Jimmy Russo, the Company Chairman of EDOM, has told Corporate Watch that he plans to “resign” from his chairmanship and “actively seek to sell” his 20% shareholding in the Israeli company. His announcement was in reply to questions about new evidence found by Corporate Watch that EDOM UK, the Israeli company (despite the misleading name), is packaging cherry tomatoes in the Israeli settlement of Beit Ha’arava in the occupied Jordan Valley.
EDOM branded products are sold in Sainsburys stores in the UK
EDOM UK cherry tomatoes acquired from a packing house in the illegal settlement of Beit Ha’arava – Photo taken by Corporate Watch researchers February 2013
Packing house being used to package EDOM UK cherry tomatoes – the signs on the outside say Agrexco and Hadiklaim – photo taken by Corporate Watch 4th January 2013
Back in 2010 Corporate Watch urged Russo to divest his shares. We wrote:
“To continue to maintain shares in EDOM is to ignore the suffering of those who have lived their entire lives under Israeli apartheid and occupation. The only way to remain ethical in this context is to divest.”
Russo, who is also the director of British company Valley Grown Salads (VGS), made the following “commitments” on 7th February 2013:
“1. I will confirm that I will resign as [EDOM] company chairman with immediate effect as I do not want my company, VGS receiving this constant harassment every year and being involved in political situations which are totally out of my control.
2. I will actively seek to sell my 20% stake holding in the company as the aggravation for no reward is not worth continuing with.”
Russo confirms that VGS will not source goods from the West Bank in the future but says that the company will continue sourcing from EDOM and other companies in Israel.
Russo also pledged to answer questions put to VGS by Corporate Watch and other media outlets.
Corporate Watch has contacted EDOM but has not received a reply. Continue reading
Posted in Agriculture, Corporate Watch Research Blogs
Tagged Agrexco, Agriculture, Beit Ha'arava, British companies with relationships with Israeli companies, Chosen Agricultural Produce, divestment, EDOM, Edom UK, Glinwell, Hadiklaim, Israeli Companies, Jimmy Russo, Jordan Valley, Magnolia Holdings, Mislabelling, Russia, Tesco, Tomatoes, UK
Labels manufactured for packaging Morrisons own brand Medjoul dates found in the illegal Israeli settlement of Tomer
On February 9th a coalition of civil society groups has called for an international day of action against Israeli agricultural companies in line with the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli militarism, apartheid and colonisation. Corporate Watch researchers are in Palestine collecting new information and over the coming weeks Corporate Watch will be writing a series of articles and blogs examining Israeli agricultural exports.
In January 2013 Corporate Watch obtained labels for Morrisons own brand Medjoul dates from the Israeli settlement of Tomer in the occupied Jordan Valley. The labels were for produce with an expiry date in December 2013 and the store has confirmed that they were produced for dates exported during the last Ramadan season. The exporter was the Israeli date growers cooperative Hadiklaim (see here). Continue reading
Posted in Agriculture
Tagged Agriculture, Dates, Farming Injustice, Hadiklaim, Jordan Valley, Karsten, Ramadan, South Africa, Supermarkets/Retail, Tomer, UK
A South African fruit grower is selling dates to an Israeli settler company.
Since writing about Hadiklaim’s business in the Jordan Valley, Corporate Watch has been overwhelmed by questions about boxes of Hadiklaim dates labelled ‘Produce of South Africa’. These dates are sold to Hadiklaim by Karsten Farms, a South African fruit growing group, and then packaged under the Jordan River or Kalahari brandnames and exported to Europe. Continue reading
Hadiklaim is an Israeli date growers cooperative which deals with several major supermarkets in the UK, including Sainsburys, Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Waitrose (although the Co Op and Marks and Spencer maintain that they only stock Hadiklaim products from 1948 Israel). The company boasts that it exports to 30 countries (see http://www.hadiklaim.com/company_customers.asp). Tesco and Marks and Spencer branded dates are Hadiklaim produce.
The Hadiklaim cooperative includes date growers from 1948 Israel, mostly the South, and from the settlements in the occupied Jordan Valley. Hadiklaim’s website portrays the company as one which deals only with 1948 Israel; listing growers in Beit Shean, the Kinneret, the Arava, Eilat and (ambiguosly)’the Dead Sea region’. However, the company also exports from the Israels settlements in the Jordan Valley. Hadiklaim’s statements in the Israeli Hebrew language media are markedly different – the companies CEO has stated in YNet that the occupied Jordan Valley is an important area for Hadiklaim. Continue reading