Cross-posted by Gary Fouse
I received this message from a colleague alerting me to the fact that Trader Joe's, a well-known market for imported foods and wines, is now under pressure to stop selling products made in Israel (like Israeli cous cous, for example). This effort is being launched by South Bay Mobilization, a leftist, activist anti-Israel bunch in San Jose, California. In addition to its letter to Trader Joe's asking them not to sell Israeli products, this bunch is asking its members to actually go into local Trader Joe's stores on June 20, which if you did not know, is "World Refugee Day" and "Day to de-shelve Israeli products". It appears they will do what French activists have been doing, filling their shopping carts with Israeli products (with great fanfare) then leaving them in the aisle. Neat, huh? Basically, they conduct themselves like vandals.
There is a letter below written by the Jewish advocacy group, Stand With Us that you can send Trader Joe's if you wish to counter the correspondence sent by SBM. At any rate, you might consider buying some Israeli products next time you go to Trader Joe's. I know I will.
I have received some excellent ideas about how to approach the South Bay Mobilization's call for TJ's to boycott Israeli products. Here are some practical suggestions from two correspondents:
1) "I would suggest calling Trader Joe's, getting a contact and sending them that YouTube. What occurred in France is bound to be illegal because it jeopardizes Traders Joe's inventory and borders on vandalism. I would also encourage as many of us-Israel supporters to go into Trader Joes throughout the day [on June 20th] and if we have t-shirts that are supportive of Israel-wear them, go in there and BUY what they sell from Israel (I know they have goat cheese and frozen herbs ). Also, ask for Israeli wines (I hope they may soon stock them)."
2) "I suggest a counter letter writing campaign to Trader Joe's in support of continued selling of Israeli goods. In the letter, we would refute the bogus arguments. Other points could be that Trader Joe's has alot of Jewish customers who greatly appreciate the large number of kosher products. All products from Israel are kosher ( to the best of my knowledge) and boycotting Israeli products is not anti-Israeli but rather anti-Jewish."
If you should want to contact TJ's corporate headquarters, here is their info (I think the email addresses are correct, but I'm not sure):
Don Bane, Chairman and CEO (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Doug Rauch, President (email@example.com)
Charles J. Pilliter, SVP Operations (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Trader Joe’s Main Headquarters
800 S. Shamrock Ave.
Monrovia , CA 91016
phone: 626-599-3700 (customer service is extension 3035)
Below is an open letter to Trader Joe's that Stand With Us posted today on its website.
AN OPEN LETTER TO TRADER JOES
Filed under Israel, Boycott on 6/7/2009.
We have just read a copy of the letter that you are about to receive from the South Bay Mobilization group, which encourages you to isolate Israel and punish it for the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
Unfortunately, you are the new target of anti-Israel activist groups, who continue a propaganda campaign against Israel and distort facts to persuade merchants and others to boycott Israel. Such policies echo those that Arab countries have had since well before Israel's rebirth in 1948, and they also encourage and strengthen extremists who continue to undermine the peace process.
We note that the letter is a one-sided and self-serving view of the conflict. For example, there is nothing that describes the relentless terrorism coming from the variety of radical Palestinian groups surrounding Israel, including Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah, and fundamentalist groups like Islamic Jihad. We notice that their letter does not refer to Hamas, whose founding document calls for the murder of Jews and the destruction of Israel and which has caused the major problems for those who dream of peace in the region.
Also not mentioned in the letter, is the fact that Israel is only the size of New Jersey, and the terrorist groups surround it and continue to launch rockets from Gaza into Israel while calling for the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish people (check their founding documents, you can find them online).
What is mentioned in their letter is historically inaccurate, including issues about "stealing Palestinian land" and the building of the "segregation wall." It’s important to note that Jews have been in the region for over 3,000 years – all the archeology points to this fact – and the Palestinian Arabs never had a country in the region. While there are Palestinians who dream of peace and a better life for their children, the Palestinian leadership has never agreed to compromises that would have created two states, and they have tried to destroy Israel instead. Simply put, any negotiations that Israel has with the Palestinians will result in the creation of a new Palestinian/Arab state, not a reconstitution of a former entity. It is also important to note that the "segregation wall" is simply a security fence, which was built in response to the campaign of suicide bombings and terrorism launched by Palestinian leadership in 2000. The fence has helped reduce suicide bombings by almost 100 percent.
While Israel certainly is not perfect, no amount of propaganda can convince well-informed people that Israel is arbitrarily attacking its neighbors for sport.
We have always loved shopping at Trader Joes because you clearly have not allowed yourselves to be censored by political prejudice but rather offer an array of products that reflect the various tastes of your patrons. We salute you for standing clear of political pressure and maintaining your integrity and neutrality.
The Board and Staff of StandWithUs