UK supermarket: Call to boycott Israeli goods had no impact on trade

UK supermarket says call

tomatoes 248.88 (photo credit: Elise Best )
tomatoes 248.88
(photo credit: Elise Best )
LONDON - Last week's call by anti-Israel activists for people to boycott Israeli goods at two of the UK's largest supermarkets appears to have passed with no major impact. Radical fringe group Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) called for a week of boycott action and protests against Morrison's and Waitrose supermarkets and said they would flood the supermarket's help lines with nuisance calls throughout the day on Wednesday. Morrison's declined to comment but Waitrose declared there had been no impact at all on trade during the week. "Our customer services department has responded to calls in their normal way," a Waitrose spokesperson said. Responding to the boycott call, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Fair Play Campaign Group (FPCG) initiated a "BUYcott Israeli goods" campaign calling on friends of Israel to buy more Israeli goods. On Sunday, "BUYcott" campaigners were at Waitrose in Brent Cross Shopping Center in northwest London urging people to buy Israeli products. "We have heard from people all over Britain who made an extra effort to buy Israeli goods this week. In the future, we hope that every anti-Israel boycott is answered with a BUYcott," a FPCG spokesman said. Posting on the FPCG Web site, people commented on their shopping successes with a number of reports that Israeli produce had sold out. One post said: "I am a part of a group of Christians who love and support Israel from Wirral and Chester, we were made aware of this boycott and in response I managed to purchase 8 different kinds of Israeli produce from Morrison's in Chester, some were almost sold out! So well done to Morrison's and I pray this boycott will be turned around." Reporting that Israeli wine had sold out in one store, a contributor said: "Just to let you know that Waitrose in Finchley Road have these Israeli fresh products: mangoes, pomegranates, red grapefruit, organic dates and cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and tarragon plus all the Yarden products and various chocolates and cakes. There is no Israeli wine left, I bought 4 bottles last week. I have in fact decided to buy a substantial amount of Israeli products and am handing them out to friends and family. Thanks for alerting us to this campaign." Another said: "Just to let you know that today I bought lots of delicious Israeli Sharon fruit and really good quality mixed Israeli peppers from Waitrose at the Spires Shopping Center in Barnet. Well done, Waitrose." Next week, PSC is co-hosting a meeting with the humanitarian charity Oxfam, which is set to uncover companies and corporate organizations "who trade and profit from Israel's occupation of Palestine." One of the main speakers at Thursday's public event at the London School of Economics' Student Union, titled "Israel's Occupation of Palestine: who profits and who doesn't?" is Dr. Dalit Baum from Haifa University, who coordinates the "Who Profits from the Occupation" project as part of the Jaffa-based Coalition of Women for Peace. Described in the promotional material as "a feminist anti-occupation activist", Baum is set to discuss the project at the event as well as "present its mapping of corporate involvement in the occupation and tell the story of specific discoveries and challenges in ongoing campaigns." According to their mission statement, the "Who Profits" project says: "Israeli and international corporations are directly involved in the occupation: in the construction of Israeli colonies and infrastructure in the occupied territories, in the settlements' economy, in building walls and checkpoints, in the supply of specific equipment used in the control and repression of the civilian population under occupation."