Fear that Co-op boycott could spread further

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 30, 2012

An Israel boycott by the Co-operative supermarket could deepen if a key pro-Palestinian campaigner wins her election bid today (Friday) to become a company official.

Pia Feig, 59, was behind the boycott of Israeli professor Moti Cristal, whose ban at a Manchester NHS conference as an Israeli is currently being challenged by legal action.

Ms Feig also organised the flytilla protest from Manchester Airport in April and is a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

Now the newly-retired NHS worker is campaigning to be elected to the Co-op’s Manchester Area Committee, which can raise policy issues with senior company managers.

The election is part of the Co-op’s democratic system in which members vote on how the business is run. Ms Feig’s election statement says she would promote the Co-op’s ethical trading policy, but makes no mention of any pledge over Israeli goods.

Vote against anti-Israel candidates

The Co-op blacklisted Israeli fruit suppliers working with West Bank settlements four months ago under pressure from anti-Zionist protesters who have been targeting local Co-op committees. A counter-campaign has begun by pro-Israel groups to ensure boycotters who seek election are exposed.

Luke Akehurst, director of We Believe in Israel, who led a demonstration outside the Co-op’s Manchester HQ last week, said: “We would encourage opponents of the anti-Israel boycott movement who are members of the Co-op Group to play an active role in its internal decision-making, as part of our efforts to get the current boycott policy reversed.

“One way to do this is to scrutinise the records of candidates running for office in the Co-op Group, and to vote against candidates who have actively promoted this divisive and negative boycott.”
Ms Feig was unavailable for comment.

Last updated: 10:59am, August 30 2012