Recently this blog reported that several European retailers are boycotting illegal settlement products. We have unfortunately now earned this now may not be the case after all.
International supermarket chains Aldi and Hema, as well as Hoogvliet and Jumbo, said while their stock currently includes no products from Israeli settlements, the companies were not in fact engaged in a formal boycott of Israeli settlement goods.
Sander Becker who broke the story about the supposed boycott, said this incident may have actually exposed a “silent boycott”, in which stores keep settlement products off their shelves but don’t actually admit to it.
In March the Dutch government did advise supermarkets to label any product from the Occupied Territories as such so that consumers are not misled.
As well, last month the European Commission, a body of the European Union, set out new guidelines to prohibit its organs from awarding grants or any other incentives to institutions and other parties from settlements.
Furthermore, as this blog has previously reported, the European Union is pushing through new rules to ensure setltement products are labelled correctly.
All four of the supermarkets, Aldi, Hema, Jumbo and Hoogvliet, said politics do not play a role in the products they sell and also denied that any kind of boycott policy was in place at the retailers.
A Hema spokesperson was quote as saying that the store did have Israeli wines for sale, but none of them are produced in the Occupied Territories.
Ultimately, what is important for our movement is that all four chains acknowledged that their stock now contains no products from Israeli settlements. How this happened, whether it was a management decision or by accident, is irrelevant at tnis point.
We hope this is a trend that continues well into the future!