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BOYCOTT ISRAEL CAMPAIGN

SELFRIDGES LETTER CAMPAIGN

Selfridges are carrying a range of goods produced on Israel's illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. These are labeled "Made in Israel" in contravention of EU excise and customs regulations. These settlements have been built on land expropriated from the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. These are illegal under international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Currently their stores in central London are being picketed by the BIG (Boycott Israeli Goods) campaign (orgainsed by Palestine Solidarity Campaign) to hilight this breach of international law.

In association with IHRC we are supporting this campaign by running a letter writing campaign to pressure Selfridges to stop supporting Israel.

Please download the letter below and give printed copies to all your friends for signing and sending off.

Remember to include in the letter:

  • Your Sign & printed Name
  • The Date
  • Your Address

 

SAMPLE LETTER:

Sample letter to Selfridges in WORD format (shift-click to download)

Mr Vittorio Radice,
Chief Executive of Selfridges,
400 Oxford St,
London W1A 1AB

The Date

 

Dear Sir,


Boycotting Israeli Apartheid


I write with reference to your store's continued support for Israeli apartheid.

Selfridges are carrying a range of goods produced on Israel's illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. These are labeled "Made in Israel" in contravention of EU excise and customs regulations. They include:

Achva Halva - Barkan Industrial Zone, West Bank
Ahava toiletries - Mitspe Shalem, West Bank
Beigal and Beigal pretzels - Barkan Industrial Zone, West Bank
Yarden Wines - Katzrin, Golan Heights

These settlements have been built on land expropriated from the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Not only are they illegal under international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, but their existence and continuing expansion, a symbol of the ongoing occupation, has been identified as a major obstacle to peace at this sensitive time.

The EU and international positions make it clear that settlements are not part of Israel, and therefore are not covered by any trade agreement. By stocking such products, your store is in effect assisting settlement expansion through subsidising the settler economy. Whilst settlement trade flourishes, Israel continues to strangle the Palestinian economy by denying it free access to the outside world.

I urgently request you to reconsider your support for the racist and persistent abuse of basic human rights by henceforth boycotting all Israeli products etc. and finding suitable replacements.

In the meantime I will have no alternative but to boycott your store, and encourage others to do so. I look forward to receiving your assurances that you will no longer be supporting Israeli apartheid.

 

Yours faithfully,

Your Sign

Your Name & Address

UPDATE [21 Dec 2001]: Illegal Products Removed

From an IHRC Press Release:

Selfridges withdraw products made by illegal settlers

Selfridges today withdrew the sale of four products Achva Halva, Ahava toiletries, Beigal and Beigal pretzels and Yarden wines all made in the West Bank or Golan Heights regions.  In a public statement it was announced that,

“Selfridges has taken the decision to withdraw the four products during the Christmas season in order to minimise disruption to our customers caused by leafleting and picketing outside our store.  This decision will be reviewed in the New Year as part of our normal product review process.”

The decision came after weeks of picketing and leafleting outside the Oxford Street store by campaigners from the Islamic Human Rights Commission and Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

A joint statement given by the Islamic Human Rights Commission’s Massoud Shadjareh and Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Diane Langford said,

“We welcome Selfridges’ decision and hope the decision is not a temporary one. Trading in these products is not only morally unacceptable due to the fact they are produced by illegal settlers in Occupied Palestine, but legally unlawful as they are being labelled and sold as Israeli goods, therefore receiving special tax concessions.

“Those who promote these products are financially strengthening and supporting illegal settlements.  We have called off the planned picket for tomorrow, but will continue to monitor Selfridges and other stores, as we believe these types of products should not be sold in any high street store.”

 

UPDATE [22 Dec 2001]:

As reported in the Guardian the next day:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,623947,00.html

Selfridges bans sale of goods from occupied territories

Nicholas Watt
Saturday December 22, 2001
The Guardian

Selfridges yesterday became the first big British department store to withdraw from sale goods which are produced in the occupied territories of the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

Bowing to pressure from Palestinian groups, the central London store announced that it would no longer sell a range of beauty and food products which are incorrectly marked as Israeli goods.

The action by Selfridges came after Palestinian groups picketed the Oxford Street store last Saturday. Protesters handed out leaflets pointing out that placing a "Made in Israel" label on products from the West Bank, the Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip breaches EU excise and customs regulations. The international community has never recognised Israel's annexation of the territories in 1967 and 1973.

A Selfridges spokeswoman said last night that it had withdrawn the goods to encourage the Palestinian groups to end their protest, adding that the store was not making a political point. Insisting that it was lawful to sell the products, the store said: "Selfridges has taken the decision to withdraw the four products during the Christmas season in order to minimise disruption to our customers caused by leafleting and picketing outside our store. This decision will be reviewed in the new year."

The products which have been withdrawn are Achva Halva sesame seed sweets and Beigal and Beigal pretzels, made in the Barkan Industrial Zone on the West Bank; Ahava toiletries, made in Mitspe Shalem on the West Bank; and Yarden Wines from Katzrin on the Golan Heights. The West Bank was annexed by Israel in 1967, while the Golan Heights were annexed in 1967 and 1973.

The move will focus attention on the Palestinian campaign to boycott goods from the occupied territories which are marked as Israeli. The European commission is expected to register its anger with Israel over the contentious goods by ending low tariffs for such products.

 

UPDATE [27 Dec 2001]: Zionist Bullying Starts

No sooner had the decision been taken, the zionists started their bullying tactics. TotallyJewish reported a few days later:

Selfridges Axes Israeli Goods
by Alison Swersky - Dec 27

The Israeli Embassy has accused leading department store Selfridges of bowing to Palestinian pressure after it announced that products made in the West Bank and the Golan Heights labelled 'Made In Israel' would be taken off its shelves.

The famous London store, which has a large Jewish clientele, announced that it would no longer sell the range of beauty and food products that were marked as Israeli goods.

The move came after Palestinian protesters picketed the Oxford Street outlet earlier this month, claiming that placing such a label on products from the West Bank, Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip is in breach of EU excise and customs regulations, which have never recognised Israel’s annexation of the territories in 1967 and 1973.

The action by Selfridges, believed to be the first major department store to respond to the protests, was condemned by the Israeli Embassy in London as “shameless capitulation to a political campaign”. A spokesman said: “It is a source of high concern that a brand held in such a high regard should so easily cave in to a small bunch of misguided protesters.”

But a Selfridges spokesman insisted the decision was driven by commercial considerations rather than politics, and claimed it would be reviewed in the new year.

She said: “Selfridges has taken the decision to withdraw the four products during the Christmas season in order to minimise disruption to our customers caused by leafleting and picketing outside the store.

“We are not taking sides. It is absolutely not a political decision, it’s about protecting our customers from disruption during the crucial Christmas trading period.”

The European Union warned Israel in 1998 that it was in breach of EU trade agreements by labelling goods produced in Jewish settlements in Israeli-occupied territories as 'Made In Israel.'

 

The following snippet from a news group shows the zionist bullying in action:

A source within Selfridges confided that "all hell broke loose" when the Zionist hit the store.

Phone lines were jammed and so were email accounts. Threats from store card holders that they would cut there card up, others carried out the threat and actually handed in cards cut in two!

The Israel embassy called demanding an explanation, and the biggest blow was yet to come, now we hear MP's have joined the call against Selfridges.

UPDATE [2 Jan 2002]: Illegal Products Are Back

Selfridges reintroduces products made by illegal settlers

Having temporarily withdrawn the sale of four Israeli products during the Christmas trading period, Selfridges is set to reintroduce these products in the new year. 

As reported in TotallyJewish, Selfridges succomed to the zionist bullying:

 

Israeli Goods Restored
by James Kaye - Jan 3

Leading department store Selfridges has restored Israeli products to its shelves following a national outcry from the Jewish community.

The disputed range of beauty and food products were made in the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

And the famous Oxford Street store had refused to stock the range, after Palestinian protesters picketed the outlet, claiming that placing ‘made in Israel’ labels on the products was in breach of EU regulations.

But Selfridges insists the removal was a “temporary measure” based on safety considerations rather than political grounds.

A spokesman said: “The issue was the disruption that the protests would cause to our customers during the peak Christmas trading period.

“The products are back in the store now and it’s business as usual.”

Last month, the controversial move prompted a wave of complaints to the store from Jewish groups and senior figures in the business community, including a call to shareholders to dump their stocks.

Israeli Ambassador Zvi Shtauber called the store’s decision “a victory for sanity”. He said: “Nothing will be achieved for the Palestinians through such negative campaigns.”

Zionist Federation president Eric Moonman, who has been in constant communication with Selfridge’s executive body throughout the 10 day ban, claimed to be satisfied with the outcome of the campaign.

He said: “To boycott Israeli goods is not unusual – It has been part of the Palestinian campaign to demean Israel. It is my understanding that both the Embassy and the Zionist Federation will remain extremely vigilant over the next few months.”

John Marshall, former MP for Hendon South, and a Selfridges shareholder, dubbed the department store a “pushover for politically motivated protestors”.

He said: “It seems a bit like the grand old duke of York to me. First they take the products off the shelves because of Palestinian pressure, and then they put them back on following the outcry it caused.”

He added: “It appears that the company is run by a rather indeterminate group of people.”

Meanwhile, the department store reported poor sales figures during the Christmas period, blaming train disruptions for the performance.

RESPONSE TO LETTER CAMPAIGN:

Here is Selfridges standard reply to the hundereds of letters it received from around the world. [Thank you all, for forwarding these on to us - I know they are all the same but it helps us gauge the effectiveness of the campaign].

2nd January 2002

Dear Mr ...,

I am writing in response to your enquiry, and would like to clarify Selfridges' policy in relation to the sale of certain products manufactured on the Golan Heights and the West Bank.

We have carefully reviewed the matter and our understanding remains that neither the European Union nor the United Kingdom has prohibited the importing or selling of these products. As you know, we temporarily withdrew four products over the Christmas trading period and they will now be reintroduced. Their future stocking policy will be determined by our customers' demand, in keeping with our normal buying policy.

Since 1909, Selfridges' heritage has been built on its inclusiveness and openess to all customers. Although we understand that trading in international products can, in certain cases, be sensitive, it has always been our wish to avoid taking sides. We certainly do not wish to upset or offend any of our much-valued customers.

Thank you for having contacted us, thereby enabling us to explain our position.

Yours sincerely

Vittorio Radice
Chief Executive

Selfridges Retail Ltd.

 

 

WHAT NOW?

We urge you to please write again to Chief Executive Vittorio Radice or email him at
[email protected] .

If your custom at Selfridges exceeds 500 pounds in a year, please state so in your letter.

Mr Vittorio Radice,
Chief Executive of Selfridges,
400 Oxford St,
London W1A 1AB

The Date

 

Dear sir,

I am deeply concerned about the reintroduction of the Israeli goods Achva Halva, Ahava toiletries, Beigal and Beigal pretzels and Yarden wines produced by illegal settlers in the West Bank and Golan Heights region. 

I strongly urge you to withdraw these products and end this financial support of their illegal occupation.  I have been a loyal Selfridges’ customer for a long time [and have spent over 1,000 / 500 pounds in the past year/ six months.]  However, in light of the facts I find it morally reprehensible to continue shopping there, and will discontinue my custom until the products are withdrawn permanently.

 

I look forward to hearing that you will discontinue trading in such goods and allow your customers to shop with a clear conscience,

Yours sincerely


Your Sign

Your Name & Address

And again please forward us any replies that you receive, thank you.

 

www.boycottisrael.org
www.stopthewall.org
www.bigcampaign.org   
www.boycottisraeligoods.org 
www.inminds.co.uk/boycott-israel.html


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