Press Release from “Sainsbury’s – Don’t Support Israeli Occupation”

Press Release from “Sainsbury’s – Don’t Support Israeli Occupation”

For immediate release – Tuesday 9th July 2013

Protests planned for Sainsbury’s AGM tomorrow

Supermarket accused of complacency over illegal settlements

The Annual General Meeting of J. Sainsbury plc on Wednesday 10th July will be met by a loud and lively protest calling on it to end all trade with companies which operate in illegal Israeli settlements. Protestors from across the country will be leafletting and lobbying shareholders and calling on the company to end its support for Israeli apartheid. Inside the AGM, campaigners who have bought shares in the company will be holding the Directors to account, asking why Sainsburys have failed to respond to the detailed allegations raised by Corporate Watch despite claiming in a press statement “Sainsbury’s takes seriously the allegations made by Corporate Watch in relation to products being sourced from disputed Israeli settlements being sold in our stores”.

Palestinian farming organisations have called for a ban on trade with the Israeli fresh produce companies that operate in settlements and which result in the devastation of Palestinian farming.

Our farms, water wells and homes are destroyed by the Israeli army, while every year we watch the illegal settlements grow and grow, all on our land”, said Abu Sakr, a Palestinian farmer from the Jordan valley, where many of the companies which trade with European supermarkets operate.

The protestors note that Sainsbury’s markets itself as a leader in Fair Trade and claims to source its products “with integrity”. But Sainsbury’s buys fruit and vegetables from companies like Mehadrin and Edom, which operate in Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Therefore, they claim, Sainsbury’s is profiting from Israeli violations of international law. The Co-Operative supermarket already refuses to trade with any company that sources products from illegal Israeli settlements. The protestors are calling on Sainsbury’s to follow the Co-op’s lead.

Terry Gallogly, one of the protesters, said: “Justin King, the CEO of Sainsbury’s, has spoken out recently not just on the question of tax avoidance, but on the morality of company practices. He said ‘If companies believe what they do is moral, they should be very happy to lay bare what they are doing, and open it to consumer scrutiny’. So he should welcome our questions today about Sainsbury’s trade with settlement companies.”

Sofiah Macleod, of Scottish Palestine Solidarity campaign, explains: ‘We call on Sainsbury’s to stand up and be counted, and for Justin King and the Directors of Sainsbury’s to take a principled ethical position and to end trade with companies which are complicit in a brutal military occupation while contributing to the destruction of Palestinian farming’.

The protesters have promised to be back at next year’s AGM in larger numbers if Sainsburys continue to ignore the evidence of Corporate Watch. Meanwhile, they will be collecting signatures on petitions outside Sainsbury’s stores throughout the UK.

[ Ends ]

YorkPSC Sainsburys demo - large_cr

Notes for Editors

 

1. “Sainsbury’s – Don’t Support Israeli Occupation” is the working title of a coalition of groups and individuals campaigning for justice for Palestinian farmers living under occupation.

 

2. Contacts:

 

Sofiah Macleod 0793 120 0361

Terry Gallogly 0791 054 9896

Sue Blackwell 0792 995 3893

“Natalie” (not her real name): 0755 175 9483

 

3. Twitter addresses to follow:

 

Sue Blackwell will be Tweeting from inside the AGM. Follow @BrummieSue.

Also follow @BDSmovement and @PSCupdates.

4. A demonstration has been called from 10 a.m. outside the AGM, which takes place at the Queen Elizabeth II conference Centre, just off Parliament Square in Westminster. See the campaign website: http://www.sainsburyscampaign.org/demonstration-at-sainsburys-agm/

5. Background documents on the Palestinian agricultural call:

http://www.bdsmovement.net/2013/palestinian-agricultural-org-call-10515

http://www.bdsmovement.net/files/2013/02/Farming-Injustice-Briefing-Feb2013-web.pdf

6. The e-mails from Corporate Watch are attached. At the time of this press release, Corporate Watch have not received any reply from Sainsburys.

7. The press statement from Sainsburys referred to in the first paragraph, and also in the Corporate Watch e-mails, was not put in the public domain by Sainsburys but was issued by its Press office on request on 9th February, when protests were taking place outside Sainsburys stores around the UK. A copy is attached.

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