Pro-Israel groups in Britain are urging the Co-op to end its policy of refusing to engage with Israeli produce suppliers that source from illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
The Co-operative Group does not source any produce or own-brand products from Israeli settlements, an ethical sourcing policy that was extended in 2012 to include companies which, while based inside Israel’s pre-1967 territory, source some produce from West Bank settlements.
A petition launched by advocacy group “We Believe in Israel” calls the policy an act of “discrimination against Israeli suppliers”, and claims the stance has served “to alienate from the Co-op Group a large section of the Jewish Community and other customers in the UK who are sympathetic to Israel”.
All Israeli settlements in the oPt are illegal under international law and have been described by groups such as Amnesty International as part of an inherently discriminatory regime.
A spokesperson for the Co-op told the Jewish Chronicle that the company does not boycott Israeli businesses, and currently sells produce “from suppliers that do not source from the settlements”.
“We Believe in Israel” is an initiative of Israel advocacy organisation the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM). The Co-op campaign is supported by, among others, fellow pro-Israel activists, Westminster-based Labour Friends of Israel.