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The three Woolworths products causing the boycott

Nov 18 2014 14:19

Cape Town – Pretzels, figs and pomegranates.

These are the three products that Woolworths imports from Israel, the cause of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions SA (BDS SA)’s #boycottwoolworths campaign.

READ: Woolworths shareholders send warning over boycott campaign

Woolworths said in a statement on Tuesday that these three products were clearly labelled for customer choice.

“We have a diverse community of shareholders,” it said. “They represent an array of faiths, cultures and beliefs.

“Woolworths abhors violence and loss of life, particularly of children, in any circumstance and we are deeply saddened by the tragic consequences of the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

“We have no political affiliations. We fully comply with the South African government guidelines on product from Israel and the Middle East.

“None of our products are sourced from occupied territories, nor do any of our suppliers have operations in the occupied territories.”

Woolworths said they had received regular correspondence from the BDS SA. “We have responded to all of their questions and explained our approach to international sourcing,” it said.

The formal WHL shareholder meeting, the AGM, will be held next week. It said there were just over one billion shares issued.

Shareholder’s concerns

Marthie Momberg said she was compelled to reveal her concerns about the image and the ethics of the company in which she invested a considerable amount of her savings.

Listen to her interview with Fin24's Matthew le Cordeur:



Momberg is a staunch advocate of boycotting Israeli products and shares her views on her blog.


Momberg went to Palestine to witness for herself the conditions. (Photos: Marthie Momberg). 

She had a representative at Tuesday's BDS SA press conference to share the following statement.

“The Woolworths brand is increasingly questioned,” she said in her statement. “The real issue is not the number of Israeli products on the shelves of Woolworths, but rather the existence of contracts between Woolworths and Israeli businesses.

“Israel is well known for its continued, systemic violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories (Gaza, the West Bank and East-Jerusalem). Peaceful, economic resistance against Israel and her partners is by no means a protest against Jews, but against a systemic regime of oppression.

“The boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS) is part of an international strategy similar to the one which helped to end South African apartheid. Major businesses and churches, across the globe have already implemented BDS. They did so not because they are politically driven, but for ethical reasons.

“Woolworths say they are an ethical company. Woolworths’ products are of outstanding quality and are loved by South Africans. It is the result of dedication, courage and a commitment to quality. And yet, with regard to their relation with Israel Woolworths argues that they adhere to the law and need not do anything more.

“Ethical behaviour demands moral leadership. Laws are prerequisites that apply to everyone. It codifies practices, ideals, norms and moral values as the minimum that is required in a society, whilst ethics starts where the law ends.

“What would the quality of Woolworths’ products be if their business strategy simply adheres to the law and ignores going the extra mile? As shareholder I expect a consistent, reliable integrity from Woolworths.

“It implies responsible ethics in line with the growing international appeal for boycott, disinvestment and sanctions against Israel.

“As a person who values the human dignity of all I, together with South Africans from all walks of life, support the non-violent boycott against Woolworths. With our history of apartheid South Africans have a special role to play in saying no to Israel’s decades-long institusionalised violations of the Palestinians.

“It is now our turn to express our moral support with the oppressed. As shareholder I expect Woolworths to practice what they preach and to restore trust in the business. The integrity –and the viability – of a brand has to do with values that are embodied.”


Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu gave a speech at the march for Gaza, which Momberg took part in.

 The march for Gaza in Cape Town on August 9, 2014. (Photos: Marthie Momberg).

- Share your views on the boycott.

- Fin24 encourages healthy debate and has therefore closed the comments section below, as the comments were not adding value to the debate. We will add your constructive views about this topic via your email correspondence.

- Fin24.

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