The Zionist Central Council of Greater Manchester are pleased to support We Beleive In Israel's campaign to get the new Co-op Chair to drop their anti-Israel boycott
I am sure you will have seen the extensive media coverage of the crisis afflicting the Co-op Group. Following the rescue of the Co-op Bank by private investors and the personal scandal about the Bank’s former Chairman Rev Paul Flowers, Co-op Group Chairman Len Wardle has resigned. He has been replaced by Ursula Lidbetter. Before resigning he set in place a major review of how the Co-op Group is run.
This presents us with an opportunity to re-open the question of the Co-op’s boycott of four Israeli companies. The boycott policy was decided by a Group Board which included the now discredited Rev Flowers. Given the Board’s flawed judgement calls on the Bank (a decision to merge with the Britannia Building Society meant that the Co-op Bank inherited loss-making loans that brought it near to collapse) its other decisions ought to be questioned. The Group Board’s decision on the boycott was in part an attempt to appease pressure from extremist anti-Israel activists, without consulting the wider Co-op customer membership. This isn’t a sensible way for a major company to take decisions and we would hope the governance review will tackle this aspect of their decision-making.
Please can you write a hard-copy letter to the new Chair at this address?
Chair, Co-Op Group
1 Angel Square
Please use your own words and state if you are a Co-op member or customer. Points you should make in the letter are:
· The Co-op Group’s boycott of four Israeli companies was a product of their old, discredited decision-making process and should therefore be reviewed as part of that wider review process. There is no evidence that the boycott was supported by ordinary Co-op customer members.
· The situation in the Middle East has changed since the boycott was introduced. In the context of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks a boycott of one side is particularly inappropriate.
· Boycotts of Israeli companies and produce are divisive, working against peace, demonising one side and giving comfort to those who promote continuing conflict and violence.
· The Co-op policy has alienated many current and potential customers who feel an affinity with Israel.
· By focussing on the question of a territorial dispute, the Co-op’s policy unfairly singles out the only democracy in the Middle East for censure and confrontation while giving a free pass to surrounding undemocratic regimes which commit repeated and extreme human rights abuses.
· The Co-op could play a more positive role by working with the Israeli and Palestinian co-op movements to foster economic engagement and joint projects that build confidence and trust between the two peoples.