Woolies rubbish rumours of going Gaza on Israel

  • Woolies logo
Forget the bumph that was spread like a virtual virus on Jewish social media today. Woolworths have come out loudly and proudly apolitical, as always, and have moved to stifle mischievous rumours that they are planning to stop carrying Israeli products. It’s all nonsense, Woolies told SAJR Online today – and they have even posted it on their corporate website to allay any concerns that the community may have. Read the real story. Click the link to their website. Read all about it…
by ANT KATZ | Jul 29, 2014

SA Jewry almost platzed today after all the social media to-ing and fro-ing about Woolworths stopping to import Israeli products went completely viral. Things got so hot, in fact, that the SA Zionist Federation even issued two notices assuring the community that this was not the case.

Sure they have had demands from unions and the EFF to stop carrying Israeli goods, Woolworths’ Corporate Press Office admitted to SAJR. 

“Less than 0.1 per cent of our food is sourced from Israel,” says Woolworths. That’s a far cry from the percentage of their business they do with SA Jewry, although that never factored into their decision. “Woolworths has no political affiliations,” they stated emphatically.

And, as a sign of good faith to the Jewish community, Woolies have posted the following statement on their corporate website:

Woolies logo

'Sourcing from Israel'

“We can confirm that we have not stopped stocking Israeli products in Woolworths stores.

“Woolworths has no political affiliations. We respect our customers’ right to make individual purchasing choices, which is why we clearly label every product’s country of origin and fully comply with government guidelines on product from Israel.

“Less than 0.1% of our food is sourced from Israel,” reads their notice.

Panic set in community

Woolworths confirmed to Jewish Report that their customer support lines were inundated with calls from Jewish customers today – although they have no idea where the rumours started.

So rattled was SA Jewry by the concerns that the SA Zionist Federation issued two statements to their mailing lists and the media today reaffirming Woolworths’ position.

Letter to the editor

SAJR reader Joane Frank submitted the following letter today, Tuesday, which is representative of the numerous enquiries that SAJR received:

This morning my daughter reported to me that she heard the DJ on the Morning Mayhem show of ChaiFM state that Woolworths will no longer be stocking Israeli goods.

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 thirty 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 make up about 1% of Woolworths stock and that Woolworths are considering the position.  Considering the position?

Does this mean that Woolworths are just contemplating not stocking Israeli goods?  And why?  My daughter called the Woolworths Customer Service line to be told that the issue is "under review" which infers a decision was already 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 is all just a rumour.

Well was it?

As ChaiFM had broadcast the news I assumed this wasn't just on 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 will no longer be stocking produce from Israel, and that they may overturn this when they see the reaction from the community but as it stands, there is no Israeli produce in the stores.

I'm still not shopping at Woolworths any more 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.


  1. 186 Gary Selikow 30 Jul
    We need to buy Israeli good whenever we see them and also boycott shops that stop selling them
    This country does not only belong to the pro-Palestine lobby
  2. 185 ChristianAparthidesurvivor 30 Jul
    WE as South Africans know all to well what Oppression really is, WE need to STOP Buying ISRAELI GOODS where ever we see them and BOYCOTT ALL THOSE company's and stores who SUPPORT that Terrorist racist FAKE STATE , THAT country and that LAND Belongs to the people PALESTINIAN ! Both JEWISH , Christian and Muslim Palestinians . NOT those Racist Zionist JEWS giving GOOD Jews a BAD Name!
  3. 184 Faizel Gani 30 Jul
    I nor my family , friends or community will buy from any store who stock Jewish / Israeli produce that has been cultivated on the sweat and back if the Palestinians who have been violated in every regard by the zionusts settlers 
  4. 183 Kim jooma 30 Jul
    What Israel?israel is on stolen land,if goods are imported they should be labeled "product of territory occupied by Israel" south Africa stands for human rights unlike Israel who violates them and calls it self defense against defense less women and children.victory is coming to Palestine very very soon. Phansi apartheid Israel 
  5. 182 Rahilla 30 Jul
    Woolworths you lost the support of so many Muslims. I hope you feel it
  6. 181 AHMED AMLA 30 Jul
    This country fought the filthy apartheid regime and got through it eventually. The government should ban all israeli oppressive goods coming into the country and cancel all deals with their terrorist government. A global boycott is certainly required to show israelis that we will not sit by and watch massacres of children without taking action. Sad about woolworths stance... I definitely wont be buying there ever again. . I stand for peace...not war. 
    As Nelson Mandela said..our freedom cannot be enjoyed until the plight of the palestinians is not resolved.
  7. 180 rashida mohamed 30 Jul
    I visited woolies on sunday and still noticed products frn israel on the shelved and i then decided that i will no longer support woolworths   and i was shocked to speak to most people that i spoke to shared my sentiments
  8. 179 Zunaid 31 Jul
    Anybody with a heart should boycott all Israeli products. To stop them killing innocent people.
  9. 178 Ayesha 31 Jul
    This is not a religious issue, Jewish, Zionist, Muslim or otherwise. This is merely a humanitarian issue, innocent women and children are being murdered because of Israeli armies.

  10. 177 I.Segal 31 Jul
    I certainly would not buy from any shop that deliberately stopped selling Israeli goods
  11. 176 Fatima Bhyat 31 Jul
    How can the good people of South Africa not see the massacre that is going on  in Gaza. Are your hearts so hard, minds so closed that you can no longer see the evil. I will be closing my account. 
  12. 175 Akila 31 Jul
    This has become a major humanatarian issue.   How does Israel justify the killing of innocent children playing in a park.   My message is simple boycot all israeli products. This iswhere they will feel it most  PnP is another store. As we all know its owned by .
  13. 174 Washeelah Kapery 31 Jul
    Boycotting Israeli goods is a humanitarian and economic  issue, not a religious one.  Remember the impact of boycotts and sanctions on the Apartheid state of SA.  I spend more than R 25,000 per annum with Woollies and so do many people I know.  As long as they continue to stock Israeli goods I will be morally obligated to  boycott my favourite store
  14. 173 Bloubul 31 Jul
    sal nooit weer by enige winkels koop wat Israeli produkte aanhou nie. Ek is dalk nie arabiers nie, maar ek het tog 'n sin vir menseregte. Dis hoog tyd dat die wereld wakker word en nie alles glo wat hulle op tv sien nie. Dis nie net Moslems wat Israel dood maak nie, dis Christene ook!!!
  15. 172 arshaad 31 Jul
    we all know that the muslims of south Africa are the biggest buyers and we shop a lot so we will do our utmost best to cripple the jews in this country and if it means taking business away from woolworths,mcdonalds,coke and many other places we will do it for the pain and suffering the Israil bastards are doing to our muslim brother and sisters and kids
  16. 171 mrs asmal 31 Jul
    I loved shopping at woolworths but will not shop there anymore because of the situation in occupied Isreal 
  17. 170 Miriam 31 Jul
    In a time of war for Israel against an implacable enemy,when Israel is burying their young soldiers, is all this ballyhoo necessary????   
  18. 169 Farhana 31 Jul
    R8 000 a year!? You must be joking! I used to spend average R1 000 a WEEK at WOOLIES, that's food alone. Excluding clothing for my entire family of 7, averaging R 3 000 every 3 months or so. That's R 60 000 a year that Woolworths won't be getting from ME anymore . And I am so happy with my decision, Edited - ED
  19. 168 muneeba 31 Jul
    I can't understand why would. It be such a tough decision to boycott illegal isreal. ..if woolies only imports .1% that wouldn't tickle their losses even if the zionest that follow
    I stand firm and think we should boycott woollies totally until their 'review' and 'decision' is final!!!
    Oh and that whole labeling hogwash...yeah
    So not true, once they heard we boycotting woolies they ACTUALLY REMOVED the "made in isreal' stickers that was so visible lol really!!!
  20. 167 Nazmeera 31 Jul
    I will deff nit shop at woolies anymore until all products from Israel are removed from the shelves permanently!


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