A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is requesting the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to determine if the parent company of Ben & Jerry’s should bring changes in its administrative filing to evaluate the potential threats to shareholders upon Israel boycott by the company.
On Friday, the group headed by Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., sent a letter to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler urging him to take such a step which would make sure Unilever, the ice cream company’s parent company, is in adherence with the SEC rules.
The Letter Mentions Taking Steps to Ensure the Full Disclosure of All Information
According to reports, the letter states “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 with the rules and regulations of the United States’ SEC,”
Continuing further the letter reads “Unilever is a widely held company with a current market capitalization of $135 billion, which places in jeopardy the manifold United States institutions, pension funds, and endowments which hold its shares on behalf of its beneficiaries.”
Adding further “We believe that these actions require the SEC to request that the regulatory filings of Unilever be amended to disclose the material risk factors.”
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Torres was joined by Representative Andrew Garbarino, R-N.Y., Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., in signing the letter.
In July, Ben and Jerry’s made the announcement that it would not involve in selling its products in disputed countries any further which also includes the West Bank, which the company described as “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
The decision arrived amidst a growing tiff between Israel and Gaza, and Ben & Jerry’s stated in a statement that to involve in the trading of products in such regions would be “inconsistent with” Ben & Jerry’s “values.”
In a July statement, Unilever stated that it “remain[s] fully committed to our presence in Israel” and referred to its 2000 acquisition agreement with Ben & Jerry’s that “recognized the right of the brand and its independent Board to take decisions about its social mission.”
30 States Restrict the Use of Public Pension Funds
Over 30 states ban the utilization of public pension funds or the granting of government contracts to companies that boycott Israel and certainly have given response to the Ben and Jerry’s Israel boycott by taking away pension funds from Unilever.