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Sunday, April 29, 2012

British co-op boycotts Palestinian Arab farmers

From The Guardian:
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.

Welcoming the move, Palestinian human rights campaigners said it was the first time a supermarket anywhere in the west had taken such a position.

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.
Right now, if Palestinian Arab farmers want to export their goods to Europe, they use Agrexco as their distributor. They even have their own brand, Coral.

Agrexco ensures that their goods would be accepted in the international markets by providing quality control and an already existing infrastructure for refrigeration, transportation, marketing and other services.

In other words, the Co-op is now boycotting Palestinian Arab farmers who have no other means of distributing their goods to the West, and directly hurting them - and the Palestinian Arab economy as a whole. Tomatoes and other produce grown in Gaza will be affected as well.

The Co-op has made a decision that hurting Israeli companies is more important than helping Palestinian Arabs who have no alternative means to market their products to the West. And this is the hypocrisy that shows that BDS cares not one bit about the people they pretend to be helping.

More on this hypocrisy here.

UPDATE: Ben White thinks he "got" me. I show quite the opposite.