Torres asks SEC to review filings over Ben & Jerry’s Israel boycott

A Bronx congressman is asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to demand the parent company of Ben & Jerrys to amend their regulatory filings to reflect potential new risks caused by the woke ice cream maker’s decision to no longer peddle its products in parts of Israel.

Participating in the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel can result in potentially stiff financial consequences in more than 30 states — including New York, which has moved to divest more than $100 million in pension funds from Unilever.

“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,” reads the letter sent to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler on Friday.

“We believe that these actions require the SEC to request that the regulatory filings of Unilever be amended to disclose the material risk factors.”

The letter was spearheaded by Rep. Ritchie Torres — a progressive Democrat from The Bronx — but he was joined by a bipartisan group of colleagues including Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-New Jersey), Andrew Garbarino (D-Long Island) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania).

Participating in the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel can result in potentially stiff financial consequences in more than 30 states,
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images

Ben & Jerry’s revealed in July that it would cease sales in certain areas of Israel to make a political statement about the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” the company said in a statement. “We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”

Though Ben & Jerry’s is owned by Unilever, the ice cream maker maintains an independent board which can make management decisions relating to its “social mission,” Unilever said.

 Protesters demonstrate against Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream at the New York Public Library on August 12, 2021
Protesters demonstrate against Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream at the New York Public Library on August 12.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images