You can make a difference. In principle, I don't agree with boycotts. I don't think they achieve their goals any quicker than building a dialogue and real understanding of the underlying issues will do. So what can we, as individuals do about the Co-Op boycott, and what's it all about?
The Co-operative movement has refused to stock products from the settlements since 2009. But in April, it chose to extend its policy and is now boycotting four named Israeli companies that trade with the settlements. This means that no matter where in Israel the companies' produce is sourced; it will be boycotted. The decision is seen as a slippery slope towards an across the board boycott of Israeli goods, Israeli culture or Israeli people.
So what can you do?:
You can support the campaign that is aiming to restore fairness and balance to the Co-Op's policies towards Israel. It has already seen members of the community and their friends speak out against Boycotting at Co-Op annual meetings held across the country. A Co-Op representative has said they have been inundated by emails objecting to the policy. Steven Jaffe, who works with the Board of Deputies has said: "There is no doubt the amount of opposition has taken the Co-Op by surprise. It is vitally important that people make their voices heard."
Success will be seen when the Co-Op drop the boycott and give positive support to programmes that improve the economy, living standards and well being of the farmers and others - many of them Palestinians - that play a role in growing most of the exports from the region.
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