For about a week, a rumor that the Whole Foods Market chain is boycotting Israeli products has been circulating in emails and on the blogosphere. On Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson for Whole Foods said that the rumor is completely false.
It’s “definitely not true,” company spokesperson Libba Letton said in a phone interview. “We have products from Israel; we have tons of kosher products.” The company’s customer service team has received “at least a couple hundred” phone calls from people – many of them Jewish – asking whether the rumor is true, Letton said.
Letton said she believes the rumor started with a blogpost by conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel late last month. On July 29, Schlussel wrote on her blog, DebbieSchlussel.com, that she had “received many reports from Whole Foods customers that Israeli olive oil and other products had been removed from the shelves of many Whole Foods.”
The Anti-Defamation League issued a statement last week in support of Whole Foods, adding that the company said some of its buyers were on a trip to Israel when the rumor about its supposed anti-Israel stance began circulating online.
“Whole Foods Market has made it unequivocally clear that it has not and will not engage in boycotts against the state of Israel,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in the statement. “In fact, they continue to carry a number of Israeli products, and have assured us that they do so with pride.”
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