Produce boycott crosses the Atlantic
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Produce boycott crosses the Atlantic

On Saturday, June 20, activists gathered at Trader Joe’s grocery stores in Oakland and San Francisco to demand that the company stop carrying Israeli goods. Protesters removed Israeli products from the shelves, distributed leaflets about Israeli apartheid, and handed out coupons for customers to give to cashiers asking the store to stop stocking Israeli herbs, couscous, and cheese.

Organizers also met with local store managers, and delivered a letter signed by over 35 organizations and 135 individuals to the company headquarters. The actions were organized by the Don’t Buy Into Israeli Apartheid (DBIA) national network, which has gained over 600 members in just one month.

Similar actions organized by DBIA took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Seattle, Washington, and Sacramento. The actions took the lead from activists in the UK and France, who have organized similar campaigns. The UK campaigns against Tesco’s supermarkets have gained significant attention in recent months.

DBIA chose June 20th to kick off its campaign to coincide with World Refugee Day to spotlight refugees displaced by war and persecution. There are as many as six million Palestinian refugees around the world today, mainly as a result of the 1948 Nakba.

The Trader Joe’s initiative, one of the first consumer boycott initiatives of this scale in the US, was met with resistance by Zionist organizations who tried to discredit the campaign. However, given the surge in DBIA endorsers, and the growing number of people taking part in BDS actions in the US, this was undoubtedly a step forward for the American BDS campaign. It gained extensive media coverage, which will only raise awareness about the movement, and the Zionist organizations’ vocal opposition is a clear indicator of their apprehension. As is the case in Europe, Canada, and other parts of the world, the BDS movement is growing rapidly, and we are beginning to see concrete successes.