• Switzerland's news in English
 

Migros to label goods from Israeli settlements

Published: 31 May 2012 10:47 GMT+02:00
Updated: 31 May 2012 09:53 GMT+02:00

Swiss supermarket chain Migros has announced that it will begin adding special labels to any products that come from "Occupied Palestinian Territories".

The announcement followed a meeting that took place last Friday between the leadership of the Migros supermarket chain and representatives of the pro-Palestinian organization, BDS Switzerland, BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) said in a statement.

At the meeting, BDS said it presented the supermarket executives with information concerning the human rights abuses allegedly committed by Israel in relation to the Palestinian people in Israel.

BDS has long campaigned for Swiss supermarket chains to stop stocking products from Israel completely. Citing the success of the South African anti-apartheid boycott, the organization argued that such bans would finally force Israel to recognize Palestinian rights and to stop perpetrating humanitarian and human rights abuses.

BDS maintains that there is an apartheid policy in place in the occupied territories that only benefits Israeli companies and exploits the Palestinian workers.

Migros has stated that the decision to label its packaging differently does not indicate its support of the pro-Palestinian movement, but rather speaks for a “greater transparency” and to an alignment with Swiss and UN condemnation of the occupation, the European Jewish Press reported.

Monika Weibel, a spokeswoman for the supermarket chain told the European Jewish Press that Migros wants “to let customers decide which products they want to buy”.

Consequently, products coming from the settlements, which were previously simply marked as “Made in Israel” will now be described as “Made in Occupied Palestinian Territories”.

South Africa has recently also adopted the distinction in product descriptions, prompting outrage from the Israeli foreign ministry. Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson has argued that similar distinctions are not made when labelling products coming from other disputed territories such as the Falklands, Kashmir and Northern Cyprus.

He also claimed the South African move “verged on racism”, and suggested, given the country’s own experience of apartheid, that it “should know better”.

According to BDS, executives from Migros' rival Coop have refused to meet with the organization, despite two requests to do so.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

2012-06-09 19:04:56 by J.J. Surbeck
JoeKreps is correct. Migros will come to regret taking this decision when they realize that they have been lied to and manipulated by the pro-Palestinian crowd. They're going to end up with eggs all over their faces. As for all the naive supporters of the BDS movement, their hearts may be in the right place, but they, too, are naive simpletons who are manipulated into believing that Israel is the bad guy, when it is the Palestinians who are constantly on the attack while rejecting all Israeli peace offers. As for "Palestine", Migros should have shown due diligence in researching whether there is such a State. They would have discovered that it doesn't exist as of yet, and therefore their labels are going to cover them with ridicule. Let's hope they wake up in time and change course before they become an international laughing stock.
2012-06-09 18:54:01 by J.J. Surbeck
JoeKreps is correct. Migros will come to regret taking this decision when they realize that they have been lied to and manipulated by the pro-Palestinian crowd. They're going to end up with eggs all over their faces. As for all the naive supporters of the BDS movement, their hearts may be in the right place, but they, too, are naive simpletons who are manipulated into believing that Israel is the bad guy, when it is the Palestinians who are constantly on the attack while rejecting all Israeli peace offers. As for "Palestine", Migros should have shown due diligence in researching whether there is such a State. They would have discovered that it doesn't exist as of yet, and therefore their labels are going to cover them with ridicule. Let's hope they wake up in time and change course before they become an international laughing stock.
2012-06-08 16:35:04 by JoeKrepps
Sadly, there is nothing (in this story) that indicates Migros researched BDS' claims. The State of Israel has existed since 1948 and as a country for thousands of years but NOW they're guilty of alleged "human rights abuses"? Where is it reported that Migros spoke to representatives of Israel? The perception of Switzerland is that it is neutral - where was the neutrality in this decision? Will Migros similarly label goods made in USA with "Occupied British Colonies"? Perhaps "Occupied Native American Indian"? Wouldn't that be fair? I pity the Migros manager who must decide the politically correct origins of goods made in Alsace-Lorraine! My compliments to Coop.
2012-05-31 14:48:42 by smeghead
Good job, people should know then they can decide for them self's.
Today's headlines
Pigs gassed to death from own excrement
Pigs at operation in question that animal group alleges shows mistreatment. Photo: VgT

Pigs gassed to death from own excrement

A total of 135 pigs died from gas produced from their own excrement on a farm in the canton of Aargau, a TV report has revealed. READ  

Med migrant death toll 'rises above 2,000'

More than 2,000 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe this year, data released in Geneva showed on Tuesday, bearing testimony to migrants' increasingly desperate attempts to reach the continent. READ  

Bid to move Picasso art to Switzerland foiled
Photo: AFP

Bid to move Picasso art to Switzerland foiled

French authorities say they have prevented a Picasso painting worth €25 million ($27.4 million) and considered a cultural treasure by Spanish authorities from being exported to Switzerland. READ  

Customs nabs suitcases of ivory at Zurich airport
Photo: Federal Customs Administration

Customs nabs suitcases of ivory at Zurich airport

A large haul of ivory, worth more than $400,000 on the black market, was seized at Zurich airport last month on its way from Tanzania to China, the Federal Customs Administration said on Tuesday. READ  

Mia and Noah top Swiss list for names of newborn
Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Mia and Noah top Swiss list for names of newborn

Mia and Noah remained the most popular names for newborn children in Switzerland last year, according to a report issued from Bern on Tuesday. READ  

Expat's time in Zurich inspires racy novel
From the book cover of Hausfrau (detail). The author tells The Local how her Swiss experience inspired the much talked about novel. Photo: Penguin Randon House

Expat's time in Zurich inspires racy novel

Zurich’s high standard of living makes it a popular destination for expats, but linguistic and cultural hurdles can make for a lonely and alienating existence for trailing spouses, as depicted in Jill Alexander Essbaum’s erotically-charged novel Hausfrau. READ  

Fire risk prompts recall of e-bike batteries
Photo: KTM Bike Industries

Fire risk prompts recall of e-bike batteries

The Swiss federal roads office (Astra) has announced the recall of electric bike batteries because of a risk that they can catch fire. READ  

Falling tree kills cyclist in Lucerne forest tragedy
Photo: Lucerne cantonal police

Falling tree kills cyclist in Lucerne forest tragedy

A 26-year-old man was killed after being struck by a falling tree while cycling in a wooded area of the canton of Lucerne, police said on Monday. READ  

Ex-UBS trader jailed in UK for Libor rigging
Former UBS trader Tom Hayes. Photo: Leon Neal/AFP

Ex-UBS trader jailed in UK for Libor rigging

A trader who worked for UBS and Citigroup on Monday became the first person to be convicted in Britain of rigging the Libor inter-bank lending rate. READ  

Huge blaze breaks out in Thurgau warehouse
Photo: TVO Online

Huge blaze breaks out in Thurgau warehouse

More than 100 firefighters tackled a fire at a storage depot in Horn, in the canton of Thurgau, on Monday morning. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Expat American author's time in Zurich inspires racy bestseller
National
10 amazing places to be on Swiss National Day
National
Swiss army pilfers French water to give to thirsty cows
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
National
The Expat Guide: Moving to Switzerland
National
Swiss army airlifts water to thirsty cows
International
Canary Islands: diver killed in collision with Swiss windsurfer
National
VIDEO: Seagull steals camera for amazing bird's eye selfie
Switzerland celebrates first ascent of Matterhorn
Politics
Immigrant recruits may not be loyal: Army chief
Solar Impulse 2 round-the-world flight halted for repairs
Society
Teenager gets high on vegetarian meal at Zurich club
Sponsored Article
Crans-Montana: International expat hub
Sponsored Article
Geneva's revolutionary marketing education
National
Greece seeks tax revenues from assets 'hidden' in Swiss banks
Culture
Paris police arrest Swiss artist for naked Eiffel Tower selfies
National
Scientists uncover largest Swiss dinosaur skeleton ever found
National
National weather office extends danger alerts as heatwave takes hold
National
Most severe heatwave in Switzerland since 2003 on the way
Travel
Bogglingly expensive Geneva club sandwiches remain 'priciest in world'
Politics
Anti-immigration nationalist party remains most popular: poll
National
Greek finance minister slams Swiss over lack of tax evasion info
Business & Money
Insects proposed for sale in Swiss supermarkets next year
National
'Oh God — I'm coming': noisy lovers' complaint goes public
National
Canton of Ticino threatens closing Italy border to asylum seekers
National
Just in case: Swiss National Bank prepares for Grexit 'crisis'
National
Russian crisis fuelled by sanctions threaten 40,000 Swiss jobs: study
National
Art Basel: Art for art's sake — or to make an investment?
National
New survey ranks Zurich Europe's priciest city for expatriates
National
Quarter of residents in Switzerland 'have multiple homes'
Features
Veggie lovers and 'flexitarians' challenge Swiss meat-eating habits
National
Forest officials struggle to save Switzerland's dying ash trees
Education
Historian finds ancient Egyptian papyrus texts in Basel uni library
National
Seven large Swiss employers back 'flexible work' charter
National
Basel police rescue of ducks forces closure of A2 motorway
National
Mother and daughter die as rain storms lash central Switzerland
Sport
'Stan the man' Wawrinka: French Open triumph 'completely crazy'
Culture
Expat's Zurich 'then and now' video shows how little the city has changed
National
Phoney Geneva police officers rob tourists and UN staff
Sport
Blatter's abrupt resignation seen as a 'stunning capitulation'
Features
Cleanup crews head to ski resorts to keep Swiss mountains tidy
Culture
Interlaken museum showcases works by Picasso using Caran d'Ache pencils
National
Low interest rates give tenants right to seek rent reductions in Switzerland
Sport
Switzerland's Blatter fends off critics to win fifth term as Fifa president
National
Agricultural researchers discover why Swiss cheese has holes
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

4,264
jobs available