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Board of Deputies worried by boycott

By Bernard Josephs
Jewish Chronicle
August 2, 2002

JEWISH community leaders are calling for a counter-attack against a pro-Palestinian campaign to get British stores to boycott Israeli goods.

The Board of Deputies has called on shoppers to show their support for retailers targeted by the Boycott Israel Campaign, which has been seeking to raise its profile by staging protests at supermarkets and other businesses which sell Israeli products.

These have included prominent high street names such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Asda and Safeway.

Demonstrators staged a picket at Sainsbury’s annual meeting, and anti-Israel stickers have been found on Israeli wines on sale at some branches.

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said this week that the campaign would not alter its trading policy.

“We listen to all our customers,” she said, “and as long as they want to purchase goods sourced in Israel, we will continue to provide them.”

Board director-general Neville Nagler said that the boycott campaign would do nothing to advance the cause of Middle East peace.

“It is essential that well-known stores do not succumb to such tactics,” he declared.

“We are, therefore, urging members of the Jewish community, as well as the wider British public, to make every effort to support those stores that continue to sell Israeli products.”