Board plots 'buycott' to beat the boycott

It is the buycott versus the boycott — and it starts a week today.

The “buycott” is a call to Jews all over the country to buy as many Israeli products as they can.

The initiative has come from the Board of Deputies and the anti-boycott Fair Play Campaign to thwart a planned anti-Israel boycott against two major supermarket chains by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

The PSC has asked its followers to boycott Waitrose and Morrisons between November 7 and 15 after it claimed that the firms had refused to discuss the issue of produce from West Bank settlements which they might stock.

In an email, the PSC called on its supporters to “deluge Morrisons and Waitrose with phone calls on November 11”, as well as organising demonstrations, writing letters and setting up leaflet stalls outside branches.

It stated that its action was given “added impetus” by the “excellent motion passed by the Trades Union Congress”, which agreed for the first time in September to a partial boycott of Israel goods.

In response, the Board and the Fair Play campaign have sent a flyer to all deputies, synagogues, schools, universities and communal organisations across Britain, calling on people to make sure that they buy as many Israeli products as they can from Waitrose and Morrisons during the same week.

A spokesman for the Fair Play Campaign Group said: “Fair Play is running this campaign to encourage friends of Israel to stand up to the boycotters, and support those supermarkets who refuse to give in to anti-Israel intimidation.The PSC is trying to pretend that the TUC’s motion has inspired them, when in truth it was they who instigated and campaigned for the TUC motion in the first place.”

Waitrose, which is owned by the John Lewis Partnership, said it was aware of the PSC’s threatened actions.

The store said: “We source a small selection of herbs from the West Bank area, grown on two Israeli-managed farms, on which a Palestinian and Israeli workforce have worked side by side for many years.

“We are not motivated by politics. Our policy is to ensure high standards of farming and worker welfare on the farms from which we source.”

It said its buyers had visited the farms to make sure they met Waitrose’s high standards and were audited every six months.

Morrisons was unable to comment.

    Last updated: 5:48pm, October 29 2009