US Lawmakers Urge SEC Inquiry Over Ben & Jerry’s Israel Boycott
i24 News – A group of lawmakers from the United States House of Representatives are calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to examine the regulatory implications of Ben & Jerry’s decision to halt sales in the West Bank.
Four legislators, Representatives Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), and Ritchie Torres (D-NY), wrote to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler about Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever.
In their letter, the lawmakers urged the SEC instruct Unilever to alter it’s regulatory filings to reflect the “material risk factors” caused by Ben & Jerry’s decision to end sales of its product in the West Bank, according to the New York Post.
“In the interests of shareholders, consumers, and public policy, we believe it is appropriate for the SEC to take steps to ensure the full disclosure of all information necessary to make Unilever’s filings in compliance,” the letter explained, according to Jewish Insider.
The letter, published Friday, then alleges the firm’s decision to halt West Bank sales could hurt Unilever’s shareholders because of the resulting boycotts and state divestment against Ben & Jerry’s.
Laws discouraging Israel boycotts are implemented in 35 US states, and many of these, including New York, are divesting from Unilever as a result of Ben & Jerry’s decision.
In July, the ice cream manufacturers announced a decision from the company’s independent board to stop selling its products in the West Bank, explaining the sales are “inconsistent with our values,” according to the Ben & Jerry’s website.