conflict hits SA shop shelves
The Mercury, April 04 2002
By Megan Power
Leading chocolate, softdrink, cellphone and toiletry companies
in South Africa have been threatened with a consumer boycott as
part of a local campaign against Israel's intensified military assault
And Pick 'n Pay and Spar have been singled out as targets if they
ignore a call from Palestinian activists to remove Israeli-imported
products from their shelves.
The threats, made by the Palestine Solidarity Group, accompany
a list of products from companies it claims either invest in, or
support, Israel. The group has also called on the South African
government to impose sanctions against Israel, and to ban Israeli
goods from coming into the country.
Products the group has identified for boycott include Coca-Cola,
Fanta, Nestle's Kit-Kat and Nesquik, Huggies nappies, Kleenex tissues
and Nokia products.
'I don't believe in boycotts and threats' The group's blacklist
is based on claims that:
Coca-Cola was honoured last year for its continued support of Israel,
including its refusal to abide by the Arab League boycott of Israel.
Danone, Nestle and Kimberley Clark are all recipients of the Jubilee
Award, the highest tribute awarded by Israel in recognition of organisations
that had strengthened its economy.
Nestle also owns half of the Israeli food company, Osem Investments;
Nokia has started to invest heavily in Israel and is looking for
Israeli start-ups with which it can co-operate.
"We want consumers to be aware that by buying certain products,
they're contributing to the bullets and military armament used against
Palestinians," said Palestine Solidarity Group convener, Mercia
Andrews, also an executive member of the South African Non-Governmental
Pick 'n Pay, however, says it will not remove Israeli products.
Said its chairman, Raymond Ackerman: "I don't believe in boycotts
and threats, and I'm against people who create ugliness in a country
where we need peace at all costs. I call on all people in our country
to respect that we are South Africans, and not to create divisions
between Muslim and Jewish people at this critical time."
Spar could not be reached for comment.