Trader Joe’s: De-Shelve Israeli Products

June 6, 2009

Don Bane, Chairman and CEO
Doug Rauch, President
Charles J. Pilliter, SVP Operations
Trader Joe’s Main Headquarters
800 S. Shamrock Ave.
Monrovia, CA 91016

Dear Mr. Bane, Mr. Rauch and Mr. Pilliter,

As people of conscience, we believe that business corporations need to uphold ethical standards that are consistent with the principles of human rights and support of justice and equality, locally and globally. Trader Joe’s is a company with a reputation for bringing foods from around the world to offer U.S. customers the chance to enjoy a diversity of products. In doing so, however, we think that Trader Joe’s should not be complicit in promoting occupation, ethnic cleansing, massacres, and apartheid.

We ask that you stop carrying Israeli products or products manufactured in Israel that are distributed in the U.S. (for example, “Israeli Couscous”). We are part of a growing international movement of ordinary people from around the world, from Ireland and France to Norway and Canada, that does not want to buy consumer products that help fund an economy based on illegal occupation and apartheid. We have been dismayed to see that Trader Joe’s is still selling Israeli products, despite the international outcry against the Israeli massacre in Gaza this winter. In addition, the names of products such as “Israeli Couscous” are offensive as they allow a state that was created sixty years ago, through dispossession and illegal occupation, to claim a type of couscous that was traditionally produced by Palestinians and other Arabs for generations. This is racist advertising for cultural theft and does not befit a store that wishes to promote diversity, equality, or sustainability.

We are writing to ask you to not carry Israeli products for the following key reasons, among others:

1. Israel engages in the oppression of Palestinians and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people, including the continued theft of Palestinian land for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements and construction of the Segregation Wall (see www.btselem.org, www.whoprofits.org, www.stopthewall.org for information about these violations of international law).

2. Israel has violated over 80 resolutions of the United Nations, including Resolution 194, which affirms the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, and Resolution 242, which called for an immediate end to the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in 1967.

3. Israel has recently committed war crimes in Gaza, killing over 1,400 civilians in indiscriminate air strikes, including at least 400 children, and using a banned chemical weapon (white phosphorous) against civilians in heavily populated areas.

4. More than 20 Israeli state laws discriminate against non-Jews, restricting their rights to own property, hold citizenship, move freely, and participate in elections. Bishop Desmond Tutu and former South African President Nelson Mandela, as well as the Jewish South African Ronnie Kasrils, have all stated that Israeli law and oppression of the Palestinian people is comparable to the South African system of apartheid.

5. Israel’s appropriation of land and resources has also done irreparable harm to the environment, for example, through mass uprooting of ancient olive trees, theft of water, building of settlements, expansion of the wall cutting through farms, and destruction of traditional ways of life that had sustained the environment for centuries through indigenous knowledge.

Palestinians have called on the global community to engage in boycott and divestment, an effective non-violent strategy, which helped end South African apartheid. In 2005, a broad coalition of Palestinian civil society groups issued a call for the international community to stand up against Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and discriminatory laws by participating in a consumer boycott of Israeli goods and services. The boycott puts pressure on Israeli companies whose exports are linked to some of the most obvious aspects of Israeli occupation and apartheid.

The call of the Palestinian movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions states:

“We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.

“These non-violent principled measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

(For full text of the call and more information, see www.bdsmovement.net).

We know that Trader Joe’s carries Israeli Couscous and Pastures of Eden Feta cheese, both produced in Israel. However, we also believe that other products carried under Trader Joe’s private label may be repackaged Israeli products.

As conscientious people and customers of Trader Joe’s, we urge you to de-shelve Israeli products, at least until Israel meets its obligations under international law.

Sincerely,

Endorsed by:

ACTION FOR A PROGRESSIVE PAKISTAN

AMERICAN JEWS FOR A JUST PEACE

ANOTHER JEWISH VOICE, SANTA FE

BAY AREA INTERNATIONAL JEWISH ANTI-ZIONIST NETWORK

BIRTHRIGHT UNPLUGGED

BDS BAYAREA

BOSTON BDS

BOSTON COALITION FOR PALESTINIAN RIGHTS

BREAK THE SIEGE

BURNSVILLE AND EAGAN, MINNESOTA PEACE VIGILS

CAMPAIGN TO END ISRAELI APARTHEID – SOUTHERN

CHARLOTTE 4 PEACE

GLOBAL JUSTICE PROJECT

HUMAN RIGHTS ACTION SERVICE, MO

INTERFAITH WITNESS FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE

JUSTICE FIRST FOUNDATION

JUSTICE FOR PALESTINIANS

OPT OUT!

OWL’S NEST NORTH COLLABORATION

PEOPLE AGAINST HATE SPEECH

QUEERS UNDERMINING ISRAELI TERRORISM (QUIT!)

SAN JOSE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER

SOUTH ALAMEDA PEACE AND JUSTICE COALITION

SOUTH ASIAN COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

SOUTH BAY MOBILIZATION FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE

STUDENTS UNITED FOR PALESTINIAN EQUAL RIGHTS

THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST US TERROR WEAPONS

THE OREGON CAMPAIGN TO END ISRAELI APARTHEID

TRI-CITY PEACE AND JUSTICE

US CAMPAIGN FOR THE ACADEMIC AND CULTURAL BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL

VETERANS AGAINST TORTURE

VETERANS FOR PEACE

WESPAC FOUNDATION

WOMEN IN BLACK, LA

Signed by

TOM ABERNETHY , NY
SALMA ABY AYYASH, CAMBRIDGE, MA
KAMAL AHMED CUSTOMER, CAMBRIDGE&BURLINGTON STORES, MA
CHARLOTTE ALBRECH, MINNEAPOLIS, MN
SALEM AJLUNI, SAN JOSE, CA
YASMINE ALKHATIB, LOS ANGELES, CA
HANNAH ALLEN, AMHERST, MA
D ALWAN, OAKLAND, CA
AHMAD AMARA, HARVARD UNIV, MA
ERIC ANDERSON, LOS ANGELES, CA
JUDY ANDLER, CAMBRIDGE, MA
JAHAN ANSTAN, CA
LOUISE ANTONY, AMHERST, MA
THOMAS ASH, CAMBRIDGE, MA
DEVIN ATALLAH
TERESE ATALLAH
HIMA B, NYC, NY
MIKE BALDWIN, HAYWARD, CA
JANE BARK
SUSAN BARNEY, ARLINGTON, MA
KATHLEEN BARRY, CA
BEN BARSON
JAN BAUMAN
KHALIL BENDIB, BERKELEY, CA
GRETA BERLIN, BOARD OF DIRECTOR, FREE GAZA MOVEMENT, LOS ANGELES CA
BOB BOWES
UMAYYAH CABLE, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
ELLEN CANTAROW, MEDFORD, MA
GEORGE CAPACCIO, MA
CHARLOTTE CASEY, PRESIDENT, SAN JOSE PEACE AND JUSTICE CENTER, SAN JOSE, CA
JOHN CASSEL, OAK PARK, IL
JOYCE CASSEL, OAK PARK, IL
MARGARET CERULLO, AMHERST, MA
PETER CHABAREK, EUGENE, OR
CORTNEY CHILDS, CORVALLIS, OR
DAWN CISEK
DANIEL CLAYTON, BROOKLYN, NY
SUSAN CURTISS, LOS ANGELES, CA
DEEMA DABIS
HUMA DAR, BERKELEY, CA
L DAVIDSON, WEST CHESTER, PA
WALT DAVIS, SAN ANSEMLO, CA
KATHLEEN DENSMORE, PhD, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
DAVID DIXON
JACK DRESSER
SUSAN DUNCAN
MARTHA DWYER
JANET EISELEY CA
JEAN ENTINE
HEDY EPSTEIN, ST LOUIS, MO
KRISTI ERLICH
SHERIF FAM
SURA FARAJ, MILWAUKE, WI
FRANCIS FEELEY
DAVID FIELDER, BERKELEY, CA
JULIA FIGUEIRA-MCDONOUGH, PASADENA, CA
ROBERT FITZPATRICK, CHARLOTTE, NC
CHRIS FORD, LOS ANGELES, CA
MANZAR FOROOHAR, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
KARIN FRIEDEMANN, BOSTON, MA
MELISSA FROILAND, MILWAUKEE, WI
SHALINI GERA, HAYWARD, CA
PROF JOHN GERASSI, QUEENS COLLEGE, NY
ELIANE HAGOPIAN, BOSTON, MA
KATHERINE HANNA, BOSTON, MA
SWANEAGLE HARIJAN
KATHARINA HARLOW, MONTEREY, CA
MARTIN HARWAYNE
JANICE HAYDEN, CONCORD, MA
JEAN HAYS, FRESNO, CA
PAT HENDRICKS
CHARLIE HINTON, CA
JOSHUA HOUGH
LYDIA HOWELL, MINNEAPOLIS, MN
JAY HUBBELL, FRESNO, CA
MARY HUGHES
HAPPY HYDER, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
SUMIA IBRAHIM, NY
HAYAT IMAM, DORCHESTER, MA
MARY IZETT, LAFAYETTE, CA
A JARRAR, SAN JOSE, CA
JANE JEWELL, CA
PETER KARDAS, OAKLAND, CA
CASSANDRA KATSIAFICAS, BROOKLYN, NY
JUNE KENAGY, ALBANY, OR
REEMA KHAN, CAMBRIDGE, MA
LOU KIPNIS, SANTA FE, NM
VIDULA KIRTIKAR
VICTOR KIZASKI
ALICE KLEIN, MA
DAVID KLEIN, LOS ANGELES, CA
JEFF KLEIN DORCHESTER, MA
JANET KOBREN, OAKLAND, CA
JUDITH KOLOKOFF
JOEL KOVEL
GREG KOZICZ, BROOKLYN, NY
BADAR KUDSI, CA
JANE KURINSKY
PAUL LARUDEE, BERKELEY, CA, FREE GAZA MOVEMENT
CECILE LENEMAN
HOWARD LENOW
MICHAEL LETWIN, NEW YORK CITY LABOR AGAINST THE WAR, LABOR FOR PALESTINE NY
MARIAH LEUNG, AL NAKBA AWARENESS PROJECT
JOSEPH LEVINE, AMHERST, MA
SCOTT LINDER FREMONT, CA
MICHAEL LYON, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
SUNAINA MAIRA, OAKLAND, CA
MICHAEL MARIA, BOSTON, MA
ALICE MARSHALL, NY
IVAN MARTIN, ST LOUIS, MO
SAHAR MASUD
TANIA MAXWELL
HANNAH MEDROW, MILWAUKEE, WI
RASHA MHMOUD, BROOKLYN, NY
SERGIO MONTEIRO, LOS ANGELES, CA
DORINDA MORENO, FM GLOBAL, CA
MICHEL MOUSHABECK, NORTHAMPTON, MA
DR NANCY MURRAY, CAMBRIDGE, MA
HIRA NABI, AMHERST, MA
FARRUKH NAJMI
SHAHEEN NAZERALI, NY
DAVID NELSON
MARCY NEWMAN, CA
DOROTHY NAOR, ISRAEL
ANA NOGUEIRA, BROOKLYN, NY
KAMAL OBEID, HAYWARD, CA
DAVID OBERWEISER
IVAN OLSEN, CA
MARCELLO PETRIGH
ANGELA PRICE
REV JOHN PROCHASKA
YASMIN QURESHI, SAN JOSE, CA
MAZIN QUMSIYEH, PHD
BILL RAMSEY, ST LOUIS, MO
ANNE REMLEY, ANN ARBOR, MI
FREDERICK REMLEY, ANN ARBOR, MI
GREGORY RIENZO, CASTRO VALLEY, CA
ROSALIE RIENZO, CASTRO VALLEY, CA
JOHN ROBERTS, CAMBRIDGE, MA
KATHY ROBERTS, CAMBRIDGE, MA
PAULA ROCHELLE
JULIE RUFO, ALAMEDA, CA, TRADER JOE’S CUSOTMER
AMIN SABA, SAN JOSE, CA, TRADER JOE’S CUSTOMER
DINA SABA, SAN JOSE, CA, TRADER JOE’S CUSTOMER
FADI SABA, PRESIDENT, SOUTH BAY MOBILIZATION FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE, SAN JOSE, CA
NELLIE SABA, SAN JOSE, CA
RAKSHANDA SALEEM, CAMBRIDGE, MA
CAROLYN SCARR, BERKELEY, CA
SKIP SCHIEL, CAMBRIDGE, MA
HANNAH SCHWARZSCHILD
JON SEIGE, BOSTON, MA
BILL SELL
SAHAR SHAFQAT, MARYLAND
SAID SHEHADEH, PsyD QUEENS, NY
ANNA SHENK
LENORE SHERIDAN
SNEHAL SHINGAVI, VA
MOAZZAM SHIEKH, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
CATHERINE SHINN, SAINT LOUIS, MO
SAUL SLAPIKOFF, CAMBRIDGE, MA
EVE SPANGLER
JOHN SPRITZLER
RAMKUMAR SRIDHARAN, SAN JOSE, CA
A STEK, LOS ANGELES, CA
CORNELIA SULLIVAN, BOSTON, MA
IJAZ SYED, SUNNYVAL,E CA
ALLYSON TAYLOR
JOHN THIELKING, SAN JOSE, CA
KIN TILSEN WI
SAADIA TOOR, NYC, NY
JAMES VANN, OAKLAND, CA
DONALD VEACH
NICOLE VOLZ, BROOKLYN, NY
NABIL WAHBEH
DARLENE WALLACH, SAN JOSE, CA
DONNA WALLACH, SAN JOSE, CA
KATHLEEN WANG, DIAMOND BAR, CA
LARRY WARTEL, LOS ANGELES, CA
AHMAD YAMAK, CA
NADIA YASSA, Esq, MA
JAMAL ZEID, LINCOLN, CA
MAGGIE ZHOU, ARLINGTON, MA
JUNYA
STEPHANIA

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I'm a teacher, writer, and activist based in Bangalore. I am dedicated to various issues including #BDS and Palestine, living a Zero Waste life, and putting the carbon back into the soil through composting!

Posted in Economic Boycott, Take Action
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