Sainsbury’s can’t tell the difference between antisemitism and anti-apartheid: an open letter
On Saturday 16 July, the manager of a Sainsbury’s store in Holborn apparently removed kosher products, many of which were not made in Israel, from their shelves. Whether they did this because of a supposed support for Palestinians, or because of an unfounded fear of violence from protesters, is unclear.
What is clear is this: Palestinian civil society did not ask for a boycott of kosher food. Only antisemites would want or support that. The call has always been explicitly and openly about boycotting Israeli-made goods, along with other tactics, until Israel complies with international law (which it currently ignores).
These tactics worked against apartheid South Africa, and they’re starting to work against apartheid Israel too.
The way forward is simple. Sainsbury’s cannot morally profit from or work with companies like Mehadrin and EDOM that steal Palestinian land and support the siege on Gaza.
Sainsbury’s knows all of this. The flyers given out at numerous Sainsbury’s stores across the country are unequivocal. The website specifically targeting Sainsbury’s trade with complicit Israeli companies is unambiguous.
We have sent files to Sainsbury’s management making it clear how their policies are harming Palestinian people, and have taken these to the last two Sainsbury’s AGMs. Individuals have asked for meetings to work on how this harm can stop, but the offers have been repeatedly ignored.
Sainsbury’s: if you can’t tell the difference between a boycott aimed at ending the occupation of Palestinian lands, and stopping Jewish people being able to buy kosher food in the UK, then you really need our help.
Signed by, amongst others:
- London Palestine Action
- Annie O’Gara Sainsbury’s Campaign
- Michael Deas, coordinator in Europe, Palestinian BDS National Committee
- Diana Neslen, Stop G4S
- Hilary Lang, Frome Friends of Palestine
- Pamela Manning, Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign
- Shoomi Chowdhury, Ipswich and Suffolk Muslim Council
- Global Citizens (GC)
- Grass Roots Muslim Movement
- Angus Geddes, Portsmouth & South Downs Palestine Solidarity Campaign
- Caroline Day, Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association
- Richard Hering - visionOntv
- Sue Owen, Chesterfield Pro-peace/PSC
- Naeem Malik West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign
- Dr. Sue Blackwell (Sainsbury’s shareholder)
- brighton and Hove PSC
- Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century (rs21.org.uk)
- Azfar Shafi, University of Birmingham Students for Justice in Palestine society
- Dr mohamed Ali, NHS
- Paddy O’Keeffe, Brighton Stop the War
- Ben Maloney - Secretary, Enfield Southgate Labour Party
- Tim Holmes, Public Interest Research Centre
- Igor Strapko, Clapton Ultras
- Rachel O’Brien, Community Action Officer at University of Birmingham Guild of Students
- John Tymon, Football Against Apartheid