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

A Manhattan federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit against Unilever that claimed the company misled US investors by not immediately disclosing a decision by its Ben & Jerry's unit to stop selling ice cream in Judea and Samaria, Reuters reported.

A Michigan pension fund sued in June 2022, seeking damages for a drop in Unilever shares after Ben & Jerry's announced in July 2021 it would stop sales in Judea and Samaria and parts of eastern Jerusalem.

US District Judge Lorna Schofield ruled on Tuesday that Unilever was not required to disclose the boycott when Ben & Jerry's board decided on it in 2020 because Unilever had ultimate control over whether to implement it.

While Ben & Jerry's board oversees its social mission, Unilever retained authority over financial and operational decisions when it bought the ice cream company in 2000.

Schofield said the delay in announcing the board's resolution was likely "to determine what, if anything, to do about it."

The announcement led to months of controversy and criticism, including multiple American states divesting from the firm, and Australia’s kosher authority delisting the ice cream maker.

In July of 2022, Unilever announced that it had reached a new arrangement for Ben & Jerry’s in Israel, selling its Ben & Jerry’s business interests in Israel to Avi Zinger, the owner of American Quality Products Ltd (AQP), the current Israel-based licensee.

The new arrangement meant Ben & Jerry’s would be sold under its Hebrew and Arabic names throughout Israel, including Judea and Samaria, under the full ownership of its current licensee.

Ben & Jerry’s then sued Unilever in a bid to block the sale of the Israeli business to Zinger. That lawsuit was settled in December of 2022.