Dutch supermarket denies settlement boycott

Aldi retail chain says it has does not have a policy banning Israeli products from the West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan

A man working in an olive oil factory in the West Bank. March 03, 2009. (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)
A man working in an olive oil factory in the West Bank. March 03, 2009. (photo credit: Uri Lenz/Flash90)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA) — The Dutch branch of the German supermarket chain Aldi has backtracked from its stated policy of boycotting products made by Israelis in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan.

“Aldi would like to emphatically state that it does not boycott products from the occupied territories,” a spokesperson for Aldi’s Dutch branch wrote on Monday to the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel — CIDI — a Dutch pro-Israel organization.

The spokesperson, Laetitia F. Gruwel, wrote in a letter to CIDI Director Esther Voet that “Aldi is not engaged in political or religious issues.” Aldi has stores in 16 European countries, as well as in the United States and Australia.

On Friday, an unnamed Aldi spokesperson confirmed to the Dutch daily Trouw that Aldi’s Dutch branch has a policy of boycotting goods from Israeli settlements, which the European Union considers illegal.
The spokesperson told Trouw that Aldi remains committed to its policy as outlined in a report from April entitled “Dutch Economic Links with the Occupation,” which was commissioned by several Dutch organizations that are critical of Israel.

The report said that the Dutch subsidiary of Aldi informed the report’s authors “that it does not want to sell products from Israeli settlements in occupied territories and also has informed its suppliers about this policy.”

On Monday, Gruwel did not deny that Aldi made a statement to that effect but said it was “incorrect information.” Currently, Aldi does not offer any products from areas which the European Union considers settlements, Trouw reported.

According to Trouw, two other supermarket chains operating in the Netherlands, Hoogevliet and Jumbo, have a said they are boycotting settlement products,

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