Sainsbury’s can’t tell the difference between antisemitism and anti-apartheid: an open letter
On Saturday 16 July, the manager of a Sainsbury’s store in Holborn apparently removed kosher products, many of which were not made in Israel, from their shelves. Whether they did this because of a supposed support for Palestinians, or because of an unfounded fear of violence from protesters, is unclear.
What is clear is this: Palestinian civil society did not ask for a boycott of kosher food. Only antisemites would want or support that. The call has always been explicitly and openly about boycotting Israeli-made goods, along with other tactics, until Israel complies with international law (which it currently ignores).
These tactics worked against apartheid South Africa, and they’re starting to work against apartheid Israel too.
The way forward is simple. Sainsbury’s cannot morally profit from or work with companies like Mehadrin and EDOM that steal Palestinian land and support the siege on Gaza.
Sainsbury’s knows all of this. The flyers given out at numerous Sainsbury’s stores across the country are unequivocal. The website specifically targeting Sainsbury’s trade with complicit Israeli companies is unambiguous.
We have sent files to Sainsbury’s management making it clear how their policies are harming Palestinian people, and have taken these to the last two Sainsbury’s AGMs. Individuals have asked for meetings to work on how this harm can stop, but the offers have been repeatedly ignored.
Sainsbury’s: if you can’t tell the difference between a boycott aimed at ending the occupation of Palestinian lands, and stopping Jewish people being able to buy kosher food in the UK, then you really need our help.
Signed by, amongst others:
- London Palestine Action
- Annie O’Gara Sainsbury’s Campaign
- Michael Deas, coordinator in Europe, Palestinian BDS National Committee
- Diana Neslen, Stop G4S
- Hilary Lang, Frome Friends of Palestine
- Pamela Manning, Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign
- Shoomi Chowdhury, Ipswich and Suffolk Muslim Council
- Global Citizens (GC)
- Grass Roots Muslim Movement
- Angus Geddes, Portsmouth & South Downs Palestine Solidarity Campaign
- Caroline Day, Tower Hamlets Jenin Friendship Association
- Richard Hering - visionOntv
- Sue Owen, Chesterfield Pro-peace/PSC
- Naeem Malik West Midlands Palestine Solidarity Campaign
- Dr. Sue Blackwell (Sainsbury’s shareholder)
- brighton and Hove PSC
- Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century (rs21.org.uk)
- Azfar Shafi, University of Birmingham Students for Justice in Palestine society
- Dr mohamed Ali, NHS
- Paddy O’Keeffe, Brighton Stop the War
- Ben Maloney - Secretary, Enfield Southgate Labour Party
- Tim Holmes, Public Interest Research Centre
- Igor Strapko, Clapton Ultras
- Rachel O’Brien, Community Action Officer at University of Birmingham Guild of Students
- John Tymon, Football Against Apartheid
Thank you for helping to draw that distinction so clearly and for getting so much support in doing so. I strongly believe that the fight for the rights and lives of Palestinians does not have to be anti-semitic. Your efforts here are making that case through your voices and actions.
Disrespectful dancing: clinging to the edge of the mosh pit -
Moshing and aggressive behaviour at gigs has forever been a frustration in the alternative scene, but how should it be dealt with? Does it need any confrontation at all or should everyone just ‘get used to it’? Can more be done other than a few peaceful words and well meaning signs.
There’s a growing problem in the queer community right now of women identifying folk fetishizing trans men not only sexually but also as the better kind of man compared to cis men.
I don’t claim to talk for all trans men everywhere, and I’m open to the idea that I’m completely wrong about this, but it’s a problem I’ve seen and personally experienced within the community and I think it bares discussion.
Let’s talk about the sexual aspect first; queer women love fetishizing trans men. It’s no secret in the community. Pretty much every trans man I’ve ever met who’s involved in the queer community can identify that. From what I can understand this is because we’re seen as the ultimate butches. I once had an annoying encounter with a drag queen who asserted that all trans men are lesbians, like once you hit the max level of being a lesbian you just decide to become a man.
this comes up every now and again (e.g. for the AFem2014 conference in London, remember?)
I think it’s to the credit of trans men/trans masculine ppl that they so frequently remind people how problematic they can be ;)
But Hamas… —
In conversations about Gaza, I have heard many thoughtful people in the Jewish community lament the loss of Palestinian lives in Gaza but then say, “But Hamas…,” as if that were the heart of the problem. I’d like to suggest that, when we have these conversations about Hamas and Israel’s current bombing campaign, we begin with the necessary context and historical perspective.
Re: The Nakba
1. To create the Jewish state, the Zionist movement destroyed more than 400 Palestinians villages and expelled 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and land. Palestinians who remained in what became Israel were relegated to second-class citizenship, had much of their property confiscated, and, to this day, have fewer rights than Jewish Israeli citizens.
Re: The 1967 Occupation
2. In 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem and still occupies them until this day.
Re: Settlement expansion; the apartheid wall; and the siege of Gaza
3. Over the past 47 years of occupation, Israel has illegally confiscated more and more Palestinian land; built an apartheid wall; systematically denied Palestinians basic human and civil rights and engaged in state-sponsored violence; and forced the Palestinians in Gaza to live in appalling conditions that make it increasingly impossible to survive. Israel’s latest bombing campaign, Operation Protective Edge, has killed over 1,900 Palestinians, at least 450 of whom are children, and has displaced hundreds of thousands more.
If those of us in the Jewish community who are committed to justice begin from these facts, I think it would become clearer – regardless of who the Palestinian leadership is – that the underlying problem really is the denial of freedom and basic human rights to millions of people, for decades. And, as a community, it should also become clearer where priorities need to be in order to have any integrity on this issue: addressing the Nakba of 1948 and the responsibility for the Nakba head-on – including the right of return for refugees; ending the occupation; ending the siege on Gaza; and recognizing the right to full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel.
— Donna Nevel
Sometimes I’m reading through the various support blogs for non binary and binary trans people that I follow, and I end up thinking to myself ‘Wow, are all these people transgender?’ It seems almost hard to believe
And then I remember that this is the point: society likes to erase us and pretend we don’t exist, so a great many of us grow up never even considering that we might be transgender and we think (like everyone else) that there are very few trans people in the world. But Tumblr’s been great in reminding me that for thousands of people being trans is a reality and their everyday experience.
This is why I get very defensive when people bash Tumblr, because it is good and great and awesome.
Anonymous said: You know im going to have to say just because someone is privileged doesnt mean they are oppression Also if you are called out doesnt mean its always right
…? sounds like you need a bit of self-reflection, grey-face
Anonymous said: Personally i think you are sexist to whites
if you’re meant to be a joke, then kudos, I smirked.
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives.
If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places - and there are so many - where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory. — Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A personal history of our times.