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

Ben & Jerry’s was sued on Thursday by its longtime Israeli ice cream manufacturer, Avi Zinger, who says the company illegally severed their 34-year relationship after halting sales in Judea and Samaria, Reuters reports.

Zinger said Ben & Jerry’s refused to renew the license for his American Quality Products Ltd. because he would not abide by the company’s decision to stop selling its products in Judea and Samaria and parts of eastern Jerusalem.

Ben & Jerry’s and its parent, Unilever, declined to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed with the US District Court in Newark, New Jersey.

Thursday’s complaint says that Ben & Jerry’s had “repeatedly promised” Zinger it would renew its license with his 169-employee company beyond its scheduled December 31, 2022 expiration, but caved to pressure from Israel’s opponents.

Zinger said the only reason for the reversal was his “refusal to comply with their unlawful demand that plaintiffs violate Israeli law by boycotting parts of Israel.”

His lawsuit seeks an injunction maintaining the status quo until the case is resolved, plus unspecified damages.

Unilever caused an uproar with its controversial July 19 announcement that it will stop selling the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Judea and Samaria.

Following that announcement, Zinger, whose company operates out of Be'er Tuvia, stressed that Ben & Jerry’s Israel is not boycotting any part of Israel.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s who sold their company to Unilever years ago, have insisted that the decision by Unilever to stop selling the ice cream in Judea and Samaria is not a boycott of Israel.

In the months following the ice cream maker’s July 2021 announcement, multiple states divested from Unilever, including New York, Florida, New Jersey, Arizona, Texas and, most recently, Iowa.