Press Release: Pressure mounts on Woolworths to end ties with Israel as #BoycottWoolworths campaign gears up for National Day of Action
23 October 2014
The Palestine solidarity and human rights organization, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in South Africa (BDS South Africa) will be taking part in this month’s National Day of Action against Woolworths alongside COSATU, the ANC Youth League, the National Coalition 4 Palestine and other civil society organisations. Woolworths has come under pressure from consumers, trade unions and political parties to end ties with Israel.
In recent weeks, a growing number of public figures have come out in support of the #BoycottWoolworths campaign including struggle stalwart and Rivonia Trialist Denis Goldberg, freestyle footballer Ashley Mkhize and Thato Molamu (Nicholas Nomvete of the popular soapie "Generations")
Date: Saturday 25th October
Venue: Woolworths stores across Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Kwazulu- Natal
For details of the times and locations where actions will be taking place, please call Tasneem Essop:-071 502 8674
A successful National Day of Action against Woolworths was held last month on the 27th
September 2014 with protests, flash mobs, till jams taking place throughout the country. Woolworths has threatened to take peaceful protesters and activists to court. The retailer has thus far refused to meet with concerned consumers and has taken an arrogant approach to members of the public calling on Woolworths to respect human rights. We are thus forced to intensify our actions against Woolworths. Click here for more information on the #BoycottWoolworths campaign
Woolworths is being called-on to take the lead in ethical retail business, to respond to the call from its consumers, to be on the right side of history, to respect the international boycott of Israel and end its over 12 million rand worth of trade with Israel.
A call for the complete boycott
of Woolworths until it ends its Israeli trade links was made by BDS South Africa and the National Coalition 4 Palestine on the 4th
August 2014. However, withdrawing consumer support from Woolworths is just one part of the larger #BoycottWoolworths
For a full list of #BoycottWoolworths events in Johannesburg:
For a full list of #BoycottWoolworths events in Cape Town:
For a full list of #BoycottWoolworths events in Durban:
For a full list of #BoycottWoolworths events around the country including Rustenburg, Nelspruit, Pietermaritzburg etc.
Notes to the editor: Why #BoycottWoolworths?
What is Woolworths relationship with Israel: Woolworths sources products and produce from Israeli companies in violation of the international BDS consumer boycott. Amongst other items, Woolworths imports Pretzels, Couscous, Matzos, Coriander, Figs, Litchis, Plums and Mangoes from Israel. According to the human rights organization, Who Profits, almost all of Israel’s agricultural companies have illegal operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
What has Woolworths response been to the boycott: To date Woolworths has refused to make available the Israeli suppliers that it sources its products from. Sadly, Woolworths has also refused to meet with BDS South Africa and organizers of the #BoycottWoolworths campaign. However, sources from within Woolworths have indicated that the company is feeling the impact of the campaign both at a PR level and on a financial level.
Why boycott Woolworths over other retailers: Similar to the 1980s anti-apartheid movement, the BDS movement selects campaigns after careful analysis and strategic considerations. Several retailers in South Africa have some sort of trade relationship with Israel. We can try to boycott all of them but this is a daunting task that has a slim chance of having a concrete impact. Thus we focus our campaigns and move from one target to another as we reach our goals. Selecting Woolworths, for example, does not mean that other South African supermarkets do not stock Israeli products.
Part of the reason for campaigning and calling on Woolworths to end their Israeli trade relations is because Woolworths tries to sell itself as an "ethical company". Surely the ethics that Woolworths claims to support include not trading with companies of a country like Israel that routinely abuses human rights? We are calling on Woolworths to respect the Palestinian boycott of Israel, take the lead and end its trade relations with Israel and set an example for other South African retailers.
ISSUED BY TASNEEM ESSOP ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA
BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL in SOUTH AFRICA
(BDS SOUTH AFRICA)
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BDS South Africa is a registered Non-Profit Organization. NPO NUMBER: 084 306 NPO
BDS South Africa is a registered Public Benefit Organisation with Section 18A status. PBO NUMBER: 930 037 446