Tag Archives: Edom UK

Apartheid in the fields: From occupied Palestine to UK Supermarkets

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Israeli agricultural export companies are profiting from the Israeli colonisation of Palestinian land.

In 2005 a broad coalition of Palestinians made a call for ordinary people all over the world to take action to boycott Israeli goods, companies and state institutions: “We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.”

This call has inspired a global solidarity movement aimed at targeting Israeli capitalism in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against oppression. We have compiled articles and interviews with Palestinian agricultural workers and farmers in the West Bank and Gaza, together with information on many of the Israeli exporters and UK supermarkets, as a resource for campaigners seeking to follow this call.

Poverty wages and child labour in the settlement of Beit Ha’Arava: Conditions for settlement workers in the Jordan Valley – Part two

The gates of Beit Ha'Arava settlement, closed to Palestinians except settlement workers - photo taken by Corporate Watch, January 2013

The gates of Beit Ha’Arava settlement, closed to Palestinians except settlement workers – photo taken by Corporate Watch, January 2013

During January and February 2013 Corporate Watch conducted interviews with Palestinians who work in the illegal Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley. Part one of our findings can be viewed here.

We met Fares*, Younes* and Jammal* near the Northern West Bank town of Tammoun in February 2013. Fares and Jammal were 23 years old at the time and Younes was 20. They had been working as agricultural labourers in the Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley settlements for between nine and seven years. All three workerd in the settlement of Beit Ha’Arava, close to the Dead Sea in the Southern Jordan Valley. According to our interviewees Beit Ha’Arava used to supply fresh produce to Carmel Agrexco before its liquidation in 2010, now the settlement grow the majority of its produce for the Arava and Edom export companies. Continue reading

BDS Victory: EDOM’s Chairman promises to resign and divest shares

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

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

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

Sainsburys stocking products supplied by exporter from Israeli settlements

Mangoes supplied by EDOM in Sainsburys, UK

Mangoes supplied by EDOM in Sainsburys, UK

On February 9th 2013 a coalition of civil society groups has called for an international day of action against Israeli agricultural companies in line with the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) 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.

We have received this photo from BDS campaigners showing that EDOM products are stocked in Sainsburys stores in the UK

On Wednesday 16th January 2013 researchers acquired EDOM branded packaging which had been taken from Tomer settlement. The packaging had been mislabelled as coming from a kibbutz in 1948 Israel. The company director has previously pledged not to stock goods from the settlements.

For more information on EDOM click here

 

EDOM: Still sourcing products from Tomer settlement

On February 9th 2013 a coalition of civil society groups has called for an international day of action against Israeli agricultural companies in line with the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) 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.

Corporate Watch has obtained evidence that EDOM, a partly British owned agricultural export company, is still exporting fresh produce from the illegal settlement of Tomer. On Wednesday 16th January 2013 researchers acquired EDOM branded packaging which had been taken from Tomer settlement. The packaging had been mislabelled as coming from a kibbutz in 1948 Israel. The company director has previously pledged not to stock goods from the settlements.

EDOM supply to several major British supermarkets, including Waitrose and Sainsburys, through the British company Valley Grown Salads, based in Essex.

Edom packaging found in the illegal settlement of Tomer

Edom packaging found in the illegal settlement of Tomer

Continue reading

Dear corporation: Corporate Watch and the Soil Association

by Tom Anderson – Taken from Corporate Watch’s latest magazine ‘The rules of engagement

In 2008 Corporate Watch decided to begin writing to companies with accusations levelled at them by grassroots campaigners, sometimes entering into lengthy discussions with them. Many of these communications were published as open letters on the Corporate Watch website, under the header Dear Corporation, along with the companies’ responses. Continue reading

Why the only way to trade ethically is to divest from Israel – an update on EDOM and Valley Grown Salads

EDOM signage on packing house in Tomer

After Corporate Watch sent an open letter to Valley Grown Salads (VGS), which has a 20% share in the Israeli company EDOM UK, we were immediately contacted by Jimmy Russo – the company’s director who is also the chairman of EDOM. Claiming that we had got our facts wrong, he was eager to dispute our claim that EDOM had been seen packing vegetables in the illegal settlement of Tomer in the Jordan Valley. Expressing concern that his company could become a ‘target’ as a result of any settlement connections, he emphasised that VGS would not trade with growers who used child labour or breached labour regulations and indicated that EDOM and VGS would not trade with the settlements in the future. Through written correspondence and a number of phone calls we have since attempted to get to the truth about EDOM’s business in the settlements and inside Israel, asking Russo to explain the various pieces of evidence that point to exports from Tomer. Continue reading

Further information about EDOM UK: signs of more mislabelling

Plaque from Valley Grown Salads and Glinwell to Edom Uk office in the Arava.

After finding a packinghouse bearing  Edom UK signage  inside the settlement of Tomer in the Jordan Valley a few weeks ago, we decided to look more closely into this joint Israeli and British company and their exports.

As mentioned in the previous report, the British company Valley Grown Salads own 20% of the shares in Edom UK, and since then we have found out that another British company, Glinwell PLC, own another 20%. 30% is owned by a company called Chosen Agricultural Products, which consists of farmers from Moshavs in the Arava region, and a further 30% by a company called Magnolia UK holdings. Continue reading