Ben & Jerry's and its parent Unilever said on Monday that talks had broken down to resolve their dispute over the sale of the ice cream maker's Israeli business, which would allow its products to be sold in Judea and Samaria, Reuters reported.
In a letter to US District Judge Andrew Carter in Manhattan, a lawyer for Ben & Jerry's said two weeks of mediation to settle out of court proved unsuccessful.
He asked Carter to restore Ben & Jerry's request for a preliminary injunction to block Unilever from selling the Israeli ice cream business to local licensee Avi Zinger.
Unilever caused an uproar last year when it announced that it will stop selling the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Judea and Samaria.
However, in late June, Unilever reached a deal to sell the rights to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Israel, circumventing its own boycott of Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria.
Under the new arrangement, Zinger will sell the ice cream exclusively under Ben & Jerry’s Hebrew and Arabic names in Israel – including Judea and Samaria.
While Israeli leaders lauded the decision, Ben & Jerry’s condemned the move, declaring Judea and Samaria “Occupied Palestinian Territory”.
On July 5, Ben & Jerry’s sued Unilever in a bid to block the sale of the Israeli business to Zinger, saying Unilever had guaranteed Ben & Jerry's the right to protect its brand when buying the company in 2000.
Unilever countered that it was "fully empowered" to conduct the sale, which could not be undone because it has already closed.
Ben & Jerry’s and Unilever agreed earlier this month to try to reach a deal out-of-court by July 28. However, a source quoted by Reuters said the talks did not work out because Ben & Jerry’s does not want to “cave” on its social mission and stance on Palestinian human rights.