Israel activists tackle Co-op boycott

By Marcus Dysch, May 17, 2012

Grass-roots supporters of Israel have pledged to wage a “long campaign” in an effort to overturn the Co-operative supermarket’s refusal to stock produce from West Bank settlements.

Activists said the Co-op had been “shocked” by the reaction from the Jewish community after Britain’s fifth biggest food retailer extended its boycott last month. Supporters expressed their opposition to the policy at the company’s regional meetings last weekend, calling it “discriminatory”.

Anti-Israel motions were due to be put forward in four regions but were withdrawn as they had been proposed before the company adopted its policy. No voting was held on the boycott.

Luke Akehurst of advocacy group, We Believe in Israel, said: “We were contacted by Co-op members anxious to speak out. It is the first step of a campaign to restore fairness to its policy on Israel.”

Steven Jaffe, who co-ordinates grass-roots support for Israel on behalf of the Board of Deputies, said: “There is no doubt the amount of opposition has taken the Co-op by surprise.”

Last updated: 11:43am, May 17 2012