As the atrocities continue to take place in Palestine while Israel carries out its war against Hamas, closer to home, one of the country’s favourite retailers, Woolworths, has said that it does not stock any products imported from Israel.
This was according to the human rights NGO Africa4Palestine who released a statement on Thursday evening, welcoming the decision of Woolworths to not stock Israeli products.
The NGO stated, “In a formal letter received by Africa4Palestine, the CEO of Woolworths, Mr Roy Bagattini, has confirmed that Woolworths is no longer stocking Israeli products”.
He stated that there is currently not one single product on their shelves from Israel: “we do not have any products on our shelves that are for sale that have been imported from Israel”.
“Not stocking products from Israel aligns with the principles of ethical consumerism.”
The NGO further stated that by not stocking Israeli products, a company demonstrates its commitment to being a socially responsible corporate citizen.
“Our organisation’s communication with Woolworths was out of concern over allegations that Woolworths is supporting Israel. We wrote to the CEO as we felt it important to engage directly and we thank the company and him for their responsiveness,” the NGO further stated.
“We thank each and every community member, organisation, political party, association, activist and supporter who in the past joined us in the various actions and events in the #BoycottWoolworths campaign,” it said.
“In addition to the hundreds of thousands of South Africans who, when the #BoycottWoolworths campaign was active, respected the boycott and refrained from shopping at Woolworths. We will be informing our partners and progressive organisations that #BoycottWoolworths campaign is no longer necessary. This brings to an end the calls for a boycott of Woolworths.”
Africa4Palestine further said it encourages other companies to follow Woolworths’ example and thus we will be engaging other retailers to follow the Woolworths example.
Last month, political parties targeted Woolworths and McDonald’s, calling for boycotts.
EFF leader, Julius Malema, called for the stores to refrain from selling products obtained from Israel.
Malema wanted Woolworths stores, which are much loved by middle-class South Africans, to remove every Israeli product on their shelves, as well as made calls to cut ties with companies linked to Israel.
“Woolworths has a responsibility by the end of this month to remove every product on their shelves that comes from Israel. If they don’t, we will remove it ourselves,” Malema said.
After the statements made by the EFF, Business Report reached out to Woolworths to find out what their reaction would be to the politician’s warnings.
Woolworths said in a statement sent to Business Report last month, “Woolworths has always taken a position of being non-partisan, meaning we have no political affiliations and do not support any political party or country.
“We are a proudly South African retailer, and our preference is always to source locally to meet our customers’ needs and aspirations. More than 90% of our food is local, and we source food products internationally only when a product is out of season or in specific instances when a product is not available locally,” the popular retailer said.
“We always label our products’ country of origin clearly so that customers can make informed choices. At present, one product on our shelves is labelled as being ‘imported from Israel and/or France’ based on availability of stock.”
Business Report reached out to Woolworths to further comment on Africa4Palestine’s statement.
The retailer has since responded to the matter.