South African Court Orders Halt to BDS Protests at Woolworths Stores

In late October, protesters placed a pig’s head in the meat department of a Woolworths in Cape Town because it sells Israeli products.

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A shopper selects yoghurt at a Woolworths Ltd. supermarket in Sydney, Australia.
A shopper selects yoghurt at a Woolworths Ltd. supermarket in Sydney, Australia.Credit: Bloomberg

A court in Johannesburg has ordered the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to stop the organizing and encouraging of protests of the Woolworths chain of department stores.

The Johannesburg High Court in its ruling issued Tuesday also ordered representatives of the BDS movement and Woolworths to meet face-to-face by December 10 “in an attempt to settle the entire matter,” the South African Press Association reported.

Woolworths until now has refused to meet with boycott campaign officials.

The boycott campaign began at the end of Israel’s 50-day operation in Gaza this summer.

In late October, members of the Congress of South African Students Western Cape branch placed a pig’s head in the meat department of a Woolworths in Cape Town as part of the protests.

An activist places a pig's head in the meat section of a Cape Town supermarket as part of an anti-Israel protest.Credit: Twitter

The company said in a statement in October, “We fully comply with government guidelines on product from Israel. Less than 0.1 percent of our food is sourced from Israel.” The BDS movement says those products include figs, coriander, lychees, plums and mango.

It is not known if the protests have hurt Woolworths sales.

On Monday, the National Coalition for Palestine said it will intensify its boycott campaign against Woolworths during the upcoming holiday season, the South African Broadcasting Corp. reported. The coalition, supported by the African National Congress Youth League and other Palestine solidarity organizations, also said it would expand the boycott campaign to include other, larger retailers, including Pick n Pay and Dis-Chem.

Woolworths, one of the largest companies in South Africa, is not related to the U.S. chain F.W. Woolworth Company.

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