Monday, June 8, 2009

Trader Joe's Under Leftist Assault Over Israel

I received this message from a colleague alerting me to the fact that Trader Joe's, a well-known market for imported foods and wines, is now under pressure to stop selling products made in Israel (like Israeli cous cous, for example). This effort is being launched by South Bay Mobilization, a leftist, activist anti-Israel bunch in San Jose, California. In addition to its letter to Trader Joe's asking them not to sell Israeli products, this bunch is asking its members to actually go into local Trader Joe's stores on June 20, which if you did not know, is "World Refugee Day" and "Day to de-shelve Israeli products". It appears they will do what French activists have been doing, filling their shopping carts with Israeli products (with great fanfare) then leaving them in the aisle. Neat, huh? Basically, they conduct themselves like vandals.

There is a letter below written by the Jewish advocacy group, Stand With Us that you can send Trader Joe's if you wish to counter the correspondence sent by SBM. At any rate, you might consider buying some Israeli products next time you go to Trader Joe's. I know I will.

Dear Friends,

I have received some excellent ideas about how to approach the South Bay Mobilization's call for TJ's to boycott Israeli products. Here are some practical suggestions from two correspondents:

1) "I would suggest calling Trader Joe's, getting a contact and sending them that YouTube. What occurred in France is bound to be illegal because it jeopardizes Traders Joe's inventory and borders on vandalism. I would also encourage as many of us-Israel supporters to go into Trader Joes throughout the day [on June 20th] and if we have t-shirts that are supportive of Israel-wear them, go in there and BUY what they sell from Israel (I know they have goat cheese and frozen herbs ). Also, ask for Israeli wines (I hope they may soon stock them)."

2) "I suggest a counter letter writing campaign to Trader Joe's in support of continued selling of Israeli goods. In the letter, we would refute the bogus arguments. Other points could be that Trader Joe's has alot of Jewish customers who greatly appreciate the large number of kosher products. All products from Israel are kosher ( to the best of my knowledge) and boycotting Israeli products is not anti-Israeli but rather anti-Jewish."

If you should want to contact TJ's corporate headquarters, here is their info (I think the email addresses are correct, but I'm not sure):

Don Bane, Chairman and CEO (
Doug Rauch, President (
Charles J. Pilliter, SVP Operations (
Trader Joe’s Main Headquarters
800 S. Shamrock Ave.
Monrovia , CA 91016
phone: 626-599-3700 (customer service is extension 3035)
fax: 626-301-4431

Below is an open letter to Trader Joe's that Stand With Us posted today on its website.

Filed under Israel, Boycott on 6/7/2009.

We have just read a copy of the letter that you are about to receive from the South Bay Mobilization group, which encourages you to isolate Israel and punish it for the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, you are the new target of anti-Israel activist groups, who continue a propaganda campaign against Israel and distort facts to persuade merchants and others to boycott Israel. Such policies echo those that Arab countries have had since well before Israel's rebirth in 1948, and they also encourage and strengthen extremists who continue to undermine the peace process.

We note that the letter is a one-sided and self-serving view of the conflict. For example, there is nothing that describes the relentless terrorism coming from the variety of radical Palestinian groups surrounding Israel, including Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah, and fundamentalist groups like Islamic Jihad. We notice that their letter does not refer to Hamas, whose founding document calls for the murder of Jews and the destruction of Israel and which has caused the major problems for those who dream of peace in the region.

Also not mentioned in the letter, is the fact that Israel is only the size of New Jersey, and the terrorist groups surround it and continue to launch rockets from Gaza into Israel while calling for the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish people (check their founding documents, you can find them online).

What is mentioned in their letter is historically inaccurate, including issues about "stealing Palestinian land" and the building of the "segregation wall." It’s important to note that Jews have been in the region for over 3,000 years – all the archeology points to this fact – and the Palestinian Arabs never had a country in the region. While there are Palestinians who dream of peace and a better life for their children, the Palestinian leadership has never agreed to compromises that would have created two states, and they have tried to destroy Israel instead. Simply put, any negotiations that Israel has with the Palestinians will result in the creation of a new Palestinian/Arab state, not a reconstitution of a former entity. It is also important to note that the "segregation wall" is simply a security fence, which was built in response to the campaign of suicide bombings and terrorism launched by Palestinian leadership in 2000. The fence has helped reduce suicide bombings by almost 100 percent.

While Israel certainly is not perfect, no amount of propaganda can convince well-informed people that Israel is arbitrarily attacking its neighbors for sport.

We have always loved shopping at Trader Joes because you clearly have not allowed yourselves to be censored by political prejudice but rather offer an array of products that reflect the various tastes of your patrons. We salute you for standing clear of political pressure and maintaining your integrity and neutrality.

Thank you,

The Board and Staff of StandWithUs


Dusty said...

I particularly like the Israeli Gates of Eden feta cheese- just the right combination of tangy and salty.
Try sauteeing onions, then add sun dried tomatoes, and finally, the gates of Eden feta cut into chunks.
Serve it over penne pasta- its a nice change from marinara sauce.Its quick, easy, and good. You could also add artichoke hearts. Trader Joes has them frozen.

Oops. This isn't a recipe blog. Please excuse me.

Lets turn June 20 into "Support Democracy. Buy Israeli" day.

Anonymous said...

Oh, how charming. They even have their own facebook page. You'll forgive me please if I don't link to it.

"Don't Buy Into Apartheid!"


"We know stores in your area are carrying Israeli products. We are here to support you to ask these stores not to carry Israeli products. If they will not deshelve Israeli products, and voluntarily cleanse their shelves of products that support occupation and apartheid, we are here to provide resources for you to create disencentives for stores to stock Israeli products. If you do so, you will be part of a growing international movement that has demanded that their local stores stop carrying products made in Israel, in campaigns that are raging from Ireland and Wales to France and Pittsburgh, PA U.S.A. and beyond...

We are planning a kick-off action: Saturday, June 20th--World Refugee Day. We invite you to organize in your community and deshelve, sticker, boycott, and protest the presence of Israeli products until Israel complies with international law and human rights standards!"

And its organized by the Bay area's very own Kate Raphael. yes, Kate Raphael from Queers for Palestine (isn't that like turkeys for Thanksgiving?) Kate "pouring water into someone's computer is non-violent resistence" Rafael.

They even have stickers to put on Israeli products. I wonder if they realize that vandalizing consumer goods violates a federal law and is punishable by up to 3 years in prison?

Anonymous said...

I live in Ohio and there is a Trader Joe's near Cincinnati. Is this boycott just for California or at all TJ stores?

Unknown said...

YES! I LOVE ISRAEL! While I may have a biased view I can nonetheless tell you that the feta cheese from Israel that I find at Trader Joe's is AMAZINGLY good. Its the best Feta anywhere. You will love it!

Gary Fouse said...


I don't know the answer because the outfit is based in san jose.

Anonymous said...

I live in Seattle and I wonder which TJ will be hit June 20th. Maybe Queen Anne or the U District. I want to be there to defend TJ's, Israel, and of course to take pictures.

Unknown said...

On June 18-29 we should buy out all products made in Israel and on June 20 Trader Joe's should proudly declare sorry we are out of these products due to such high demand!


AMRILUSAGUY said... is no longer with the company

Anonymous said...

What a pathetic bunch of loosers who either blow themselves and innocent civilians up or attack supermarkets to de-shelve feta cheese and hummus!!!
Instead of all these vicious and disgusting attempts, why don't all these people create a coalition that will send money to pay for schools and hospitals (and NOT ARMS) in Palestine. Ask all the oil rich Arab countries to help their own brothers and sisters by giving them land and refuge and leave our "babaghanoosh" alone...

Anonymous said...

Yes, I like the Feta Cheese. I am looking to see what else they sell from Israel. I once bought 4 packages of the Israeli feta- it was the entire stock of the feta that day. This group must be stupid(duh) to pick TJs- since they do not have a lot of Israeli products. I guess they don't want to deal with the regular supermarkets since Safeway or Giant or Shoprite would first have their largish security guards push these people out and then call the police.

Anonymous said...

Saturday, June 20th is National Day to Deshelve Israeli Products

So let's buy all the products before they can be deshelved (and help stimulate the economy)!

For Observant Jews: Buy as many Israel products as possible on Friday before the Sabbath.

According to blogger Bluetruth, one of the retailers targeted in this campaign is Trader Joe’s, which carries many Israeli-made products. Trader
Joe’s has resisted the call to change its policies, and so the boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) guys have called for a “de-shelving” of Trader Joe’s from Israeli products this Saturday, June 20. This creates an opportunity for friends of Israel to express their support while also shopping for groceries.


Anonymous said...

I called and they said they have no intention of pulling those products!

Anonymous said...

Even in Northern California, where this action originated, the "Day of rage against israeli couscous" was a complete flop!
The Rockridge trader Joes, in an upscale part of Oakland, reported a half dozen protestors distributing leaflets- they left when they heard that all Israeli products had been sold out the day before!
They moved on to the Lakeshore trader Joes, and were met by a pro-Israel group. They turned tail and left.

This was a beautiful example how the entire Jewish community was able to pull together in unity. bloggers from all over the country have written about this. We should use this as an example of how well we work when we cooperate with each other- and we should use this as an inspiration for future actions.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it the Seattle stores are being targetted next. Be aware.....