Ben & Jerry's ice cream parlor
Ben & Jerry's ice cream parloriStock

Unilever was sued on Wednesday by a US shareholder who said the company mishandled the decision by its Ben & Jerry's unit to stop selling ice cream in Judea and Samaria, Reuters reports.

According to the proposed class action in Manhattan federal court, Unilever improperly concealed the decision before it was announced, recognizing that many US states might divest from companies that support anti-Israel boycotts, yet stood behind it once the news became public.

Unilever caused an uproar with its controversial July 19, 2021 announcement that it will stop selling the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in Judea and Samaria.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s who sold their company to Unilever years ago, have insisted that the decision by Unilever to stop selling the ice cream in Judea and Samaria is not a boycott of Israel.

In the months following the ice cream maker’s July 2021 announcement, multiple states divested from Unilever, including New York, Florida, New Jersey, Arizona, Texas and, most recently, Iowa.

The complaint filed on Wednesday noted that seven states have divested their pension fund investments in Unilever.

"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 complaint said.

The lawsuit was filed by a Michigan pension fund, the City of St. Clair Shores Police and Fire Retirement System.

Unilever did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Chief Executive Alan Jope and Unilever's board are also defendants.