Prominent Republican Senators are now calling for an SEC investigation into Unilever, the parent company of Ben and Jerry’s, due to their Israel boycott. Ben & Jerry’s publicly sided with the Palestinians after Hamas launched a series of rockets into Israel.
During the height of the Israel-Palestinian conflict in July of 2021, Ben & Jerry’s released the following deplorable statement:
“Ben & Jerry’s will end sales of our ice cream in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”
It is clearly anti-Semitic to refer to regions of Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as “Occupied Palestinian Territory”, especially after Palestinian terrorists targeted Jewish civilians in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with over 4,300 rockets and mortar rounds. Those who believe the Israeli people are colonizers stealing territory from Palestinians are beyond contempt.
In their July statement, Ben & Jerry’s also said:
“Although Ben & Jerry’s will no longer be sold in the OPT, we will stay in Israel through a different arrangement.”
Ben & Jerry’s Israel boycott is purely to appease woke leftists, and it seems they have not begun a boycott of any sort. Ben & Jerry’s has distributors and stores within Israel, making them subject to Israeli laws that prohibit companies from using targeted boycotts based on location.
Therefore, it would be impossible for Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling in the West Bank and Gaza Strip without divesting from Israel entirely.
GOP senators are using this fact to launch an investigation into Ben & Jerry’s parent company Unilever. Announcing a boycott publicly and not following through with it violates SEC Rule 10b-5(b).
This SEC rule makes it unlawful “to make any untrue statement of a material fact or to omit to state a material fact necessary, in the light of circumstances under which they were made.”
The Republican senators spearheading the investigation into Unilever are Gary Gensler, Thom Tillis, John Kennedy, and Tim Scott. These senators believe that Ben & Jerry’s knew moving sales from the West Bank and Gaza was a violation of Israeli laws and only stated they were doing so publicly to win favor with leftist consumers.
A spokesman from Tim Scott’s office had this to say on the issue:
“Woke corporations like Ben & Jerry’s want to have their cake – or in this case, ice cream – and eat it too. Sen. Scott is committed to holding them and their parent company accountable for misleading shareholders and the public.”
Senator Scott’s office alleges that Ben & Jerry’s wished to gain new leftist consumers via their anti-Semitic statement but not to suffer the financial consequences of following through with their Israel boycott.
Not only did Ben & Jerry’s release an abhorrent statement after Hamas attacked Israel, but they also made materially false and misleading statements. While Ben & Jerry’s believed this would work in their favor, it may result in an SEC investigation and punishment.
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