The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is here, and anti-Israel organizations are using it for their campaign against Israeli products, urging Muslims to boycott dates grown in the Jewish state. The fruit is considered an important component in breaking the daily fast, and the consumption of dates rises significantly in the Arab and Muslim world this month.
Calls to boycott the Israeli fruit came from pro-Palestinian organizations in Europe and received a stage in Arab and Iranian media. The Friends of al-Aqsa organization in Britain published an announcement urging Muslims in Europe not to buy dates grown in Israel.
According to the organization, these dates come from settlements in the Jordan Valley and should therefore not be consumed. "By consuming these dates, you are helping the settlers steal land," a statement quoted by the Iranian news agency IRNA said.
The statement also negated the Israeli claim that a boycott on its dates would affect Palestinians employed by the date growers. "The Palestinians are employed in exchange for meager wages and do jobs that the settlers don't agree to do," the organization charged.
The Friends of al-Aqsa went so far as to claim that the settlements employ Palestinian children in deplorable conditions, which is why the Israeli dates are ultimately cheaper than dates grown by Palestinian farmers.
The organization claimed that export of Israeli dates from the Jordan Valley to the European Union amounts to some 5,000 tons per year, which generates an income of some $64.5 million per year.
It should be noted that similar statements were published not only in Britain, but also in other European countries such as Belgium, France and Holland.
The Israel Fruit Growers Association has yet to respond to the report.
Doron Peskin is head of research at Info-Prod Research (Middle East) Ltd.
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