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Voices

Is there any truth in the Woolies anti-Israel rumour?

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Joane Frank

This naturally upset me and I called the Woolworths loyalty card department to ask them what their records reflect that I spend. 

I didn’t hear the name of the person who took my call, but he happily stated that my average spend is some R8 000 per year. This was then the amount, I informed him, that I will no longer be spending. 

I stated that I have been shopping at Woolworths for over 30 years and if it is indeed true that Woolworths will no longer stock Israeli goods, then I will return my loyalty card and never set foot in the store again. 

Now I may not have the conversation word perfect because I wasn’t taking notes, but the following was clear: the Woolworths man on the phone spoke with knowledge of the issue and responded that Israeli goods only made up about one per cent of Woolworths stock and that Woolworths was considering its position. Considering the position?  

Does this mean that Woolworths is just contemplating not stocking Israeli goods? And why? My daughter called the Woolworths Customer Service line to be told that the issue was “under review” which infers a decision has already been taken or that they are indeed contemplating such a decision. 

Following my inquiries to the Chevrah Kadisha, Tania at the Chev called me back to say she had spoken to a Woolworths “PR” at the head office who said this was all just a rumour.

Well was it? As ChaiFM had broadcast the news, I assumed this wasn’t just a rumour and requested their comment.  

Kathy Kaler responded that she spoke to the head of Woolworths marketing who put her on to the Woolworths media liaison who confirmed that in fact Woolworths would no longer be stocking produce from Israel and that they might overturn this (decision) when they saw the reaction from the community, but as it stood,, there was no Israeli products in their stores.

I’m still not shopping at Woolworths anymore until I hear the company’s satisfactory stance on the matter, especially in view of the overt hostilities being expressed towards the Jewish community during this latest Israeli ordeal. 

Whether we hear it as crude threats or masterful public relations, we should take care to understand the underlying sentiment.

There are a growing number of distressing anecdotes about local commercial entities who are now refusing to sell or give services to Jews. Could the Jewish Report encourage members of the community to report these incidents for publication so that the safety implications could register on the communal scale? 

This would also help give the lie to the “We’re-not-anti-Semitic, we’re-only-anti-Israel” agenda.

 

Killarney, Johannesburg

 

We are following up this rumour and will keep our readers up-to-date. – Editor

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