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Outside Hastings Tesco, 6 January 2024. Photo: Hastings PSC

‘Boycott Tour’ of local shops targets Israeli apartheid

Local campaigners removed Israeli goods from the shelves of local outlets of Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco on Saturday, urging fellow shoppers to ‘boycott Israeli apatheid’. Gabriel Carlyle reports.

Around twenty friends and supporters of Hastings & Rye Palestine Solidarity Campaign met in Hastings town centre on Saturday (6 January) to conduct a ‘New Year Boycott Tour’ of local shops stocking Israeli produce.

A flyer distributed to members of the public explained: ‘If you are appalled at what is happening to people in Palestine, one thing we can all do is use our power as consumers. Israel has been declared an apartheid state by Amnesty International, and an important factor in bringing an end to apartheid in South Africa was a global boycott of South African goods.’

The flyer urged people to ‘boycott any goods, including fruit and vegetables marked ‘Made in Israel’’.

‘We want to taste apartheid-free avocadoes’

A trolley filled with Israeli goods at Hastings Marks & Spencers. Photo: Hastings PSC

The tour visited three local supermarkets (Marks & Spencers, Sainsbury’s and Tesco) and loaded trolleys and baskets with Israeli avocados, dates and grapefruit, as well as Sabra Hummus, which they then took to the management with a request that the goods not be returned to the shelves.

At M&S, the manager agreed not to put the removed goods back on the shelves. Hastings PSC campaigner Katy Colley said: ‘The people of Hastings want to taste apartheid-free avocadoes, apartheid-free dates and apartheid-free grapefruit. So Marks & Spencers, you’re on notice. If these things go back on the shelves we’re coming back and we’re filling up the trolley again and we’re taking them off.’

Outside Barclays bank in Hastings, 6 January 2024. Photo: Hastings PSC

The Hastings branch of Barclays was also visited. According to a 2022 report by War on Want, Barclays ‘has substantial shareholdings and provides loans and financial services to at least nine companies, including Elbit Systems, known to be producing weapons and military technology sold to Israel and used in violence against Palestinians.’

Ceasefire Now! stall in Hastings Town Centre, 30 December 2023. Photo: Hastings PSC

Ceasefire now!

Campaigners also drew attention to South Africa’s recent application to the International Court of Justice, requesting the latter commence proceedings against Israel for the crime of genocide in Gaza.

The application, which was filed on 28 December, notes that:

“Israel has now killed in excess of 21,110 named Palestinians, including over 7,729 children — with over 7,780 others missing, presumed dead under the rubble — and has injured over 55,243 other Palestinians, causing them severe bodily and mental harm. Israel has also laid waste to vast areas of Gaza, including entire neighbourhoods, and has damaged or destroyed in excess of 355,000 Palestinian homes [more than 60% of Gaza’s housing stock], alongside extensive tracts of agricultural land, bakeries, schools, universities, businesses, places of worship, cemeteries, cultural and archaeological sites, municipal and court buildings, and critical infrastructure, including water and sanitation facilities and electricity networks, while pursuing a relentless assault on the Palestinian medical and healthcare system. Israel has reduced and is continuing to reduce Gaza to rubble, killing, harming and destroying its people, and creating conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction as a group.”

The next national march demanding a ceasefire in Israel-Palestine will take place in London next Saturday (13 January). Hastings PSC are encouraging anyone who wishes to join them in attending to meet at Hastings railway station that morning to catch the 10.21am train.

Israeli Apartheid

According to Amnesty International:

‘The crime against humanity of apartheid under the Apartheid Convention, the Rome Statute and customary international law is committed when any inhuman or inhumane act (essentially a serious human rights violation) is perpetrated in the context of an institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another, with the intention to maintain that system…

‘Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, successive governments have created and maintained a system of laws, policies, and practices designed to oppress and dominate Palestinians. This system plays out in different ways across the different areas where Israel exercises control over Palestinians’ rights, but the intent is always the same: to privilege Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinians.

‘Israeli authorities have done this through four main strategies:

Fragmentation into domains of control
At the heart of the system is keeping Palestinian separated from each other into distinct territorial, legal and administrative domains

Dispossession of land and property
Decades of discriminatory land and property seizures, home demolitions and forced evictions

Segregation and control
A system of laws and policies that keep Palestinians restricted to enclaves, subject to several measures that control their lives, and segregated from Jewish Israelis

Deprivation of economic and social rights
The deliberate impoverishment of Palestinians keeping them at great disadvantage in comparison to Jewish Israelis’

See here for more information.

Boycott stickers and leaflets are available from Hastings Palestine Solidarity Campaign:

Members of the public can contact Barclays to demand it end its financial ties with companies arming Israel using this app:

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Posted 21:35 Sunday, Jan 7, 2024 In: Campaigns

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