#BoycottWoolworths: BDS Success Over Woolworths South Africa

South African BDS protesters against Woolworths. (Photo: via Voice of the Cape)

Following an intense two year campaign, the BDS South Africa movement in support of Palestine has announced an end to the controversial #BoycottWoolworths boycott.

The #BoycottWoolworths campaign was launched in August 2014 in response to Israel’s brutal 51 day assault on Gaza during Operation protective Edge in 2014, which killed more than 2,100 Palestinians. The campaign called for the complete boycott of Woolworths due to its trade relations with Israeli.

Under the National Coalition 4 Palestine (NC4P), the campaign was spearheaded by a number of prominent activist groups including BDS South Africa and the Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA).

BDS South Africa spokesperson Kwara Kekana announced the end of the boycott, saying: “The campaign had enormous successes over the last two years. However, having achieved several goals of the campaign we have now revisited our strategic imperatives and announce the end of the blanket boycott of Woolworths …”

Kekana added, “Included in our strategic imperatives, going forward, will be to also ensure that … no falsely-labeled Israeli products are sold in South Africa.”

Woolworths suffered brand damage and at the height of the BDS boycott, a media report stated that: “three out of every ten articles about Woolworths (outside of Twitter) referred to the boycott [of the company]”.

After involvement and calls from several public sector unions the largest shareholder of Wooworths, the Public Investment Corporation(PIC), also launched its own investigations into the company’s trade with Israel, among other issues.

Kekana said they would now turn to expanding the consumer part of the BDS campaign in South Africa … by focusing on the general boycott of all Israeli products.

He  also stated: “The #BoycottWoolworths campaign was a bold move in that it was the first comprehensive consumer boycott in the history of South Africa since 1994. There were many who supported the campaign and the achievements were important to the ongoing struggle in solidarity with Palestinians.”

The NC4P has thanked South Africans for respecting the boycott saying, “You were the strength, muscle and power of the campaign and the reason for (its) achievements.”

(PC, Voice of the Cape)

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