From Ron Taylor
The 'ethical' Co-op is still selling Israeli goods. Israel is a country which every day is in breach of international law and human rights conventions. It continues to steal land from Palestinians whilst trying to tell the world it wants peace. It doesn't. It wants to continue the land grab until all the Palestinians are either caged in by its apartheid system or have left for other countries.
From Nigel Byfield
We've all got our own idea of ethics, and also our own bugbears as to what compromise our ethics.
After the 'war on terror' started, I seriously started looking at my own ethics - should I be buying American goods or shopping at American-owned concerns e.g. Asda/Walmart. Then the thought process just started to get daft: the UK was just as complicit in the occupation of Iraq as was the US - should I therefore stop buying UK-produced goods too?
As a regular poster on Israel/Palestine, Ron will know much more about Israeli-based companies than myself. Are all Israeli food producers state-owned? If not, what are the ethics involved in boycotting them?
From Andrew H
Nigel is quite right. There are so many transgressions of human rights and international law, that it seems unfair to single out Israel. They are no worse - and a lot better - than many others.
A brief scan of Amnesty International's own list of countries with human rights issues shows the following:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina Armenia Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas, Bahrain Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo (Dem. Rep. of), Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Macao, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco and Western Sahara, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal Serbia and Montenegro Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, St Kitts-Nevis, Sudan, St Lucia, Sweden, Switzerland, Swaziland, Suriname, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, USA, Uzbekistan Vanuatu, Vatican, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
From Ron Taylor
I understand Nigel's feelings about boycotts and how far one takes them. I remember going into a greengrocers 25 years or so ago with a friend. We left the shop without buying anything as all the things we had intended to buy were from South Africa, Israel and Chile - all countries we were boycotting at that time.
As far as Nigel's question about Israeli goods is concerned, then, no, farms are not state-owned. But the point about Israel is that it has for decades refused to obey international law and has constructed a system which resembles the apartheid regime in South Africa which, thankfully, was consigned to history.
An important weapon for ordinary people all over the world to use against apartheid was the boycott. It helped to isolate South Africa, had some effect on its economy and played a part in ending the apartheid system.
I hope that a boycott of Israel would help to bring about change in the Middle East and I personally wouldn't distinguish between state produced goods and those from the private sector. Israeli companies make profits and their taxes go to maintaining the illegal military occupation of Palestine and prop up the regime which systematically steals more and more Palestinian land for settlements.
The international community has since Israel's establishment allowed it to continue unhindered. The UK government has supported Israel in just about anything it wanted to do. Boycotting Israel is something we can all do when our governments fail to act.
Refusing to buy Israeli produce will not bring down the Israeli economy but it will give a message to the Israeli people that the policies of their government are abhorrent to many people worldwide.
Boycott also gives a boost to Palestinians and to Israeli peace activists who are horrified about what is being done in their name.
From Steve M
Just a final shot on this one. The Co-operative Group were the first supermarket to stock Fairtrade Palestinian olive oil – the first Palestinian product to receive Fairtrade certification.
From M. Elder
Sympathising with Ron Taylor as I do we are all as computer users faced with a hard choice if we want to use IT to communicate.
This is a new thread branching off from the earlier thread: Coop's Ethical Water