The largest supermarket chain in the United Kingdom has announced that it will cease to sell products sourced in the West Bank by September.
The Jewish Chronicle reported that Tesco, which has stores in Europe, North America and Asia, has announced that it would cease to sell dates packaged in the West Bank, meaning that the stores will no longer carry any products from the West Bank. The grocer told the Chronicle that the change was being made for “commercial reasons” and was not motivated by politics or by the recent fighting Gaza.
A pair of health and beauty companies also told the Chronicle that Tesco had contacted them and asked them to reveal which of their products and ingredients come from Israel and which from the occupied territories.
Tesco told the Chronicle that it had made the inquiries in response to questions from customers and that it had no plans to change its policies on sourcing from Israel.
Tesco, which was founded by Jewish businessman Jack Cohen, has been at the center of a number of controversies concerning its policies on Israel-related products. In 2009, pro-Israel groups criticized the chain for setting up a special helpline at its customer service phone line to field complaints about stocking Israeli products. In 2013, protesters from the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement placed yellow stickers on Israeli products in the chain’s stores in Ireland. On Tuesday, protesters gathered outside the Tesco store in Blackburn, England, to protest the chain’s sale of Israeli products.