The chairman of Ben & Jerry’s has called for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza in a move that risks reigniting a row with its owner Unilever.
Anuradha Mittal, who leads the ice cream maker’s board, 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.’
Ben & Jerry’s has been vocal in the past on its stance on Israeli politics
She told the Financial Times that it is ‘stunning’ that the ‘corporate world has been silent’ on the conflict.
But the comments could restart a bitter dispute with its parent company over its stance on Israeli politics.
Ben & Jerry’s attempted to boycott Palestinian territories in 2021, sparking a furious backlash with some critics accusing the brand of anti-Semitism.
Yesterday was the first time Ben & Jerry’s has made a public statement on the current conflict that erupted when Hamas terrorists stormed Israel and murdered 1,200 people on October 7.
Israel declared war on Hamas in retaliation, and its bombardment of Gaza has seen 24,000 killed, according to figures from the Hamas-run health ministry.
A Ben & Jerry’s spokesman said the company was ‘aware’ of Mittal’s comments.
‘The statement is on behalf of the independent board and the company has no additional comment at this time.
‘Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of supporting peace and peace building.’
A Unilever spokesman declined to comment.
The consumer goods giant, which owns Dove deodorant and Hellmann’s mayonnaise, bought Ben & Jerry’s in 2000.
The pricey ice cream brand, known for flavours such as Cookie Dough, retained the independence of its board under the deal. Ben & Jerry’s attempted boycott was defeated in 2022 after Unilever stepped in. But not before it took its owner to court to try to prevent the conglomerate selling Ben & Jerry’s Israeli arm to a local licensee.
The Israel-Hamas conflict is not the only issue the ‘woke’ brand has voiced opinions on.
On July 4 last year it was slammed for a US Independence Day tweet, saying it was ‘committed’ to returning ‘stolen’ lands to indigenous people. In 2022 it told then-Home Secretary Suella Braverman to ‘scrap the Rwanda plan’.