Cape Town - Palestine solidarity organisations say their boycott against retailers trading with Israel will intensify, with Pick n Pay and Dis-Chem among those next on the list.
Earlier this month, Woolworths brought a court application against Boycott Divestment Sanctions South Africa group “to protect” its employees and customers from unlawful protests inside its stores.
On Monday, the Rev Edwin Arrison, chairman of the National Coalition for Palestine (NC4P), called on Woolworths to drop its action against BDS.
BDS began a nationwide boycott of Woolworths in August, with protests held across the country.
Arrison said: “We will not be suppressed and (our) solidarity with the people of Palestine will not be silenced.”
He said once the boycott campaign against Woolworths ended, they would take on larger retailers.
According to a Boycott Woolworths report compiled by researcher Ciara Gatonby from Wits University, the campaign has so far had far-reaching consequences.
Key findings indicated that the Boycott Woolworths campaign reached around 3.8 million people on social media alone with the hashtag being used more than 9 000 times on Twitter in the past month alone.
According to the report, based on a survey of 3 296 people, Woolworths South Africa was losing R7.8 million a month and had lost around R31.2m since the start of the campaign.
Clint le Bruyns, from the KwaZulu-Natal Palestine Solidarity Forum, said they stood in solidarity with BDS South AFrica and intended to intensify the campaign.
“We note with great concern the reaction of Woolworths SA by ignoring this campaign and refusing dialogue.
“We consider this interdict a violation of our constitutional rights to peaceful process and reject any effort and violation of human rights committed by the apartheid state of Israel.
“We will intensify this campaign for as long as it takes and see this interdict as a moral and legal attack on us all in SA.”
Last week, in response to some of its shareholders saying they supported the boycott, the company said: “Woolworths abhors violence and loss of life, particularly of children, in any circumstance and we are deeply saddened by the tragic consequences of the ongoing conflict in Gaza.”
The company said it complied with government guidelines on products from Israel and the Middle East.
“We have no political affiliations…
“None of our products are sourced from occupied territories, nor do any of our suppliers have operations in the occupied territories.”
Woolworths said all its products, including the three currently sourced from Israel – pretzels, figs and pomegranates – were clearly labelled, for “customer choice”. - Cape Argus