Ben & Jerry's ice cream parlor
Ben & Jerry's ice cream parloriStock

Ben and Jerry's Israel on Wednesday morning took its battle against the Global Ben and Jerry's one step further, submitting an official complaint to the Competition Authority regarding the submission of the Global company to the boycott organizations against Israel.

The complaint focuses on the conduct of the global brand, which constitutes an acute violation of the terms of the merger between them and Unilever, and constitutes "an acute attempt of giving Strauss Ice Creams a significant advantage."

"We call on the Director-General take part in this and to instruct the cancellation of the illegal demand to stop the distribution in the Palestinian Territories," the request states.

The AQP company, which owns the franchise to distribute the Ben and Jerry's products in Israel, has reached out via the services of adv. Dr. Dori Klagsbald to the deputy of the Director General of the Competition Authority, adv. Michal Cohen, in an official complaint regarding an acute violation of the instructions of the Competition Authority from the year 2000. These instructions pertain to the merger between Unilever (a holder of controlling interest in Strauss Ice Creams) and the Global Ben and Jerry’s.

According to the terms of the merger, it has been determined that there shall not be conducted any action towards decreasing the capacity of the franchise of the Ben and Jerry’s products in Israel. This is due to a concern which arose when the merger was signed that the food titan might act in favor of decreasing the competition in the market. It has been further determined, following the terms of the merger, that Unilever shall have no right to determine for the owner of the franchise the terms of the marketing of the products in Israel.

As can be recalled, about 6 weeks ago, and in complete contradiction to the terms of the merger, the global company informed the Israeli franchisee about the termination of his franchising period, and demanded the cessation of the distribution of the company's products in Judea and Samaria, a demand perceived by the Israeli franchisee as illegal, immoral, and a submission to the boycott organizations of Israel - something it was not willing to accept.

The demand sparked controversy in Israel and worldwide, as many Israelis expressed their support for the Israeli franchisee, who had to independently fight the international food titan wishing to damage the competition in the ice cream market in Israel, while granting an immense triumph to the international boycott organizations which act to damage and isolate Israel in international forums.

Now, AQP is moving to the next stage in its struggle to maintain the franchise, reaching out to the Competition Authority with a request to interfere and demand the company keep the original terms of the merger. Such an act would nullify the Global Ben and Jerry’s demand from the Israeli franchisee not to distribute and market the brand’s products in Judea and Samaria.

Avi Zinger, the CEO and owner of Ben and Jerry’s Israel, said, "As an Israeli franchisee, I am obligated firstly to the State of Israel and its citizens, so I had no doubts about refusing to accept the anti-Israel demand, which harms and discriminates against many of the country’s civilians."

"More than the submission and obsequiousness to the BDS organizations, there is a severe interference with the competition in Israel and an acute violation of the terms of the merger, and therefore we demand the intervention of the Competition Authority to act towards defending the Israeli consumer."