Home | Global News | 1st SA Company to sever official business ties with Israel: Karstens Date boycott ends

1st SA Company to sever official business ties with Israel: Karstens Date boycott ends

Cii News | 28 January 2013

In a move being celebrated as a South African boycott-of-Israel breakthrough, Karsten Farms, a local agricultural company backed by the Industrial Development Corporation, has severed its relations with the Israeli cooperative, Hadiklaim, and has also undertaken not to enter into any future relations with any Israeli entity complicit in the illegal Israeli Occupation of Palestine.

This is the first time that a South African company has adopted such an undertaking. Early last year, the Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA) and BDS South Africa launched a consumer campaign against Karsten Farms due to its trade relations with Israel’s Hadiklaim – an Israeli company operating, against international law, in the illegal Israeli settlement.

This week, after almost a year of campaigning, in a letter to BDS South Africa via their lawyers,

Werksmans Attorneys, Karsten Farms undertook: “Not to enter into any trade relations with Hadiklaim

for the current harvest year of 2013 and not have any business relations with them [Hadiklaim] in the future.” In addition, and in a breakthrough move, Karsten Farms also undertook “Not to enter into any trade relations with any Israeli company and/or entity within the occupied/illegal settlement areas of Israel”.

Muhammed Desai, the BDS South Africa spokesperson told Cii News, “We warmly welcome this decision. We also thank members of the community who participated in this campaign by not purchasing products like Kalahari Medjoul Dates.”

A previous article by Cii News quoted a report by Corporate Watch, a group tracking corporate complicity in the occupation of Palestine.

It had previously contacted Michael Deas, the European coordinator of the Palestinian BDS Boycott National Committee when the issue serviced several years ago. Their site noted, “Hadiklaim buys Karsten’s dates to facilitate an all year-round supply to the export market; South African dates are harvested in March and April[6], six months later than in Israel. Hadiklaim’s business with Karsten Farms helps the settler company to operate as an international exporter. So in selling produce to Hadiklaim, Karsten are supporting Hadiklaim’s dealing with settlement growers, their growers’ use of cut price Palestinian labour and colonised land, and are disregarding the popular call from a broad section of Palestinian civil society – the dispossessed people of Palestine living under occupation, apartheid or in diaspora. As such Karsten Farm’s products should be boycotted.”

New Reggies proprietors distances themselves from Jewish National Fund

Qaanitah Hunter| Cii News| January 22, 2013

Mohsin Mia and Christian Larsen who bought Redgwoods, which owns Toys R Us and Reggies stores, say their business does not have any political or religious affiliations.

The previous owner of the business was reproted to have fully supported and endorsed the Jewish National Fund resulting in Palestinian activists calling for a boycott of the Reggies Stores.

Larsen, however, categorically noted that the new ownership has nothing to do with any affiliates of the previous owners.

This was effective from 1 December 2012.

“We supply toys to children. We do not support any political or religious organisations. We are here to support and supply good quality toys for children,” he said.

On Monday, 21 Januray 2013, Stop The JNF, an organisation set up to counter the fund JNF, told Cii News that the new ownership delayed their communication with them.

But Larsen said they have been more than willing to meet the activists and a date was set for December 2012 but the activists could not make it.

“There is nothing that we are hiding, there is nothing that we are doing that we are ashamed of,” he said.

He noted that they are more than willing to engage anyone on the matter.

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