Belfast demonstrators remove ‘Israeli’ goods from shelves of Sainsbury’s in protest over Gaza

Dozens of people removed products, including those made by the Coca Cola company, from the shelves of Sainsbury’s supermarket in west Belfast.

Many held aloft banners and flags, shouting ‘Free Palestine’.

The footage was published by Seosamh O Bradaigh.

The clip has already received a huge amount of attention through social media.

Elsewhere, leading supermarket chain SuperValu has confirmed it ordered all stores to remove Israeli carrots from their shelves in the Republic.

Despite insisting it has not enforced a boycott of goods from the country, an email instruction was sent to all 232 stores last Friday saying the Chantenay variety must not be sold.

SuperValu denied it was imposing a formal ban against Israeli goods in its shops.

In a statement, it said: “SuperValu is not involved in a boycott of Israeli produce and ultimately consumers will make their own purchasing decisions.

Video: Belfast demonstrators remove ‘Israeli’ goods from shelves of Sainsbury’s in protest over Gaza
source: Facebook/Seosamh O Bradaigh

“We understand that this is an emotive issue. However, we have a policy of not taking a position on international affairs.”

The supermarket chain is one of more than 20 retailers written to by trade union Mandate seeking a boycott of Israeli goods and produce.

The campaign was launched last Friday as the death toll in Gaza reached almost 1,900 Palestinians and 67 Israelis.

Claims of a boycott in SuperValu stores circulated after an instruction was sent to managers in all its retail outlets last Friday that the Chantenay carrots should be taken off the shelves and disposed of.

SuperValu, which is part of the Musgrave Group, confirmed that an internal instruction was sent to managers but today sought to clarify reports that it had imposed a boycott.

A spokesman said the company wanted to be 100% clear that there was no ban on the sourcing and sale of products from Israel.

Others retailers written to by the Mandate trade union over a proposed boycott include Marks & Spencer, Shaws, Tesco Ireland, Dunnes Stores, Penneys, Heatons, Debenhams, Boots, Brown Thomas, Arnotts, Arcadia Group, Aldi, Lidl, TK Maxx, BWG Foods, Smyths Toys, Londis Group, PC World and Lloyds Pharmacy.

The union famously stood by a group of Dunnes Stores workers in 1984 after they went on strike in support of Mary Manning, who was sacked after refusing to handle produce from apartheid South Africa.

Supervalu said its company policy is to source as much Irish produce as possible, and if not from domestic suppliers, then from as close to home as possible.

“75% of products in our stores are produced and sourced locally in our communities. However, due to the unpredictable climate in Ireland, there are occasions when we are required to source products from further afield in order to meet customer demand,” the company statement said.

“We prioritise supply from the UK and Europe when Irish product is not available. Very occasionally we source some products from Palestine and Israel when we cannot get sufficient supply from our main markets.

“We currently have sufficient stock from our usual supply market, with no goods ordered from Palestine and Israel at this time.”


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