For a third consecutive year Philly BDS, in collaboration with American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and other BDS groups around the country, has held its annual boycott of Israeli dates during the month of Ramadan. And this year Philly BDS has successfully mobilized different businesses across Philadelphia to formally pledge not to serve nor buy Israeli date products that are in direct violation of international law.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims typically break their daylong fasts by eating dates, as they are one of the largest consumer groups of dates in the United States. The USDA valued Israeli imports of dates at $51 million, according to a 2011 World Bank report. They’re grown on farms located in the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea area, regions in the West Bank, which are under Israeli occupation. The posh land that historically belonged to Palestinians now houses illegal Israeli settlements with apartheid-like transit and housing infrastructure, in direct violation of international law and has been condemned by the vast majority of the international community. Not only are these farms illegal, but also they employ Palestinian children who are forced to work under harsh conditions with little to no job security. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics has said that nearly 7,000 Palestinian children, ages 5-7 years old, worked in settlements in 2008.
American Muslims for Palestine has called for a boycott of Jordan River, Jordan River Bio-Tops, King Solomon brands and any dates bearing the logos from distributors Hadiklaim or Mehadrin. Instead of buying dates grown in Israeli settlements, AMP encourages people to “buy American,” and offers links to date farms in the Bard Valley in California.
In previous years over 1,000 pamphlets describing the date boycott have been distributed across Philadelphia, including over 6 local mosques that have multi-ethnic congregations, including Arab, South Asian, European and African descent. This year interest has piqued and continues to grow, especially given the vitriol the BDS movement has unfairly received. This Ramadan, not only have mosques been approached, but also grocery stores and businesses. Over 30 local Philadelphia businesses were approached to make sure none of them sold or served these illegal Israeli dates.
To read more about the date boycott, click here.