Campaigners from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Rochdale and Littleborough Peace Group gathered in Yorkshire Street on Saturday, 4 September 2010 to promote the boycott of Israeli goods. A week before Eid, they highlighted the particular issues of dates grown by Israeli settlers on occupied Palestinian land in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention and of attempts by Israeli companies to package their products in ways which make their true origins difficult to detect. They urged shoppers to boycott dates that come from ‘Israel’, ‘West Bank’, ‘Jordan Valley’ or ‘Jordan River’ and to buy fair trade Medjoul dates from the Zaytoun organisation.
They decided to do this, after hearing that so-called ‘Kalahari Dates’ had briefly been on sale at Haji Cash and Carry who they knew, in fact, to be very strong supporters of Palestinian cause and of the boycott campaign.
Imra Shoaib said,
“I was shocked, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, to discover that traders in Rochdale could be tricked into buying dates grown in the Occupied Territories, even when they fully support the boycott campaign and are proudly displaying MPACUK certificates reassuring customers that their stock is ‘Israel Free’. In this case the medjoul dates claimed to be from South Africa.
I was delighted to learn that Haji had withdrawn these dates from sale as soon as they learned of their connection with Israel, but I fear that other traders in Rochdale may not be so careful. Wholesalers and shopkeepers have a particular responsibility, but, as customers, we must all be careful to check the true origins of what we buy. We do not want our shopping to pay for Israel’s illegal occupation, it's continuing expansion of illegal settlements, the expulsion of Palestinians from their own land or Israel's brutal and inhumane siege of Gaza. No one who supports the cause of Palestinian freedom will want to be celebrating Eid or Christmas eating dates grown on land illegally seized from Palestinians.”
“I am sure most of us don't want to be eating dates tainted with the blood of Palestinians when such sales are a source of their continued oppression.” she added.
Sajid Maqbool, General Manager of Haji Cash and Carry said,
“Our suppliers have been under strict orders not to supply any Israeli dates or their products and, if there are any such products, I will withdraw them from sale and take the relevant action against the suppliers. Palestine is very close to my heart and I am pleased to say that we had a random check by two members of MPAC around 2 weeks ago. They went round the store and inspected all the dates and also issued a poster stating that we are an Israel free zone. We will fully support the Palestine cause.”
For more information about the Muslim Public Affairs Committee Boycott Zionist Blood Dates Campaign!, please see http://www.mpacuk.org/story/120810/mpacuk-launches-boycott-zionist-blood-dates-campaign.html
For more information on the PSC's Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, please see http://www.palestinecampaign.org/Index5b.asp?m_id=1&l1_id=3&l2_id=19