A Central London branch of Sainsbury’s, Britain’s third largest supermarket chain, removed UK-made kosher goods from their shelves this weekend in an apparent stand with ‘Free Gaza’ protesters.
While the central Twitter account of the national chain denied that it was a protest, customers visiting the store have reported that staff claimed that the goods were being removed to coincide with anti-Israel protests.
One Facebooker, Colin Appleby, claimed:
Just popped into Sainsbury’s at Holborn and this is the content of their kosher section. I repeat this is their Kosher section. It contained produce made in the UK, Poland, and Israel. When I asked a member of staff what had happened they replied “We support Free Gaza”. I didn’t try to point out that kosher goods were not Israeli goods but they walked away.
The chain’s Twitter account replied to angry customers, stating:
“Hi, the decision was taken to move these products to chilled storage elsewhere in the store for a short period on Saturday, as a precautionary measure during an ongoing demonstration close to the store returned to shelf as soon as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience caused”.
The news comes shortly after a report about anti-Israel protesters trashing a Tesco store in Birmingham. Tesco is the largest supermarket chain in Britain by market share and was founded by Jack Cohen, the son of Jewish immigrants, in 1919.
The Mail reports that “Up to 100 demonstrators who ‘wreaked havoc’ in a Tesco store and attacked police officers in an apparent protest against its stocking of Israeli food are being sought by police.
“As the protest escalated, some demonstrators entered the premises and started hurling produce around and ‘getting aggressive’ – leaving both staff and shoppers traumatised.”
Protests against Israeli goods in Birmingham have been supported by the local Member of Parliament Shabana Mahmood, who was one of the first female, Muslim MPs.