Ben & Jerr's
Ben & Jerr'siStock

The founders of ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's say that parent company Unilever is in violation of the 2000 merger deal over its sale of Ben & Jerry's business in Israel to a local licensee who could sell their products in Judea and Samaria, Reuters reports.

One of the founders, Ben Cohen, said in an interview on MSNBC on Sunday, "That agreement gave authority over the social mission to the independent board of Ben & Jerry's. Unilever has usurped their authority and reversed the decision that was made and we can't allow that to happen, we can't sit idly by."

Partner Jerry Greenfield said the agreement is legally binding and needs to be adhered to.

Unilever, in contrast, has said it retained the right to make operational decisions for Ben & Jerry's, and that the sale could not be undone because it has irrevocably closed.

On July 5, Ben & Jerry’s sued Unilever in a bid to block the sale of the Israeli business to Israeli licensee Avi Zinger, saying Unilever had guaranteed Ben & Jerry's the right to protect its brand when buying the company in 2000.

The sale would allow Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in Judea and Samaria, circumventing Ben & Jerry’s controversial boycott of Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria, which caused an uproar last year.

In late August, however, the court rejected Ben & Jerry's request for an injunction to stop the sale.

Ben & Jerry’s announced earlier this month it plans to amend its lawsuit and file an amended complaint by September 27, with Unilever’s response due by November 1.

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