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Ben & Jerry's sues Unilever to prevent the sale of Israeli business

(CNN Business)Ben&Jerry's is suing the parent company for canceling thesale of the businessTo a local partner who continues to distribute products on the West Bank in Israel.

Vermont-based ice cream maker filed a complaint with the US District Court in New York on Tuesday,Unireber (UL)"Ben&Jerry's has been building for decades to protect brand and social integrity."

Ben&Jerry's Has been operating in Israel since 1987, but in recent years has been forced to sell in villages on the west bank, which is considered illegal by international law. In July 2021, it announced that it would stop selling on the west bank altogether.

This caused a dispute with Israel's longtime distributor, American Quality Products (AQP), and in March sued Ben & Jerry's and Unilever, "an order to boycott Israel.

Unileaver, one of the world's top sellers of consumer goods such as dub soap and magnum ice cream, last week gave Ben&Jerry's Israeli business a private amount to AQP.

A major retailer said Ben&Jerry's will now be sold under Hebrew and Arabic names throughout Israel and the West Bank.

However, the decision to sell to AQP surprised Ben&Jerry's board. According to court filings, the chairman said he was "surprised" when he heard the news.

Since 2021, Ben&Jerry's has been fiercely opposed to selling products at Westbank, saying it is "inconsistent" with the brand.

In a complaint on Tuesday, he said that the brand value was legally overseen by an independent board of directors under a 2000 agreement with Unireber.

Ben&Jerry's said last week that five directors voted to approve the case and two appointed members from Unireber decided to file a lawsuit at a meeting opposed. Stated.

In last week'sstatement, Unireber acknowledged that "Ben&Jerry and his independent board were given the right to make decisions about their social mission."

However, the parent company claimed that it "reserves primary responsibility for financial and operational decisions and therefore has the right to enter into this arrangement."

In a new statement Wednesday, Unireber's spokesperson reiterated that he "had the right to participate in this arrangement."

"The deal has already been completed," the representative said, adding that he would not comment on the pending lawsuit.

In a statement last week, Unireber said he had reviewed the business there "for several months, including the Israeli government."

"Unilever has taken the opportunity of the past year to hear his views on this complex and delicate issue and believe that this is the best result for Ben&Jerry's in Israel. I am. "

— Jordan Barinsky contributed to this report.