LONDON: Muslims across Europe are being encouraged to check fruit labels and avoid buying Israeli dates this Ramadan to make sure they are not breaking their fasts with the “taste of apartheid,” organizers of a new boycott said on Saturday.
“By choosing not to buy Israeli dates this Ramadan, the Muslim community can send a clear and powerful message of condemnation of Israel’s illegal occupation and apartheid in Palestine,” said Shamiul Joarder of the UK-based Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA), who have launched the campaign.
“Israel is the world’s largest producer of Medjoul dates, with 50 percent of Israel’s dates exported to Europe, FOA said in a statement. “These dates are then sold in major supermarkets as well as local shops across the continent.
FOA added that 50 percent of Israeli dates are exported to Europe, where the UK, Netherlands, France, Spain and Italy import huge quantities of the dried fruit. In 2020 the UK imported over 3,000 tons of dates from Israel, worth roughly £7.5 million ($8.9 million).
It also noted that so far this year, Israel has killed at least 62 Palestinians including 13 children — the equivalent of one child every five days.
“The Israeli government is increasing home demolitions at an alarming rate and has promised to expand illegal settlements at an unprecedented level,” it added.
FOA stressed that international leading human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, “have said that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid, but European states are failing to impose sanctions on Israel and uphold international law.”
Joarder said: “It’s time to renew our commitment to BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) this Ramadan. We must remember that as a community we are powerful — we can make our voices heard through the simple act of putting Israeli dates back on the shelf.”
He added: “All we need to do is #CheckTheLabel and not buy dates from apartheid Israel.”
A Day of Action to encourage Muslims to “check the label” has been called at UK mosques on March 17, the last Friday before Ramadan. There will also be an online awareness drive on the final weekend before the holy month.