Ramadan is a time of year when we remember those who are less fortunate than ourselves. When we break our fasts with dates, it would be an affront to us all if these dates were the produce of Illegal Israeli settlements built on land stolen from Palestinians.
Israeli produced Medjoul dates are grown in the Jordan Valley within Illegal Israeli settlements. They form a large part of the agriculture from these settlements and they are exported all over the world. Purchasing these dates means that you are actually helping Israeli settlements to continue to exist.
Israelis will claim that Palestinians are allowed to work on the land of these settlers and therefore they are provided with jobs and a boycott will harm them. In actual fact, these Palestinians are employed for paltry wages, and they are required to do the back-breaking work that the Israeli settlers will not do themselves. This means the Israeli settlers reap the rewards for the harvests while doing very little of the work themselves.
Palestinian children are employed by these settlers, and they are forced to work long hours under a hot baking sun for small sums of money. This exploitation means that these children miss out on an education.
Most of these dates are exported to Europe.
How to identify Israeli Produce
Most of the major supermarkets sell produce of Israel / Westbank - AVOID:
Why should you boycott Israeli dates?
There are many reasons for boycotting Israel and Israeli products. Financially, supporting the state of Israel is tantamount to supporting its oppression and occupation of the Palestinians. Palestinians are subjected to violence and humiliation every day and their lives are made unbearable by Israel’s occupation policies.
In Gaza, most recently, Israel reduced the population of 1.5 million to desperate poverty by imposing a four year long siege and a 3 week long bombing campaign which left 1,400 Palestinians dead. While Israel enjoys living standards equivalent to that in Europe, the Palestinians in Gaza live without basic supplies of fuel, electricity, medicines, food and even milk powder for babies.
Despite the absolute humanitarian disaster unfolding in Gaza, with diseases spreading, malnutrition the norm, and medical patients dying in their hundreds from treatable diseases; Israel continues to dismiss international concerns and condemnation, calling Palestinians the terrorists.
In the West Bank, oppressive occupation policies continue to be the norm, and peaceful protests continue to be met with deadly force, leaving unarmed protestors dead or injured. International solidarity workers are also still being harassed and targeted, and extremist settlers, such as those in Hebron, continue to make the lives of the local people a living misery. School children on their way to school face the terror of settler attacks, who hurl both abuse and rocks at them. These incidences are not isolated; they are the reality of every day life for some Palestinians.
Political intervention has failed to bring about an end to the occupation for over 40 years. It is time for ordinary people in the ground to take a stand, and boycotting Israeli goods is an easy but effective option.
By boycotting Israeli products - you are telling the Israelis that you want the occupation to end; you are telling the world government’s that they must take action; and most importantly, you are telling the Palestinians that they are not forgotten.
Do something today - Boycott Israeli Dates