PRESS STATEMENT: Mass consumer boycott campaign against Clover Dairies

28 September 2019

Early next week the South African human rights organization and Palestine solidarity NGO, BDS South Africa, will be convening a broad based meeting to consult with our partner organizations (political parties, NGOs, civil soceity groups, student movement, faith-based organizations) on the way forward following the Israeli takeover of the South African dairy company, Clover. This week the Israeli-led company, Milco, received the go-ahead for its takeover of the South African firm.

BDS South Africa have been consistent that if this Israeli takeover was to proceed we will embark on a strong, militant and peaceful campaign against Clover.

We commend FAWU, GIWUSA and COSATU for their hard and consistent work towards showing solidarity with Palestine and protecting the rights of the South African workers who face mass retrenchments and dismissals under the new Israeli ownership of Clover. FAWU has explained that: “Even if Israel’s Central Bottling Company-led [Milco] consortium was to meet legal, competition and other regulatory requirements, we believe the South African government must block this transaction as it simply will not meet ethical considerations of the Palestinian question in any case. Furthermore, it will also not entrench local ownership of a major dairy company. Equally important, is the fact that more than 7 500 jobs cannot be guaranteed should a takeover be allowed!”

We refuse to allow Israel to milk our economy, fire our workers and export our profits to Israel where taxes will arm the Apartheid regime of Israel.

In addition to BDS South Africa, GIWUSA, FAWU and COSATU, the Israeli take over of Clover has been publicly opposed by Popcru, ANC Youth League, YCL, MRN, several Palestine solidarity organizations and others. We will work with all partners on the boycott of Clover campaign.

———- * ———-

MILCO, the company taking over Clover, is a consortium led by Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC). CBC is deeply complicit in human rights abuses and violations of international law:

– CBC, in violation of international law, has operations in Israel’s illegal settlements – both in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

– CBC and its subsidiaries own a regional distribution centre in the illegal Israeli Atarot settlement industrial zone, a vineyard near mount Shifon in the occupied Golan Heights and a dairy farm as well as offices in the illegal Israeli settlement of Shadmot Mehola in the Jordan Valley – all in violation of international law.

– In addition, CBC – through its wholly owned Atarot distribution centre, denies the Palestinian franchisee, the National Beverages Company (NBC) – access to East Jerusalem, constituting an unfair captive market for the Israeli distributor.

– In 2015 CBC donated over R150 000 to the right wing, racist and facist organization Im Tirtzu, a group that, among others, directly funds campaigns in support of Israeli soldiers and the IDF. During the 2014 Israeli attacks on Gaza, which left 1400 Palestinians dead, Im Tirtzu (together with the son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) facilitated supplies to IDF soldiers. They also support IDF reservists and advocate for reserve soldiers to receive preferential grants.

– In 2009 CBC hosted a special reception to honour Israeli Brigadier-General, Ben-Eliezer who served as Israeli Defence Minister and in that capacity, presided over the 2002 storming of Jenin, a refugee camp, leaving hundreds of Palestinians dead.


For comment: 
Tisetso Magama: +27 (0) 61 414 6348
Muhammed Desai: +27 (0) 84 211 9988