Report accused of unfairly focusing on British kosher stores


LONDON (JTA) — A Dutch company hired to research exports to Britain from West Bank settlements unfairly focuses on kosher stores, a rights group charged.

Fair Play expressed concern Wednesday at the publication of the report by Profundo, which investigated “U.K. economic links with Israeli settlements” for the Sir Joseph Hotung Program for Law, Human Rights and Peace Building in the Middle East. The School of Oriental and African Studies, part of the University of London, commissioned the Dutch firm.

The 61-page report lists companies and financial institutions that have direct or indirect contacts with settlements.

Fair Play says the report “lists the names and addresses of four kosher food retailers in Britain, claiming these shops stock foods that might be produced in the West Bank. Although hundreds of small independent retailers stock these goods, these shops are not included; small kosher shops are disproportionately targeted alongside the major supermarkets.”

The report is not limited to companies based in the settlements. It also includes details of financial institutions that either hold or deal in State of Israel Bonds, which the report says might in some indirect way help finance Israel’s activities in the settlements.

“We are not sure why SOAS paid a Dutch company to write this sinister and misleading report," said Jon Benjamin, CEO of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the representative body of Jews in the United Kingdom. "It is, in effect, a handbook for boycotting Israeli and Jewish companies. Kosher shops are disproportionately targeted by the report.”

Jeremy Newmark, CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council, added that “Support for boycotting some Israeli goods has seamlessly become an attack on Jewish companies and individuals here in Britain. We warned the government that promoting sanctions against ‘settlement goods’ would encourage those pressing for a full boycott of Israel. This development confirms our fears.”


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