Swiss food giant Migros to differentiate between products made in Israel and made in Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine. (Photo: Keystone)
Following decisions by South Africa and Denmark over the past month to re-label items originating from the occupied Palestinian territories, today a major Swiss retailer announced it will also axe the “made in Israel” tags. Citing consumer choice, Migros, Switzerland’s largest supermarket chain, will begin changing the labels on produce, herbs and Soda Stream machines next year. Products from settlements will be identified as either “made in the West Bank, Israeli settlement area” or “made in East Jerusalem, Israeli settlement area.”
Yet the Swiss company was careful to stipulate the move is not an endorsement of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), as settlement products will remain on the grocery store’s shelves.
“We are against the boycotts and are neutral,” said Migros spokesperson Monika Weibel in a French report by Iran’s IRIB World Service Radio Francophone. Continuing, “While we took this decision, it is only to give the consumer a free choice whether or not to buy products from these settlements.”
And although the Swiss-Israel chamber of commerce (La Chambre de commerce Suisse-Israël) decried the decision as a call to boycott in “a disguised call to boycott,” RIB World Service reported Peter Leuenberger from the Swiss-Palestine Association says the decision is not far-reaching enough. “The recognition of international law is an important sign,” but Leuenberger continued, “these products are illegal, it would be the responsibility of the businesses not to sell them.”