[News] Ireland’s biggest food retailer drops Israeli produce as European boycotts surge
news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Aug 15 14:40:28 EDT 2014
Ireland’s biggest food retailer drops Israeli produce as European
Submitted by Michael Deas on Fri, 08/15/2014 - 14:12
Major Israeli food exporters are facing an unprecedented wave of
cancelations in orders from Europe as a result of Israel’s most recent
massacre <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/gazaunderattack> of
Palestinians in Gaza <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/gaza>.
SuperValu, the biggest food distributor in Ireland, told the Irish media
last week that it has withdrawn Israeli products from its shops.
And Israeli media reports suggest that other major European retailers
have taken similar decisions without announcing them publicly.
Israeli fruit and vegetable exporters have faced cancelations from
Scandinavia, the UK, France, Belgium and Ireland.
Retailers have become fearful of the rapidly growing consumer boycott of
Israeli goods, according to an 11 August article
<http://www.themarker.com/news/macro/1.2402510> in Hebrew business
website /The Marker/.
A spokesperson for EDOM, a major Israeli fruit grower and exporter that
has extensive operations in illegal Israeli settlements
in the occupied West Bank, told /The Marker/:
Importers from Europe are telling us that they can’t sell Israeli
produce … One European buyer has told me that he had been blocked in
several chains in Denmark and Sweden, and then in Belgium. Last
weekend, he told me that mangoes which had been packaged in the
Netherlands, as always, and shipped to Ireland, were returned,
claiming that Israeli produce would not be accepted …
I’ve heard of major exporters from whom chains in southern France
are no longer buying. There is no official boycott, but everyone is
afraid of selling Israeli fruits. We can only hope that things do
not get worse.
Among the other exporters interviewed for the article is an Israeli
pomegranate grower who is quoted as saying that they had been forced to
cancel their “entire work plan in the UK” because major retail chains
were no longer interested in Israeli goods, and that similar messages
had been received from importers in Belgium and Scandinavia.
A separate article published
in /The Marker/ on 27 July details how fruit juice producer Priniv had
lost a major contract with a business in Sweden
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/sweden> after refusing a request to
export the produce in a way that would make it easier to conceal the
fact it was produced in Israel. Customers in Belgium and France also
made similar requests.
Priniv director Ido Yaniv attributes the drop in sales to Israel’s
attack on Gaza.
Organized boycott, divestment and sanctions
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/bds> (BDS) campaigns have in recent
years succeeded in pressuring retailers across Europe to announce that
they will not stock produce from illegal Israeli settlements or from
companies that operate in settlements. The Tesco
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/tesco> chain the UK is the latest to
make such an announcement.
But it is now becoming increasingly clear that European businesses are
starting to react to growing public support for Palestinian rights and
boycotts of Israel in Europe. They are deciding not to sell Israeli
produce of any kind — at least for now.
“Disposal” of Israeli goods
Ireland’s largest grocery and food retailer distributor SuperValu
instructed all of its 232 stores to remove Israeli products from the
shelves earlier this month.
In an email to store managers, the chain called on store managers to
“remove all stock from available sale and dispose of [it] at store level.”
“It’s mostly fruit and vegetables, carrots and herbs more specifically,”
a source from the retailer told the /Irish /
Following the /Irish Herald/ story, SuperValu issued a statement saying
that it has not officially endorsed the boycott of Israel but did not
deny that Israeli products have been removed from its stores.
Major Irish toy store Smyths may have taken a similar decision,
temporarily displaying a poster at one Dublin store stating that it had
removed products made in Israel from the shelves.
The decisions come as part of a huge upsurge in support of the
Palestinian struggle and boycotts of Israel across Ireland.
Protests have been held in retailers across the country and calls for
boycott have been made by national trade unions, local councils and even
sports stars including Irish and Leinster rugby star Gordon Darcy.
Building the boycott
Calls for boycotts of Israeli products, for sanctions and a military
embargo to be imposed on Israel have been a key part
of the huge mass demonstrations in solidarity with Gaza that have taken
place across the world in recent weeks.
Civil society organizations are responding to the attack on Gaza by
announcing new boycott initiatives
In the weeks and months that follow, the challenge for campaigners will
be to ramp up the pressure on retailers to remove Israeli products and
to make their refusal to do so public.
Campaigns against the sale of Israeli fresh produce have been a major
focus of the solidarity movement in Europe in recent years.
BDS initiatives have focused on Israeli companies such as Mehadrin and
EDOM that play a key role in the colonization of Palestinian land in the
West Bank and profit from the siege of Gaza, as research published by
Palestinian farming unions has detailed
In January, Israeli settler leaders in the Jordan Valley
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/jordan-valley> region of the West
Bank told the Associated Press
that the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign had cost settlers
$29 million in lost sales, especially in Europe.
Campaigns against Israeli fresh produce exporters have intensified
following the decision
by the UK Co-operative
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/co-operative-group> retail chain to
boycott all companies that operate in settlements, with campaigns also
underway in France <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/france>, Spain
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/belgium>, the Netherlands
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/norway> and Sweden.
In 2011, Israeli export company Agrexco
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/carmel-agrexco> entered into
after boycotts and campaigns in thirteen European countries that saw
retailers cut links with the company, blockades of its UK and Belgium
warehouses and a huge mobilization against plans for an Agrexco
distribution center in Sete in the south of France.
Israeli analyst Shir Hever
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/shir-hever> suggested at the time
that farmers leaving Agrexco to export their products through other
channels because of the boycott campaign was a major factor behind the
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