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Monday, 19 January 2009

Call for Consumer Boycott of Israeli Produce

IT'S TIME for a consumer boycott of Israeli produce. There have been around 1000 Palestinian deaths in Gaza in the last three weeks alone, some 400 or so women and children. A further 4500 Palestinians are wounded. We watch from a distance, sickened at Israel's behaviour which is an affront to civilised values. That pre-Obama feeling of hopelessness starts seeping back in to our consciousness. Gaza is carnage, and when Brown and Miliband defend the Israeli state's actions and heap the blame onto Hamas, that old, familiar sense of frustration and impotence kicks in.

But here's a thought. As citizens of the world we can take personal action in our daily lives to show up Israel as the pariah state it is. Our supermarket shelves are laden with Israeli fruit, vegetables and flowers: let's stop buying them.

Unless you actively avoid out-of-season, imported produce, you probably don't check country of origin on labels and might not have noticed just how much Israeli produce is on our shelves. A quick head count this week found potatoes, avocadoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, Medjoul dates, gallia melons, sharon fruit (the Israeli name for persimmon), peppers, chillies, oranges, pomegranates, sweetcorn, radishes and fresh herbs. All of these are clearly labelled as Israeli, apart from the herbs, some of which give their origin as "West Bank". Don't mistake that as a Palestinian alternative to the Israeli option; it comes from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. More


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