Su­per­mar­kets defy demos by re­fus­ing to change pol­icy

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DANIEL EASTERMAN

SU­PER­MAR­KETS IN­SIST THEY will not change their pol­icy on stock­ing Is­raeli goods, de­spite protests from pro-Pales­tinian ac­tivists.

Tesco and Sains­bury’s have both been tar­geted by boy­cott pro­tes­tors in the past few days. Tesco re­ported demos at 20 stores.

The su­per­mar­ket chain, Bri­tain’s largest, cur­rently stocks Is­raeli prod­ucts such as Yar­den wine, Osem soups and cakes, and as well as fresh pro­duce.

It also stocks dates pro­duced in the West Bank but has an­nounced it is with­draw­ing them next month as part of a “reg­u­lar prod­uct re­view”.

A spokesman said: “We have no plans to change our pol­icy on sourc­ing from Is­rael”.

Pro-Pales­tinian ac­tivists tweeted that they had forced four Sains­bury’s branches — in Whitechapel, Brix­ton, Brighton and Birm­ing­ham — to close on Satur­day, show­ing pho­to­graphs of at least five po­lice of­fi­cers guard­ing the front en­trance of the store in Brix­ton. But Sains­bury’s said that only the Birm­ing­ham and Brighton stores had been closed — both on po­lice ad­vice and for only 30 min­utes.

Pho­to­graphs on Twit­ter show pro­tes­tors storm­ing the premises and pos­ing for pho­tos splayed out on the su­per­mar­ket floor while po­lice and se­cu­rity guards l ook on.

In a state­ment, Sains­bury’s promised that the dis­tur­bances would not af­fect the com­pany’s pol­icy.

“We are a non-po­lit­i­cal or­gan­i­sa­tion and source our own brand prod­ucts ac­cord­ing to the abil­ity of the pro­ducer to meet our qual­ity, safety and eth­i­cal stan­dards,” said a spokes­woman.

“We give our cus­tomers the op­por­tu­nity to make their own de­ci­sions by la­belling our own brand prod­ucts clearly and ac­cu­rately. We have ap­proved sup­pli­ers in both Pales­tine and Is­rael but no cur­rent own-brand sup­pli­ers from Is­raeli set­tle­ments in the West Bank.”

Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Mor­risons said their stores had not ex­pe­ri­enced any se­ri­ous dis­rup­tion.

M&S said: “There has only been min­i­mal dis­rup­tion to trade at our stores in re­cent weeks.

“There have been no changes to our pol­icy. We do not take any prod­ucts from the oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries — the West Bank, Golan Heights or Gaza.

“To en­sure we have com­plete trace­abil­ity we must be able to see ex­actly where we source all our prod­ucts from. There­fore, we only source from ar­eas that we can visit safely. This has been the case for a num­ber of years.”

Waitrose said their sourc­ing de­ci­sions were never po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated while Mor­risons said they had not ex­pe­ri­ence any protests and would con­tinue to stock Is­raeli prod­ucts.

Clock­wise from top:

con­fronta­tion out­side Ke­dem in Manch­ester; ac­tivists oc­cupy a West Mid­lands fac­tory; “diein” out­side the Board of Deputies in Lon­don, pro­test­ers at Sains­bury’s; Kingston Sy­n­a­gogue

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