By shopping at Sainsbury are you funding Hamas terror activity? Is there a nexus between your groceries and terror tunnels?
Whilst I do not usually blog on international matters I could not help myself on this occasion. For those who like to read about my usual areas of interest, stop now!
As a result of the recent conflict in Gaza there has been a marked rise of anti-Israel demonstrations, which on too many occasions have either spilled over from being peaceful to violence; sadly also bearing the hallmarks of anti-Semitism rather than purely defending Palestinian rights.
There has been much debate as to whether the BDS campaign founded in 2005 is a legitimate attempt to advance the cause of peace in the Middle East, or de-facto covers up a more sinister agenda of dismantling Israel.
Over the weekend a Sainsbury’s manager took it upon himself to de-shelve the entire Kosher section of his store. Whilst it is clear that this was not a chain wide policy, the idea that any business in the UK would be so intimidated as to take such an action should be a serious wake-up call. This did not happen in Paris, Bradford, or even the East-End. This happened in Holborn, the very heart of Central London.
Needless to say if all Kosher products were indeed made in Israel this would be unacceptable. But the truly irrational part is that most of the Kosher products are made outside Israel including of course the UK. Sadly, anti-Semitism never had a great reputation for being rational.
Compounding the PR mess in a recorded call with the customer complaints department a Sainsbury representative revealingly admitted that this would never happen with Halal products (as of course it should not!) When indeed did we see the call for boycott of Halal products because of war crimes alleged against Moslem countries or organisations (terror or otherwise.) Happy to be updated if I have missed something.
Let us however look for a moment at Sainsbury the corporate. BDS has taught us to follow the money. Their single largest shareholder is the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar (26%). This means that the Qataris received dividends of $250,000,000 from the retail chain in the last two years. (That’s a lot of tomatoes, nappies, chickens etc).
Why is this important? Well on two accounts Qatar have achieved meaningful prominence in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
In the first instance, Qatar (along with the other bastions of Western democracy, Turkey and Iran) have become the key political ally of Hamas in the world. So much so that even John Kerry felt the need to kneel (metaphorically) to them diplomatically in an effort to find a way to leverage influence over Hamas. Secondly and even more importantly, Qatar are the main paymasters of this terrorist organization (recognized as such by the UK, EU, US and Canada). And we know what they have been doing with this money (tunnels, rockets etc).
Whilst I would love a world in which boycotts had no part to play, I just wonder if this latest and rather bizarre action by a rogue manager within the Sainsbury’s chain sheds some light on a more important reason to think again about buying groceries in their stores.
The next time you see “live well for less” think about the tunnels dug and the rockets made with the profits generated from you custom at Sainsbury’s. Just saying!