Dear Friends, 
We have received several queries on the issue of whether dates sold by the South African company, Karsten Farms (sometimes marketed as "Kalahari Medjoul Dates") should be boycotted.
This week BDS South Africa together with the Palestine Solidarity Alliance communicated directly with Karsten Farms, we investigated the issue and have found that Karsten Farms have indeed violated the Palestinian BDS call by having a trade agreement with an Israeli cooperative, Hadiklaim, that operates in Israel's illegal settlements. Thus, we support and encourage the boycott of Karsten Farms and call on it to immediately end its Israeli relations. 
In 2005 Palestinians issued a call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it abides by international law and basic human rights ( Karsten Farms and Israel's Hadiklaim have a trade agreement whereby Karsten Farms exports South African Kalahari Medjoul dates to Israel's Hadiklaim cooperative, the cooperative then packages and markets Karsten Farms' Medjoul dates before it enters European and other markets (through the Israeli cooperative and under Israeli brands such as Jordan River, King Solomon, Kalahari etc.). Thus, Karsten Farms has a formal agreement with Israel's Hadiklaim cooperative and is in clear violation of the Palestinian BDS call. Furthermore, beyond just being an Israeli company, the Israeli cooperative, Hadiklaim, also directly profiteers and is complicit in the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian lands and the oppression of the Palestinian people:
- Hadiklaim (the Israeli company which Karsten Farms is in partnership with) openly admits to sourcing its dates --against international law-- from the illegal Israeli settlements of Almog, Beit Ha'arava (close to the Dead Sea), Mitzpe Shalem, Kalia, Vered Yeriho, Patza'el, Messua, Mehola and Tomer (

- Hadiklaim's CEO stated in the Israeli newspaper, YNet News, that the occupied Palestinian Jordan Valley is an "important area" for Hadiklaim. The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Jordan Valley is illegal under international law. (
- Hadiklaim's dates are labeled as Israeli produce, without any indication that some of the dates are grown in the Occupied Palestinian territories. This is against international labeling requirements. (
- In Europe, South Africa's Karsten Farms' Kalahari Medjoul dates have been packaged and sold under Israeli brands and in Israeli packaging. This has caused consumer confusion, and allegations of boycott busting by Karsten Farms and Hadiklaim. BDS campaigners claim that joint ventures like this (between SA's Karsten Farms and Israel's Hadiklaim) are deliberately confounding the international boycott against Israel movement (
- Israel's Hadiklaim is also complicit in subjecting Palestinian workers to hazardous labor conditions. For example, workers are hoisted into trees with a date picker and are often left to work on a platform high above the ground for the entire duration of the day without meals or toilet breaks. The majority of workers are Palestinian or Thai migrants – who are uniformly paid below the minimum wage. In a recent documentary, one Palestinian worker commented that workers are treated like "monkeys" made to hop from tree to tree. (
In 2009, Karsten Farms spokesperson, Pieter Karsten, said that he was concerned with ‘the plight of the Palestinians’ and that he would reconsider his relationship with Hadiklaim ( However, when the consumer watchdog organization, Corporate Watch, spoke to Karsten's in 2010 the SA company was still selling dates to Israel's Hadiklaim and, although Pieter Karsten reiterated that he would consider “revising the [Israeli] relationship”, there was no sign of any movement ( 
This week Wednesday (18 July 2012), Pieter Karsten again confirmed his company's continued collaboration with Israel's Hadiklaim. It is evident that Karsten Farms is deliberately ignoring calls to terminate their Israeli relations. If Karsten Farms trades with Israel, we can choose not to support such complicity by boycotting the company.

The 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the USA, comprising of over 2 million members, voted earlier this month (on the 08th of July 2012) to boycott Israel's Hadiklaim - the same company that Karsten Farms has chosen to trade with. The vote to boycott the company was taken by an overwhelming majority, 457 to 180. (

In light of the above, it is shameful that a South African company continues to trade with an Israeli cooperative directly complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and in violation of the Palestinian BDS call.
1. Refuse to buy products from Karsten Farms.
2. Inform store-owners of your decision and request them to communicate this to Karsten Farms
3. Write directly to Karsten Farms informing them of your decision and insisting that their Israeli relations be immediately terminated: or
4. Visit us online for campaign tools and other ways to get involved:

We urge all, including Karsten Farms, to heed the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu: "The issue of a principled commitment to justice lies at the heart of responses to the suffering of the Palestinian people and it is the absence of such a commitment that enables many to turn a blind eye to it." 

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