All this for figs, pretzels & a few pomegranates

  • Woolies - dont mess with us
BDS TELLS 2 BIG LIES: Desai & Kekana of US-based NGO BDS issue hasty media release to save face after getting a double blow from Woolworths’ lawyers. The lads were likely preparing for tomorrow’s WW AGM & so, in spinning THIS issue, the folks who brought us “Shoot the Jew” blew it again. They go beyond the norm of using smoke & mirrors or of being disingenuous, said a lawyer SAJR consulted, “it is an outright obfuscation of the truth,” which is legalese for a pair of big fat lies! Read how WW outwitted BDS. See their prize – an Interdict!
by ANT KATZ | Nov 25, 2014

Ahead of Woolworths’ AGM on Wednesday this week, and the planned protests in 40 of their stores on Saturday, a flurry of activity has been taking place from three sides: Woolworths, the BDS-led protesters and an angry element among SA Jewry.

Highlights of the activity this week include some textbook stuff from Woolworths:

  • Woolies - dont messAntagonistic Woolworths shareholders, including StopTheJNF’s Allan Horwitz, BDS’ Muhammed Desai, Nadia Hassan and Marthie Momberg said they would “take the campaign against the retailer’s sales of Israeli products” into the company’s annual general meeting;
  • Woolworths’ urgent interdict to prohibit in-store demonstrations was granted. “We trust that BDS will respect the decision of the court”, said Paula Disberry, group director: retail operations on Tuesday;
  • Africa for Israel (In Support of Woolworths') petition passed the target 5 800 signature mark on Monday and the organisers “believe that 7 000 is within our reach”, they said; and
  • BDS-SA claimed that the South Gauteng High Court had on Tuesday “provided a court order that Woolworths and BDS South Africa ‘shall meet face to face on or before the 10th of December 2014 in an attempt to settle the entire matter’. In good faith BDS South Africa has undertaken to tone down on certain in-store protest actions”.

Desai, of the US-based NGO Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) South Africa, admitted to the Sunday Times that he had only recently acquired Woolworths shares. “We will put [it] to them that what Woolworths’ management is doing flies in the face of good corporate governance. It is neither good public relations nor good business that they are holding on to the R12 million-a-year [business from Israel],” he said.

The only Israeli products on Woolworths’ shelves are figs, pretzels and pomegranates. But the retailer reiterated that it sourced products from many countries, including in Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia and the Far East. It said that it did not have a relationship with Israel.

“Many of these regions have social and political issues,” said retail operations director Paula Disberry. “We adopt an apolitical approach. We follow our government trade and policy guidelines when sourcing outside South Africa. We only deal with responsible suppliers.”

Business Day reported on Monday that representatives of BDS-SA were expected to fly to Australia to launch a campaign there. Woolworths recently concluded a R21 bil acquisition of David Jones. Just as it has been doing with ANC heavyweights in South Africa, BDS has started lobbying the Australian trade union movement.

Tit-for-tat spat on Tuesday

Woolworths’ Disberry had issued a media release early Tuesday headed “Urgent interdict granted, to protect Woolworths customers and employees” in which she stated quite categorically that “Woolworths welcomes the court decision to protect our customers and employees from unlawful BDS in-store protests.

“The court decision also enforces our right to trade free of threats and intimidation as we approach the peak holiday season. Our staff and customers have felt scared in the face of escalating violence and this ruling offers them some relief,” she said. “Woolworths respects the constitutional rights of protesters to express their views lawfully without infringing the right of others. We trust that BDS will respect the decision of the court.”


At noon on Tuesday, BDS issued a media statement of their own headed: “Court orders that Woolworths must meet with BDS” which was co-signed by Muhammed Desai and Kwara Kekana. BDS states the following: “Today the South Gauteng High Court provided a court order that Woolworths and BDS-SA ‘shall meet face to face on or before 10 December in an attempt to settle the entire matter’. This is seen as a positive development as to date, the management of Woolworths refused to meet with BDS”, said BDS.

In their second paragraph, they state that: “In good faith BDS-SA has undertaken to tone down on certain in-store protest actions”.

In response to an enquiry about the discrepancies in the statements, Woolworths told Jewish Report unequivocally on Tuesday afternoon that they had been granted their court Interdict. “Separately”, said the Woolworths spokesman, “there is a party-to-party agreement to meet by December 10. (This is not a part of the court order)” say Woolworths.

It seems that BDS’ “in good faith” statement is purely “a face-saving exercise” a well-known lawyer who asked not to be named told Jewish Report. “In the light of the fact that they have been Interdicted from going into the stores to protest, they would be in contempt of court if they did.”

Furthermore, said the lawyer, “a party-to-party agreement is a far cry from an order of court”. This goes beyond the norm of using smoke and mirrors or of being disingenuous”, she said, “it is an outright *obfuscation of the truth!”

Of petitions and shares

Both BDS and Zionists have issued petitions and bought shares to attend Woolworths’ AGM meeting tomorrow. The Jewish Report will have a photographer on the ground and will report on the protest.

An organisation sprung up called “Africa for Israel (In Support of Woolworths)” which set up a pro-Israeli petitionby Monday night had 5 800 signatures. SAJR Online users can still sign the petition and refer their friends too. It's easy to share on Facebook - just click here to share the petition on Facebook.

Woolies - dontOr, if you simply want to sign and scram – CLICK HERE. It is literally an e-mail address and it’s done. There's no excuse not to. Their target is 7 000.

Right now (Tuesday 6pm) it stands at 6 214 and, they say, they “believe that 7 000 is within our reach”.

Both Jewish and anti-Israeli activists have been rushing to buy Woolworths shares so they can attend the AGM.

BDS say they have also obtained a few proxies from shareholders sympathetic to their cause. “We will be in attendance too to put across our position and would like to encourage and shareholders to do the same,” said BDS yesterday.

Allan Horwitz (of Cape Town, not Johannesburg) who founded the BDS-affiliated StopTheJNF, considers himself a Jewish human-rights activist who represents a handful of Jewish Woolworths shareholders. He said BDS supported the campaign because of human-rights violations as recognised by the UN. The campaign was about Israel denying Palestinians political rights, he said..

“The support by the Jewish investors will lend credibility to the fact that the campaign is not anti-Semitic. We have been receiving threatening calls about us supporting the destruction of Israel. All sorts of insulting names such as self-hating Jews and Nazis have been hurled at us,” said Horwitz.

Last week BDS organised a meeting of the media and Woolworth shareholders who supported them. Only three shareholders and a handful of reporters turned up.

Asked by the Sunday Times to verify the three shareholders who had come forward to support the campaign, Disberry said: “It appears from media reports that the meeting was held by the BDS and their affiliates, including a few Woolworths shareholders... We listen to the views of all stakeholders and action what we can.

“We do not exclude any shareholders from attending our AGM,” she said.

Follow SAJR Online for this continuing story. SAPAC Chairman David Hersch and his camera will be there and we hope to have pictures posted from the demonstration in time for both the newspaper and the website.

*Legalese for an outright lie!


  1. 3 nat cheiman 27 Nov
    That halfwit Desai doesn't understand that he and his fellow morons of BDS are under constraint by virtue of a court order obtained by Woolies against BDS and that he and his moronic comrades could face a contempt of court proceeding if they breach the order.
    The strange thing is that Desai and his fellow muslims are aware of South African muslims on jihad in Syria and Iraq. Desai thinks there is nothing wrong with that (beheadings and rapes and killing of Christians). But, by golly, if Woolies sells vegies from Israel, that is a breach of human rights. Desai and his pals are obviously in need of a decent education. They must also realize that decent South Africans see right through the mask of purported human rights. Most people also are sick and tired of reading about radical islamists in the UK , Germany and France that commit horrific acts of terror in the name of Islam. People do not regard Islam as a peaceful religion.
    To my mind, Desai could well be on drugs if he believes that human rights violations start and end with Woolworths. Look at at your own religion and people and then tell me who commits human rights violations.
    The man is totally demented .  
  2. 2 Jonno 28 Nov
    Perhaps the BDS would attend the AGM of Arab companies based in Dubia who abuse their workers and commit terrible crimes against foreign workers

    Ending removed for legal reasons  -ED
  3. 1 Denis Solomons 09 Dec
    interestingly enough Israelis regard pomegranates and pomegrate juice as a fertility food ! I am not aware of any studies comparing pomegranate juice with clomid or clomophene citrate !
    It  would make an interesting double-blind study .


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