Italian chains boycotting Israeli company’s produce


ROME (JTA) — Two leading Italian supermarket chains will stop importing and selling produce from an Israeli company located in the West Bank.

The decision by Coop and Nordiconad to stop importing fruits and vegetables from the Agrexco company, Israel’s main exporter of produce, follows months of pressure from pro-Palestinian groups.

It was announced Tuesday on an Italian Web site called "Stop Agrexco," which was created last year to promote the boycott of food products from West Bank settlements. 

Coop, which has branches throughout Italy, issued a statement saying that it was not boycotting Israeli products in general, but that it had made the decision to boycott  Agrexco products because the origin of each item of produce exported by the company was not clearly marked. This made it more difficult for customers who wanted to boycott produce from West Bank settlements.

The problem, said the Coop statement, was "traceability, namely that the consumer is unable to verify whether or not the product in question comes from the occupied territories."

The statement said the chain had decided on a "temporary suspension" of imports from Agrexco "until we receive more detailed specifics on the origin" of the products.

In response to the move, Israel supporters in Italy founded a Facebook group called "I will not shop at Coop or Conad." By Tuesday the group had more than 1,100 fans.

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