 2023 remains in question.

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