Saturday, 28 February 2009
Here is what they say:
'While all major supermarkets continue to stock produce from Israel, the Co-operative Group/Scotmid claim they are committed to supporting human rights and willing to lead and break ranks with industry in support of ethical principles. If this is true, they must now rid their shelves of Israeli produce.
The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign have initiated a campaign to get 'Israel out of the Co-op/Scotmid', and campaigners have been leafleting outside Scotmid stores to raise awareness among customers.
Please actively support the boycott campaign with the following actions:
- Drop in to your local Co-op/Scotmid store and ask to speak to the manager, saying that you feel they should no longer stock products from Israel.
- Contact the Co-operative Group directly (who are responsible for Scotmid and other Co-op stores) making it clear that you feel they should no longer stock Israeli goods (See sample letter below as a basis for your letter / comments / phone call).
Write to: The Co-operative Group, FREEPOST, MR9473, Manchester M4 8BA
Call: 0800 0686 727
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
Thursday, 19 February 2009
Picket outside Co-operative Store, Mumbles, Swansea 12pm - 1pm, Saturday 21st of February 09
STOP CO-OP TRADE WITH
The Co-operative Group prides itself in fair trade and support for human rights. Now it’s time to match fine words with deeds to save what’s left of
Anti-occupation groups in
The president of the UN General Assembly has endorsed the boycott call.
DON’T BUY ISRAELI GOODS
THE CO-OP SELLING THEM
FREEPOST M4 8BA.
Phone 0800 068 6727 MR9473,
Friday, 13 February 2009
The 72-year-old former journalist was among 20 people lending support to a woman accused of theft.
Greg Wilkinson and Dee Murphy — the so-called Tesco Two — were arrested nine days ago outside a city store, where they upended a shopping trolley and sprayed blood-red paint and ketchup over dates, herbs and salad items taken from the store.
Their actions, they said, were in protest at Tesco selling food produced in the West Bank, an area of Palestine occupied by Israel for the past 42 years.
After spending eight hours in police cells, Ms Murphy was charged with theft, but no action was taken against Mr Wilkinson.
When she was arraigned yesterday before Swansea magistrates, Mr Wilkinson interrupted proceedings to ask why he was not before the court.
He felt both of them should be charged, or neither.
His outburst led to him being promptly taken hold of by court security staff and escorted from the building. Ms Murphy, aged 54, of Rhondda Street, Mount Pleasant, denied the January 27 theft.
She elected jury trial and had the matter against her adjourned to April 1 ahead of committal to the Crown Court.
Outside court, she said: "It's very obvious we had no intention to steal in the traditional sense and there was no desire for personal gain.
"The action was purely political and intended to highlight the humanitarian issues and injustices in Palestine.
"The main aim was to challenge the legality of supermarkets selling goods grown on what we say are illegal Israeli settlements."
Ahead of the hearing, members and supporters of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign unfurled banners outside the court building, calling on shoppers to boycott Israeli goods.
Mr Wilkinson, from Brynmill, a former Reuters foreign correspondent, said: "This has all been prompted by what's happening in Gaza.
"Tesco and other stores are selling West Bank goods which are produced on what we say are illegal settlements in Palestine."
Two people were arrested after campaigners removed a trolly full of fruit and veg from the Tesco store in the centre of Swansea, up-ended it in the entrance and covered the goods with fake blood.
The campaigners, Greg Wilkinson and Dee Murphy, took the dramatic action in protest at the retail giant selling food produced in the West Bank area, land occupied and settled by Israel.
One of "the Tesco Two" has now been charged with theft and will have to appear in court.
Grandmother-of-four Ms Murphy said: "I think the shoppers were supportive of what we did — one elderly couple came over and said it was great.
"We never had any intention of keeping the goods or making a monetary gain from our action. It was done to draw attention to the issue."
The pair were arrested at 3.30pm on Tuesday and taken to Swansea Central Police Station, where they spent eight hours in the cells.
Ms Murphy, from Mount Pleasant, Swansea, was charged with theft, while no charge was laid against Mr Wilkinson.
"I will take legal advice about what to do when it comes to court," said Ms Murphy.
Seventy-two year old Mr Wilkinson, from Brynmill, said he had kept up his spirits while in the cells by singing. "There's lovely acoustics in the cells," he said.
"I must have sung just about every song I know.
"When you are in the cell without a watch or clock, and when you can't see the sun, you loose track of time."
He added: "I have to say the police officers and guards treated us with civility throughout."
The pair said they took the direct action in protest at Tesco selling what they termed "illegally produced food".
"We shouldn't have to do this," said former journalist and Llanelli smallholder Mr Wilkinson.
"The Government is party to international agreements, yet it allows companies to sell goods produced on what is clearly recognised as stolen and occupied land.
"If the Government won't enforce international law, then it is up to good citizens to do it."
Mr Wilkinson has previously protested about Tesco selling goods produced on the West Bank by stealing packets of dates — and writing to the company's chief executive to explain why.
The protesting pensioner has now been banned from Tesco.
A spokeswoman for the supermarket said all its products from the Occupied Territories were labeled according to UK and European guidelines which allowed customers to make an "informed choice" about what they buy.
She added: "While we will always support people's right to their opinion, we cannot accept our customers or staff being harmed in any way."
Greg Wilkinson took 10 packs marked "grown in the West Bank" from the Swansea Marina branch of the supermarket — then wrote to the company's boss with his name and address to tell him what he had done.
He said he "confiscated" the dates because he believed they had been produced on land illegally occupied by Israel. And he said he was prepared to face the consequences of his actions in court.
Mr Wilkinson, from Brynmill, Swansea, said: "I took this action because I have reason to believe that the dates come from illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine.
"The dates are labelled Grown in the West Bank, where the main date-growing area is the Jordan Valley, a military zone under Israeli occupation.
"Occupation and settlements are illegal under international law.
"It is not acceptable that Tesco should sell goods from stolen land, nor that the 'West Bank' label leads customers to believe they are buying legitimate Palestinian produce.
"If Tesco can satisfy me they are not from illegal settlements, it will be refunded."
The 72-year-old said he was spurred into action by the current violence in Gaza, where Israel has launched a major military campaign to try to stop missile and rocket attacks from the area.
According to Palestinian sources, the number of people killed stands at more than 500, with some 2,500 wounded — but these figures cannot be independently confirmed.
"I am angry and upset over what is happening in Gaza and I considered what action I could take," said the former journalist, who has also worked as a builder, a community worker and Llanelli smallholder. "I don't know what the reaction of Tesco will be — whether I will be referred to the police or whether they will remove these dates from their shelves.
"I did this in the full knowledge of what I was doing — and if it comes to court, I won't pay any fine."
The campaigning pensioner has written to Sir Terry Leahy, the chief executive of Tesco, to tell him what he did, and why.
The dates were worth £29.90, and Mr Wilkinson said he gave them away or sold them at last weekend's rally in support of Palestine in Swansea's Castle Square.
The money raised from selling the stolen dates — plus donations from well-wishers — came to £120, which Mr Wilkinson said he had donated to Oxfam and Islamic Relief's Gaza emergency appeal.
A spokeswoman for Tesco said an investigation into the incident was underway.
She added: "We understand that many customers have strong views, from a wide variety of positions, about the situation in the Middle East. Therefore, we clearly label the origin of our products so that our customers are able to make informed choices about what they wish to purchase.
"In relation to products from the Occupied Territories, we label all our products from there in accordance with EU and UK government guidelines, which state that produce from this area should be labelled clearly with a regional indication.
"This means it will state on the packaging if the product is from Israel or the West Bank, allowing our customers to make an informed choice about whether they wish to buy products from this part of the world."