(JTA) — A federal judge denied ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s attempt to get its parent company Unilever to stop selling the brand’s ice cream in the West Bank.
Andrew L. Carter Jr., a U.S. District judge in Manhattan, said Ben & Jerry’s claim that the sale would harm its brand, which incorporates social justice, was “speculative,” Bloomberg reported, and he blocked the ice cream maker’s request for a preliminary injunction against Unilever. The judge has yet to dismiss the case outright.
Ben & Jerry’s said last year year it would suspend sales to the West Bank while maintaining sales in Israel’s pre-1967 territory. That spurred condemnation by Israeli government officials and some U.S. Jewish organizations, along with calls for a boycott of the ice cream maker.
In June, after consulting with Jewish groups and Israeli officials, Unilever sold its Israeli business stake to Israel-based American Quality Products, Ltd., which has owned Ben & Jerry’s Israel factories and distributed the product in Israel since 1987. American Quality Products, Ltd. has publicly vowed to continue selling Ben & Jerry’s in the West Bank.
Ben & Jerry’s sued in July to stop the sale, arguing that it violated the agreement the company signed when it sold to Unilever in 2000, which permitted the brand to continue pushing social justice issues.
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