Major British Supermarket ‘Co-Operative Group’ Tightens Boycott of Israeli Goods, Companies
The Supermarket chain Co-Operative Group, Britain’s fifth-largest food retailer, is the first major European retailer to stop buying from companies that export produce from Israeli settlements east of the Green Line.
According to its statement, the Co-Op has not been purchasing goods from the settlements since 2009, but has been doing business with some 20 Israeli companies which sell goods produced in the settlements.
The largest Israeli agricultural export companies affected by this move are Agrexco, Arava Export Growers, Adafresh and Mehadrin.
The new move will likely stir up a renewed battle inside Israel over the hotly contested “Boycott Law,” passed last summer by the Likud-led coalition, which penalizes anyone who organizes or publicly endorses political boycotts against the country, including campaigns directed at Israeli universities, settlements and businesses in Judea and Samaria.
On Saturday, Co-Operative Group announced that “following an audit of the Group’s supply chain, it will no longer do business with four companies, accounting for £350,000 worth of sales, as there is evidence that they source from the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian occupied territories.”
Hilary Smith, Co-op member and Boycott Israel Network (BIN) agricultural trade campaign co-ordinator, told the Guardian that the Co-op “has taken the lead internationally in this historic decision to hold corporations to account for complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights We strongly urge other retailers to take similar action.”
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