afaqs! news bureau

Ben & Jerry’s calls for immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza

According to Ben & Jerry’s board chair Anuradha Mittal, their stance on a ceasefire was consistent with the history and values of the company.

The Ben & Jerry’s board has called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza, a move that risks reigniting tensions with its parent company Unilever.

In a statement to Financial Times, Ben & Jerry’s  board chair Anuradha Mittal said, “Peace is a core value of Ben & Jerry’s. From Iraq to Ukraine [the company] has consistently stood up for these principles. Today is no different as we call for peace and a permanent and immediate ceasefire.”

Mittal said Ben & Jerry’s board was confident its stance on a ceasefire was consistent with the history and values of the company. 

According to Financial Times, the board of Ben & Jerry’s state that it had made its decision to call for a ceasefire independently of Unilever, pointing out that it is an autonomous subsidiary of the FMCG giant.

Ben & Jerry’s is one of the only few global brands that has taken a stance in the Israel-Gaza war. The ice cream maker’s statements come as a number of global brands like McDonald’s and Starbucks are facing boycotts and global backlash over their alleged support to Israel in the ongoing war.

In 2021, the ice-cream brand had attempted to stop selling its products in occupied Palestinian territories. After which, Unilever had sold the Israeli arm of the brand to a local licensee. Ben & Jerry’s responded to the move by filing a lawsuit against Unilever.

Tensions have risen at alarming levels in the Gaza strip since October 7, 2023 after Hamas militants stormed into Israel taking around 240 hostages and killing 1,200 people according to Israeli officials.

Israel has since declared a war on Hamas that has resulted in the death of more than 24,000 people including 10,000 children and displacing 1.9 million people. Protests and demonstrations in countries like the U.S and UK are calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Ben & Jerry's as a brand has consistently stood for a number of global causes including the rights and dignity for asylum seekers, racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, climate impact etc.

"We love making ice cream - but using our business to make the world a better place gives our work its meaning," says the brand's website talking about their activism.

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