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Israel — a fruitless lie

Jaffa oranges are the world-wide variety of citrus grown in many countries. Its origin however wsa in the Jaffa precinct of historic Palestine.

I understand the point of complaining that Jaffa Grapefruit are being sold by Coles Australia under the cover of false labelling.

I realise also that it puts a lie to the claim of ‘Ethical Sourcing’ by Coles (see Coles Ethical Sourcing Supplier Fact Sheet). Especially when its purchase of fruit involves the exploitation of Palestinian people whose land was stolen by deception and by force of arms.

Boycott Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) groups in Australia request that the fruit be labelled ‘Product of Israel’ so that people can choose not to buy those fruit — fair enough.

But to label Jaffa Grapefruit/oranges as a ‘Product of Israel’ contains an historic lie.

The incorrectly labelled Jaffa (in Arabic: يَافَا‎, Yāfā) oranges/grapefruit were the product of Palestine long before Israel existed as a ‘country of origin’.

For example, the Palestinian people of the village Al-Jammasin in the precinct of Jaffa grew citrus for generations before the Zionist settlers came in 19th and 20th centuries.

Long before Israel was mandated as a country, Jaffa oranges were famously exported to Europe and to the U.K. in particular.

The people of Al-Jammasin, like Palestinians elsewhere, were driven from their homes by the Hagannah and Stern terrorist gangs in 1947 before the creation of Israel as a state by the UN in the following year.

So it is fruitless (excuse the pun) to complain to the Coles and government regulators claiming that Jaffa oranges/grapefruit are a ‘Product of Israel’.

Such claims are no more accurate than what Coles is doing at Lawnton in Brisbane when it labels Jaffa Grapefruit of ‘Mixed Origin’ or at Coles Broadway (Sydney) which labels the fruit as “Product of Australia” (see image).

The hypocrisy of such false labelling by retailers is further demonstrated by the Israeli parent company JAFFA’s sourcing at least some of its products in Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine (see the article titled (poorly) COLES labels Israeli grapefruit “Product of Australia”)

Both Israel and Australia are settler states.
Australia like the state of Israel is a lie — just an older one i.e. the name Australia has no meaning for the first nation people here.  The invasion was illegal. Aboriginal land was never bought. It was stolen. No treaty was ever offered. Sovereign lands were taken.

Product of Palestine
Jaffa grapefruit/oranges would have been labelled ‘Product of Palestine’ in the UK and Europe prior to 1947.

I am talking about something as recent as my mother and fathers’ generation. When I was born, their generation did not speak of Israel, they spoke of Palestine. They did so because it was under British mandate.

The Jaffa citrus fruit should be labelled ‘Product of occupied Palestine’.

Of course, Graeme Samuel at the ACCC and Labor Governments that appointed him will never agree to this because it exposes their involvement in perpetuating the lie that is Israel. These governments and their regulators are the beneficiaries of the lie of colonial occupation both here and there.

My point is, that to change this, we will have to do more than write letters about incorrectly labelled fruit.

Ian Curr
15 Feb 2011

8 responses to “Israel — a fruitless lie

  1. Cause of conflict?

    Now thinking about the Israel-Palestine conflict, what do you think the main cause of the conflict?

    Ancient hostility between Jews and Arabs — 37.3 %

    Dispossession of Palestinian people by Jews who migrated to Palestine last century — 27.4%

    Hostility of certain Arab nations towards Israel since its creation in 1948 — 26.7%

    All — 1.4

    Religion — 1.8

    Don’t know/Unsure — 3.2

    Other — 2.2

    Total 1021 people interviewed

    Source – Australian Public Opinion on the Israel-Palestine Conflict by Eulalia Han and Halim Rane

    The paper presents the results of a national survey on the Australian public’s understandings and opinions
    concerning the Israel-Palestine conflict during the week of 10 May 2010.

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  2. The Origin of Oranges?

    I know of no union boycott on Jaffa Grapefruit imported from Israel. Jaffa is a variety that is grown wordwide e.g. Spain, California. However the Jaffa variety of oranges had its origin in Palestine in the 19th century. Fruit is still exported from Palestine by Israeli companies

    BDS and JFP have been asking unions to pass motions in favour of boycotts.

    But, as far as I know, the union campaign has been limited to words and not actions.

    Israeli exporters and importers (i.e. Coles) of their products may be trying to circumvent a boycott by using incorrect ‘country of origin’ labels.

    This is a union issue. Union have passed BDS motions need to take action against Coles that is incorrectly labelling produce imported from Israel. Our unions should ask Coles to stop importing Israeli produce?

    ‘Country of Origin’ is an important topic for workers and consumers. Fresh food has been sprayed with a range of chemicals, and handling techniques and transportation methods that can have a big impact on food quality.

    There is a big “economy” that surrounds purchasing decisions made on the basis of country of origin.

    One only needs to think about meat and chicken products that have been subject to import bans due to the potential for disease transmission. Also unions have banned the export of live sheep to the Middle East because takes jobs away from meatworkers here.

    Fresh fruit and vegetable imports have potential “bugs”.
    But most of all this produce is being exported to Australia as a result of exploitation of Palestinians and their lands.

    But like the unions’ BDS motions these are only words as well.

    An old unionist once said ‘you can’t grow fruit on barren trees’ (Ernie Lane).

    Ian Curr
    17 Feb 2011

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  3. Guys – your head will hurt a lot if you go by the ACCC response below.

    Easier starting point would probably be the Queensland Office of Fair Trading. A plain english (and one page) explanation of different terms is at:

    http://www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au/country-of-origin.htm

    Would recommend getting in touch with the office and talking to someone there about what “mixed origin” means as it isn’t a term that is ordinarily used in food labelling (particularly fresh food which normally grows somewhere…).

    You can do it online at http://www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au/contact-us.htm

    Grant

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  4. Recently a BBC journalist hounded a spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt if he recognises the state of Israel.

    From the mouth of a child in Lebanon comes the answer:

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  5. Valentine for Palestine
    Brisbane anti apartheid activists deliver a Valentine for Palestine message to the Myer centre and call on shoppers and Myer Centre management to respect the call to boycott products made in Israel until it respects human rights and complies with International Law.

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  6. I find this line of discussion very interesting. A recent protest staged in London against an Israeli company peddling products made in stolen Palestinian lands and labelled as ‘Made in Israel’ resulted in the rejection of the claims of trespass made by the shopkeeper and the initiation of a government initiated lawsuit based on the UK product labelling laws on the basis that the product was not properly marked with the country of origin. The case was successful.

    Abigail is misinformed. Coles employ people to apply stickers to fruit imported from Israel that mislead the public into believing the fruit is made by hard working Australian fruit growers. Not only is this illegal it is also an insult to our countrymen doing it tough attempting to make a living from the land.

    The australian Fruit Growers Association has been informed of this despicable scam and I expect the unions to respond in refusing to unload fruit grown in Israel at Australian ports. Part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign against Apartheid Israel includes embargoes on imports harmful to Australian produce as well as being harmful to the Palestinian people and their right to self determination and legitimate trade.

    Israel continues to play the thief and that, in contravention of Abigail’s assertions, include the West Bank aquifers recently ‘acquisitioned’ by the government of Israel leaving the natural inhabitants of eastern Palestine with a paltry and inadequate allocation of water rights. Add to that the recent destruction of water tanks by the IDF upon which nomadic herdsmen depend and it is plain to see that the above mentioned respondent is either ill-informed or lying, or both.

    Abigail should relax in the knowledge that the rogue state she is apologising for no longer needs to depend on agriculture since it has become the world’s fourth largest exporter of weapons. That’s right, the underdog that survived the ‘shoah’ is now exporting death to the rest of the world. Such a profitable enterprise has resulted in the Israel Weapons Industries moving to the US:
    http://wn.com/Israel_Weapon_Industries

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  7. Abigail Thornton

    Do you ill informed twits, think that a corporation the size of Coles, has nothing better to do with its money than to employ people to remove stickers from fruit, in order to replace them with another.??

    If you do you have rocks for brains

    There is a general decline in the importance of agriculture to the Israeli economy, due to an insufficient supply of water.

    I believe that more Jaffa oranges and grapefruit are grown in Spain and exported, than are in Israel. We grow them here and have been for years, even prior to this BDS nonsense.

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