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BEPJ joins BDS Movement

Bro Emlyn for Peace and Justice has joined the world wide BDS movement to Boycott Israeli goods, Divestment from Israeli companies and economic Sanctions against Israel.

Israel’s breaking of the ceasefire with Hamas in November 2008 and its refusal to lift the blockade on Gaza was part of its plan to end the ceasefire agreement with the Hamas government and attack the Gaza Strip starting 27 December 2008 and lasting for nearly a month. The timing, like the brutality, was premeditated – after the US elections and before the inauguration of a new president. The Israeli Government wanted to demonstrate how tough it was on Palestinians before Israeli elections on February 10th 2009.

The bombing and shelling Gaza killed 1,434 Palestinians, including 960 civilians (including 288 children and 121 women), 239 police officers and 235 fighters.

A total of 5,303 Palestinians were injured in the assault, including 1,606 children and 828 women.

One of the 300 children killed in the Gaza attack

One of the 288 children killed in the Gaza attack

This disproportionate use of massive military force in the crowded urban conditions of the Gaza Strip caused shock and condemnation world wide. However the UK government has followed the US in its unwillingness to put real pressure on Israel to comply with UN resolutions, end its occupation of Palestinian territory or its blockade of Gaza. British citizens who feel strongly about the murder of so many civilians are left unrepresented by their own government and must attempt to influence Israel through peaceful direct action.

In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to influence Israel through economic measures. They called on “people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.” The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – BDS for short – was born. A dedicated section of their website deals with the UK campaign.

Influential economist and writer Naomi Klein argued in her January 2009 article Israel: Boycott, Divest, Sanction that “Economic sanctions are the most effective tools in the non-violent arsenal. Surrendering them verges on active complicity.”

Public Information Campaign

BEPJ is contributing to the BDS movement by launching a public information campaign to identify Israeli goods in supermarkets and shops. We leave business card sized information cards drawing the attention of shoppers to goods of Israeli origin. We believe that if this simple task was undertaken country-wide it would have a significant effect. We believe that while one-off high profile protests have their place, an ongoing targeting of Israeli good at the point of sale allows shoppers to make an informed choice.

Bilingual Information Cards (Both sides shown)

Bilingual Information Cards (Both sides shown)

We had our cards printed both sides on good quality card by “OptimalPrint“. They charged £46.16 for 500 cards in full colour printed both sides and including P&P. If you know a cheaper or better printers, please let us know.

You can download high resolution artwork for the cards ready for printing in English here and here in Welsh.

Other BDS campaigns have produced downloadable artwork such as these from the Manchester Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

Other artwork for stickers and leaflets is available on the website of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid


The Campaign in Wales


Tesco Swansea

Swansea: January 2009: Action against supermarkets has already taken place in Wales. A group of people took produce labelled as WEST BANK as country of origin from a TESCO store in Swansea City Centre. The two filled their trolleys with dates, fresh herbs, fruit and salads. The trolleys, full of produce were up-turned at the supermarket entrance and covered in fake blood to represent the lives lost in Gaza. A video of the protest is on YouTube. An Undercurrents report and photos can be found here.

Wrexham: January 2009: About a dozen people headed off for Tesco’s Xtra in small groups or as individuals over a period of about an hour. Several trolleys were filled with Israeli goods and covered in stickers. Hundreds of leaflets were handed out, along with Boycott Israeli Goods postcards. In the fruit and veg section, four trolleys full of Israeli goods were used to block the aisle, with large numbers of staff and bouncers then helpfully completing the blockade. Someone ‘died’ next to the Israeli herb selection and was bodily carried through the shop towards the entrance, loudly advising shoppers not to buy Israeli goods. Protesters also leafleted in the car park. More reports here.

Cardiff: February 2009: A three day sit-in by students protesting against their university’s investment in major arms companies has ended. Cardiff Students Against War yesterday finished its occupation of the Shandon Lecture Theatre in Cardiff University’s main building on Park Place after bosses agreed to pull funds out of two companies. Cardiff University has given students written confirmation that they have divested from the arms trade and have instructed fund managers not to reinvest.

Cardiff: December 30th 2008: Protesters super-glued themselves to glass security gates inside BBC. They protested the lack of balanced reporting of the Israeli bombings on Gaza. Not a BDS protest, but totally related and very effective. View video on YouTube

Which goods to boycott?

Watch out for fresh vegetable including potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, avocado, onions, corn, citrus fruits, dates, strawberries and mangoes and fresh herbs. Quite a few organic lines sourced by supermarkets are from Israel. Check clothing.

There are also goods labelled WEST BANK. These come from the illegal Israeli Settlements. These can be found in most supermarkets – particularly fresh herbs, peppers and tomatoes. See this Guardian article.

An Israeli site provides comprehensive information on companies profiting from the West Bank Occupation. Further information on UK action can be found here on Indymedia.

The website Corporate Watch has good information on UK supermarkets under its Direct Action Against Israel section. It includes contact details for the major supermarkets.

Which shops to target?

Read the section below in conjunction with the Corporate Watch page giving details of Israeli products from individual supermarkets. We need up-to-date contact information for the supermarkets listed below. Can you help? If so, please contact us.

The four largest UK supermarket chains – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – represent around 75 per cent of UK grocery sales. Tescos takes £1 in every £8 spent in the high street. Supermarkets also control 11 per cent – £19.7bn of the £177bn – UK non-food market.

Tesco – Tesco became the market leader in 1995 and has continued to increase its market share ever since, reaching a staggering 31.5% market share in 2006, and taking 12.5% of total consumer spend in the UK.

Tesco PLC
New Tesco House
Delamare Road
England EN8 9SL

Asda – Asda’s business is more focused on hypermarkets and out-of-town stores than the other UK chains, in the model of Wal-Mart, the US retail giant which bought it in 1999. Its market share is currently 16%.

Paul Mason, Chief Executive Officer
ASDA House,
Great Wilson Street,
Leeds LS11 5AD
Telephone: 0500 100055
Fax: 0113 241 7732
Email: needed. can you help?

Sainsbury’s – neck and neck on market share with Asda at 16%, Sainsbury’s slipped since being the top retailer in the UK but is now doing well and is expected to overtake Asda and cement a place as the second UK grocery retailer.

J Sainsbury plc
33 Holborn
London. EC1N 2HT
Tel: needed. can you help?
Email: needed. can you help?

Morrisons – Morrisons became the fourth supermarket chain when it acquired the majority of Safeway stores in 2005. Market share of around 11%. There are now 360 Morrisons stores in the UK.

Customer Service Department
Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC
Hilmore House
Gain Lane
Bradford. BD3 7DL
Tel: 0845 611 6111
Email: Apparently they do not give this out. Does anyone know it?

Somerfield – The Somerfield Group has a total of 1300 stores. It has a market share of around 5%.

Somerfield Group
Somerfield House
Whitchurch Lane
Bristol. BS14 0TJ
Tel: 0117 935 9359
Fax: 0117 978 0629
Email: can you help?

Somerfield Press Officers:
Julie Daniels:
Pete Williams:
Tel: 07768 811595

Waitrose – owned by the John Lewis Partnership, Waitrose is an up-market supermarket chain that currently has 165 branches in the UK. It has a market share of around 4%.

Waitrose Customer Service Department
Waitrose Limited
Doncastle Road
Berkshire. RG12 8YA
Tel: needed. can you help?

Iceland – Iceland sells primarily frozen products. Its market share is slightly under 2%.

Iceland Foods Ltd,
Second Avenue,
Deeside Industrial Park,
Flintshire, CH5 2NW
Tel: 01244 843610
Email: needed. can you help?

The Co-operative Group – The Co-op has a total market share of around 5%.

The Co-operative Group
Customer Relations
Freepost MR9473
Tel: needed. can you help?

Lidl and Aldi – European-based heavily discounted format superstore chains. German chain Lidl entered Britain in 1994 and already has 380 stores. Both Lidl and Aldi have a market share of around 2%.

Lidl UK GmbH
19 Worple Road
Wimbledon. SW19 4JS
Tel: 0870 444 1234
Email: needed. can you help?

Marks & Spencer – M&S has 450 stores in the UK, and a further 150 worldwide.

Marks and Spencer plc
Waterside House
35 North Wharf Road
London. W2 1NW
Tel: needed. can you help?

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