Councillor
Peter J. Martin
transparency, accountability and effective representation

Donaghadee - Councillor Peter J. Martin

DUP representatives call for the end of The Co–operatives Israeli boycott

Wednesday 10th July 2013

Today DUP public representatives presented a petition to the Co–op asking them to lift their year long boycott of four Israeli companies. The petition is not calling for a boycott of the Co–op but rather simply asks that this business considers lifting its targeted ban and engaging in greater trade with Israeli companies. We believe that sanctions on these companies not only damages trade in Northern Ireland but also the livelihoods of the workers in the boycotted country.

Joint DUP Press Release Cllr Peter Martin and Cllr Peter Weir MLA 

Today DUP public representatives presented a petition to the Co–op asking them to lift their year long boycott of four Israeli companies. The petition is not calling for a boycott of the Co–op but rather simply asks that this business considers lifting its targeted ban and engaging in greater trade with Israeli companies. We believe that sanctions on these companies not only damages trade in Northern Ireland but also the livelihoods of the workers in the boycotted country. We recognise the Co–ops solid record on its promotion of Fair–trade goods and believe that this business was pressured into this decision over the last few years ago by small but very vocal anti–Israeli groups. Yet it remains difficult to understand how the Co–op continues to trade with countries in the region who have extremely poor human rights records whilst boycotting Israeli businesses; Israel is, of course, the only recognised liberal democracy in the whole of the Middle East.” 

Cllr Peter Martin 

‘I recognise the valuable role the Co–op plays in our economy in Northern Ireland providing both jobs for their employees and excellent products. I am a member of the Co–op and our family shops regularly in our local store. I was therefore disappointed that the Co–op decided not to accept this petition from local public representatives at our local store. I believe that by continuing this divisive boycott it will only further hurt the livelihoods of people working in the West Bank by pressurising these businesses to relocate away from that area, where they currently provide job security for many Palestinian employees.’

Peter Weir MLA 

‘The Co–op plays a vital role in both our local economy and within our local community. We want to see it flourish. It has a fine tradition of social responsibility, which it is why it is so sad to see them single out this small number of firms and discriminate against them. The real people suffering are the workers of these companies in Israel, who are bearing the brunt from an ill judged and ill directed campaign. We are simply asking the Co–op movement to think again.’ 

Alex Easton MLA 

‘The Co–op supports our economy locally in Northern Ireland and provides jobs and financial security for many families, that is why we want to see it thrive. But equally it must also be cognisant of the many people who support it by buying Co–op goods and also wish to see this very negative boycott lifted. We are calling for the Co–ops senior management to rethink this decision and reinstate trade with all Israeli businesses.’ 

Steven Jaffe [Northern Ireland Friends of Israel Co–Chair] 

‘I very much welcome this petition, one of three petitions presented in Northern Ireland in the past fortnight, signed by almost 600 people. As a member of the Jewish community in the UK, the singling out of Israeli companies for boycotts is particularly disturbing. Given the Co–op’s relations with Israeli and Palestinian co–operators it is in a strong position to act positively to bring them together. Instead, its boycotting policies acts negatively to drive a wedge between them’

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