Palestine activists stage Sainsbury’s protest
Tower Hamlets Councillor Rania Khan led a group of activists in urging consumers to boycott Israeli goods outside Sainsbury’s Whitechapel branch last Saturday.
Harsh words were exchanged between the protesters and a manager after the activists checked in basket loads of Israeli food products onto two tills during a particularly busy period and refused to pay for them after the products were scanned through.
Group members Abdul Qahhar and Fawziyyah partook in distributing ‘boycott Israeli goods’ leaflets and spoke to customers within the confines of the store as well as outside.
The campaign is being being spearheaded by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, together with worlds justice activists in the UK and abroad.
Councillor Rania Khan said that the purchase of Israeli goods would help finance a brutal illegal occupation of a land stolen from Palestinians. She called on consumers to raise personal awareness of ethical consumerism: “Consumer awareness amongst individuals can contribute greatly towards helping create justice and peace for the Palestinian people. In the bigger scheme of things, only international pressure can force Israel to comply with international law and human rights,” she said.
Miriam Scharf, Secretary of the East London Palestinian Solidarity Campaign spoke to passers by: “Israel refuses to stop building illegal colonies on stolen land. It denies Palestinian refugees their right to return by operating an apartheid and racist system. Boycotting of goods is one very small and easy way for the people to send a powerful message that injustice is not to be tolerated.”
Activist Mehdi Hassan called on all customers to call on the government to impose sanctions on Israel.
The activists called on Sainsbury’s to provide clear labelling with regards to sources of produce.
“Item such as mangos and dates have no source labels and to request this is a basic consumer right,” said Ayesha Ali.
During a conversation within the store, Sainsbury’s store Manager Peter Gammon agreed to look into this request.
Councillor Khan said that this was “a test run” and called on all “with a sense of justice” to join activists at a follow up demo tomorrow at the same site.