Fake announcement says US supermarket chain dropping Ben & Jerry's products
Facebook posts feature an image of an announcement from US supermarket chain Publix saying it will no longer carry Ben & Jerry's because of the ice cream company's decision to stop sales in occupied Palestinian territories. This is false; Publix says it has not dropped Ben & Jerry's products, and made no such statement on its website or social media accounts.
"Due to the recent statement by Ben & Jerry's We will no longer be carrying their products, effective immediately! We stand with Israel!" reads the text of an image in a July 20, 2021 Facebook post that appears to show a Publix announcement.
The post, which was apparently first published on a private account, was shared as a screenshot in several Facebook groups, and by a UK page supporting Israel's Likud party. Others shared the image on Twitter.
The purported announcement circulated on social media following Ben & Jerry's July 19 statement saying it would stop selling its products in the Israel-occupied Palestinian territories, namely the West Bank and East Jerusalem, because doing so is "inconsistent with our values." The move prompted a backlash in Israel and parts of the US.
However, Publix -- which did not respond to AFP's requests for comment by the time of publication -- says it does not plan to remove Ben & Jerry's products.
"While we currently don't plan to remove Ben & Jerry's from our stores, we'll continue evaluating products based on sales," the company's customer service Twitter account @PublixHelps wrote in response to questions over the authenticity of the claim.
Various Ben & Jerry's products are also still available on Publix's website.
The fake announcement was shared as the company faces public pressure on Publix to ban Ben & Jerry's products from its stores.
A petition on change.org asking Publix and Winn Dixie, another supermarket chain, to stop selling the ice cream, was signed by more than 450 people at the time of publication.
A search for the words "Publix Israel" on social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle also shows that a Facebook account shared a message encouraging people to email Publix CEO Todd Jones about Ben & Jerry's in at least 10 different groups related to Florida, where the supermarket chain is headquartered.
On July 20, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned consumer goods giant Unilever, of which Ben & Jerry's is a subsidiary, that the decision would have "severe consequences."
The Israeli government has for years been fighting a BDS movement, which calls for boycott, divestment and sanction of the Jewish state over its policies toward Palestinians.