The Islamic Human Rights Commission has warned Muslims and pro-Palestinians that Israeli date manufacturers are trying to trick people into buying their produce with misleading labelling.
In a video reminding Muslims not to eat Israeli dates this Ramadan, the IHRC says that faced with a growing boycott Israeli manufacturers are using ever more devious methods to sell their produce.
These may include using Arabic brand names, writing “Product of Palestine” on the label, or even using the Palestinian flag. Sometimes there is no labelling at all – which is unlawful.
Another red flag is that Israeli dates might be cheaper than Palestinian ones because the Israeli government subsidises these companies.
The UK is Israel’s second largest market for dates and most Medjool dates are from Israel. Moreover, almost all date boxes with no label are from Israel.
The IHRC says consumers need to check the label for the origin of goods as the manufacturer/importer’s contact details must be on the label. If in doubt, consumers should contact the importer for clarification regarding the origin of the dates.
If the packaging does not clearly show the origin of the goods or the manufacturer/importer details are not shown on the packaging, then this should be reported to local trading standards who have an obligation to investigate and if need be, remove the goods off the shelf.
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But according to the IHRC, even the “Made in Palestine” label is no longer a guarantee that you are not buying Israeli occupation dates. Unless its from trusted Palestinian sources like Zaytoun or Yaffa, the IHRC would caution against it.
Muslims can also download and share this leaflet for information purposes with family and friends.
Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land have been ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice and 60% of Israel’s dates are grown in these settlements. Meanwhile, 80% of settlement dates are exported with the UK being Israel’s second largest market.
In 2005 Palestinian civil society initiated a call for people of conscience around the world to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights.
The call was endorsed by over 170 Palestinian organisations representing all sections of society including farmers.