Check The Label - Boycott Israeli Produce
An effective strategy to end occupation
FOA advocates the boycott of Israel at multiple levels, in order to pressure Israel into ending its illegal and immoral occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Boycott is a means for ordinary people who are angered by Israel's attacks on civilians to give voice to their anger through positive action.
This boycott campaign is both economic and cultural and will continue until Israel lifts the siege on Gaza, ends its occupation of Palestinian lands, removes settlers from the West Bank and answers charges of War Crimes.
Palestinians have called for action and boycott is our strongest tool.
Boycott is a tool of protest, and we are all protestors in the face of Israeli war crimes and oppression.
Our boycott call has been heeded by individuals, businesses, councils and trade unions. We will not stop until Israel stops its inhumane treatment of the Palestinians.
Boycott hurts Israel in a number of ways -
1. It reduces their income as companies stop trading with Israel.
2. It isolates Israel by rejecting it from the rest of the democratic world by exposing it as a false democracy, wherein there is only freedom for one people and oppression for another.
3. It pressurises Israel to change its inhumane policies in Gaza and release it strangle hold in the West Bank.
4. As world governments clamour to support Israel and its 'right to defend itself' while ignoring the relentless Israeli aggression and wanton violence against Palestinians, ordinary people like us can make a huge difference. Through boycott, we isolate Israel and send a clear message that the global grassroots communities will not stand by and do nothing while Israel murders innocent Palestinian women and children.
You can join this action by boycotting Israel in your weekly shop, and lobbying your supermarket to ensure that they stop sourcing produce from Israel. This campaign is going from strength to strength.
The latest supermarket to respond to the boycott call was Tesco who announced that they will no longer source produce from settlements.
The need to boycott Israel is growing
The call for boycotting Israel has grown significantly in recent years. The main purpose of this global campaign is to bring Israel to account for its human rights violations against Palestinians. The reason such civil action is necessary is because governments around the world with the power to intervene have repeatedly failed to utilise international legal apparatus to hold Israel to account for its crimes.
However, successful boycott campaigns have revealed that ordinary people do have the power to act and respond to Palestinian calls for intervention.
Israel has occupied Palestinian Land in the West Bank and Gaza since 1967. It has governed the people of this land using the most oppressive policies which deny them the right to live in peace and prosper economically. Israel has effectively built a Palestinian society which is wholly dependent on Israel for food, water and electricity, while robbing them of their natural resources and their basic rights; stealing land from Palestinian families and building illegal settlements and denying basic freedoms. Israel imposed an immoral and inhumane siege on the Gaza Strip since 2007, and has launched 6 full-scale military assaults killing thousands of innocent civilians.
The destruction of Palestinian infrastructure through Israeli military assaults, routine demolitions of essential resources such as water wells, and blocking access to farmlands; means that Palestinians are unable to freely harvest their lands and bring their produce onto the markets.
It is well documented that farmers are attacked by extremist settlers, and shot at by army personnel. Entire initiatives such as the Olive Cooperative have been built in response to these attacks, so that international solidarity activists can go to Palestine simply to help farmers harvest their crops and document the violent assaults some face on a daily basis. We are boycotting Israeli produce as Israel should not have the right to sell its harvest on our markets while denying Palestinians the right to even grow their own produce in safety.
Fishermen off the coast of Gaza face similar deadly assaults, this time from Israel’s naval vessels. Thus, peaceful farming or fishing is now a luxury for Palestinians, yet Israel is exporting its own produce globally and reaping the financial rewards for it. Its exploitation of stolen Palestinian lands in the West Bank should not be allowed to enter European markets and the boycott campaigns seek to highlight this.
The boycott of illegal settlement produce is becoming established. However, there is now also a move to boycott Israeli produce too, as Israeli companies have been found to breach EU food labelling regulations by labelling settlements goods as ‘produce of Israel’. By doing this, they mislead consumers into believing that the goods are legitimately farmed in Israel, instead of illegitimately farmed on stolen Palestinian land, often exploiting Palestinian labour.
Recent statistics reveal that illegal settlements profit from exporting their produce to Europe to the tune of 230 million Euros a year. When compared to Palestinian exports, this is fifteen times greater in value. Thus, the EU imports 100 times more produce per illegal Israeli settler than it does per legitimate Palestinian resident of the West Bank.
The success of the boycott campaigns reflects the feeling on the ground. Ordinary Brits do not want to be a part of Israel’s racist and illegal occupation policies, and they do not wish to support the illegal settlements by buying their produce.
British Politicians Oppose Boycott
Both the Conservatives and the Labour Party have both come out against boycott of Israel.
David Cameron stated in October 2012:
In a speech by David Cameron at the annual dinner of the United Jewish Israel Appeal, Cameron said on boycotting:
"And to those in Britain’s universities and trades unions who want to boycott Israel and consign it to an international ghetto, I say not only will this Government never allow you to shut down 60 years worth of vibrant exchange and partnership that does so much to make both our countries stronger but I also say this: we know what you are doing – trying to delegitimise the State of Israel - and we will not have it."
The Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander, recently stated ''it is not Labour policy to support boycotts. We would like to see even stronger economic ties with Israel'. His comments were reported on twitter following a London meeting on 7 February 2013.
European Consumer Labelling laws
The EU is considering making it illegal for Israel to sell produce from the illegal settlements labelled as ‘produce of Israel’. This would be a marked step towards obstructing settlements from profiting from the land they have stolen.
Produce to Boycott
Products to look out for are: dates, citrus fruits and herbs, and manufactured products including cosmetics, carbonation devices, plastics, textile products and toys.
Recently, Morrisons supermarket was found to be selling medjoul dates labelled as ‘Produce of Israel’ but which were in fact from illegal settlements.
1) Every time you go shopping, 'Check the Label' on the produce you buy. Ensure they are not from Israel, West Bank (Settlement Produce) or Jordan Valley. If you do see produce from these places, take a photo and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org detailing the store and location.
2) If you find produce labelled as from Israel, West Bank (Settlement produce) or Jordan Valley ask to speak to the store Manager and explain that the produce are from Israel and/or illegal Israeli Settlements. Israel has committed grave war crimes against Palestinians and has stolen Palestinian land to build illegal settlements. Tell them that by stocking this produce they are helping Israel to oppress the Palestinian people.
Ask for them to be removed from the shelves and for them not to be stocked again. Please also ask for the suppliers name if it is not clear as this is useful information. Email your experience to email@example.com
3) If you do not want to approach the Manager whilst you are shopping, contact the stores Head office on their customer service number/email explaining your concern.
Sainsbury’s source dates from Israeli company Mehadrin which grows dates in illegal Israeli settlements. If you shop at Sainsbury's, lobby the giant supermarket asking them to source their dates more ethically.
Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd, 33 Holborn, London, EC1N 2HT
0800 636 262
Tesco Customer Service Centre, Baird Avenue, Dundee, DD1 9NF
08457 22 55 33
0800 188 884
Customer service enquiries - 0845 611 6111
General or corporate enquiries - 0845 611 5000
By Post: Customer Service Department, Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC, Hilmore House, Gain Lane, Bradford, BD3 7DL
General Enquiries: 0800 952 0101
Write to: Customer Service, ASDA House, Southbank, Great Wilson Street, Leeds LS11 5AD
Holly Lane, Atherstone, Warwickshire CV9 2SQ
0844 406 8800
0870 444 1234