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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Boycott the Cooperative Group!

If you live in England and support Israel, you should boycott the Cooperative Group. The Cooperative Group, England's largest co-op, has decided to boycott four major Israeli produce suppliers because of their ties to Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.
The Co-operative Group has become the first major European supermarket group to end trade with companies that export produce from illegal Israeli settlements.

The UK's fifth biggest food retailer and its largest mutual business, the Co-op took the step as an extension of its existing policy which had been not to source produce from illegal settlements that have been built on Palestinian territories in the West bank.

Now the retail and insurance giant has taken it one step further by "no longer engaging with any supplier of produce known to be sourcing from the Israeli settlements".

The decision will hit four companies and contracts worth some £350,000. But the Co-op stresses this is not an Israeli boycott and that its contracts will go to other companies inside Israel that can guarantee they don't export from illegal settlements.

...

The Co-op's decision will immediately affect four suppliers, Agrexco, Arava Export Growers, Adafresh and Mehadrin, Israel's largest agricultural export company. Other companies may be affected by the policy.
JPost adds:
The food retailer clarified that the "position is not a boycott of Israeli businesses, and we continue to have supply agreements with some [20] Israeli suppliers that do not source from the settlements."It added that it will "continue to actively work to increase trade links with Palestinian businesses."
I have no idea how much of the produce exported by the four companies in question comes from Judea and Samaria, but I suspect it's far less than half (and that the companies will not release information like that). In essence, this is a boycott of Israel and not just of Judea and Samaria.

I also have no idea how muh the Cooperative purchases from the other suppliers, but I would bet that it's far less than it purchases from the four big ones.

Finally, the large Israeli exporters also market 'Palestinian' products. In other words, the 'Palestinians' are losing out.

UPDATE 5:06 PM

Received from a British correspondent:
Actually, it's a chain frequented by vegans and hippies which has cultivated an image of 'ethical' consumerism in order to appeal to a very specific market. The management couldn't care less, but they'll do whatever curries favour with their target consumers, be that banning plastic bags or boycotting Israeli goods.

This is the result of a long campaign which began around 2007. PSC members deliberately joined the Co-op and brought with them fellow travellers who are not necessarily identifiable PSC/BIG people, but friends/family on the same wavelength. Within a fairly short period of time - around 12-18 months - they had managed to dominate local Co-op members groups which, in all fairness, wasn't difficult because the vast majority of Co-op members don't bother going to meetings and/or are sympathetic to 'progressive' causes.

Local branches then send reps to area meetings and from there to national meetings and hence a small number of committed people willing to put in the time managed to dictate the Co-op's agenda through perfectly democratic and legitimate means.
Not only does the Co-op's organisational structure lend itself very well to this type of action, but the Co-op management will run with anything it perceives as attractive to the 'ethical' consumer because - unable to compete with giants such as Asda and Tesco on price - it has tried to attract customers through the use of the green/fairtrade/ethical agenda.

This is a prime example of the success of the type of 'creeping' anti-Israel propaganda which is spread at under the radar local levels in the UK. A steady stream of anti-Israel letters to the local newspaper, a few local vicars on board, a PSC demo every few weeks, an annual benefit 'Gig for Gaza' at the local working men's club - and hey presto: the result is an entire town which knows very little of the ins and outs of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but is absolutely sure who is right and who is wrong.

It can technically be turned around, but that requires people from our side to join the Co-op and put in the same kind of effort in attending meetings etc.

The Co-op also has a funeral business, an insurance company and a bank which provides services to 'Viva Palestina'.
Hmmm. Given today's UK, I wonder whether there's any hope of 'our side' getting enough people to join to turn it around.

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4 Comments:

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

So the U.K. Cooperative is conducting a war on Farmworkers! People of a certain age will remember when, in California, Farmworkers leader Cesar Chavez called for "everyone" to boycott buying lettuce, grapes, and I forget what else. And of course the nice Americans did what he said, wanting to make the Farmworkers' situation better. Except it succeeded so spectacularly that it collapsed the produce market and shut down a bunch of produce operations. And Cesar Chavez ended up appealing to the public to end the boycott, while his Farmworker proteges went hungry with no work. That boycott took years to unravel.

So, seriously, this kind of boycott can be framed as a war on the poor. How many PA people work in the produce industry in the "West Bank"? We drove through there and heard that most of the jobs over there went to local Palestinians.

 
At 4:14 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Sunlight,

When I was at Columbia, the cry was 'boycott lettuce, boycott grapes, boycott everything Gallo makes.' I didn't (except for Gallo, which wasn't and isn't Kosher).

And I wasn't a Republican yet then....

 
At 4:26 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

Anybody who hasn't gone to Israel yet has got to go. Do the northern loop and make sure your tour drives down the Jordan Valley (which is part of the "West Bank") and drives up the hills into Jerusalem from that east side. There is no other way to get a grip on the lies and disaster visited onto the (economically) poor people (Palestinians) in that neighborhood by the Euro and U.S. Leftists. And the Israeli Leftists wanting to be accepted by these others.

Yours in spreading darkness,
Sunlight

 
At 4:48 PM, Blogger Empress Trudy said...

Boycott Egyptian cotton, unless you're in favor of female genital mutilation.

 

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