A Michigan State Pension fund that has shares in Unilever has launched a class-action lawsuit against the food giant, news agencies report.
The prosecutors claim that Unilever’s management of a subsidiary, Ben & Jerry’s declaring an Israel settlement boycott and not to sell its goods in “Israeli-occupied” Palestinian territories Judea and Samaria and east Jerusalem was wrong.
In July 2021, Ben & Jerry’s stated that it will cease selling its goods in the West Bank and portions of East Jerusalem, as well as end its three-decade partnership with an Israeli ice cream company that opposed the decision.
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the Israeli ice cream company, American Quality Products Ltd, sued Ben & Jerry’s in March 2022 for refusing to renew its license. After the parties agreed to arbitration, a New Jersey court placed the matter on hold last week.
According to the proposed class action in federal court in Manhattan, Unilever wrongfully concealed the decision before it was disclosed, acknowledging that many U.S. states may divest from firms that support anti-Israel boycotts, but standing by it once the news became public.
According to the complaint, seven states including New York, Florida, and Texas later unloaded their pension fund assets in Unilever.
Unilever American depositary receipts (“ADRs”) declined roughly 8% in six days as those states examined their agreements with the company and some Jewish organizations accused Ben & Jerry’s of anti-Semitism.
“As a result of defendants’ wrongful acts and omissions, and the declines in the market value of Unilever ADRs, plaintiff and other class members have suffered significant losses and damages,” the lawsuit said.