British supermarket demonstrators throw Israeli food

Demonstrators in England attacked police and threw food products on the floor while calling on a local supermarket to stop selling Israeli goods.

The protest occurred Aug. 16 at the Tesco supermarket in Hodge Hill, Birmingham, the Telegraph reported.

About 100 demonstrators had gathered for a protest of Israeli food products outside the store. Then a smaller group of protesters holding Palestinian flags entered the store and started pushing over piles of food products, according to the British newspaper.

On the same day, the Holborn branch of the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain in central London emptied its kosher section as anti-Israel protesters demonstrated outside the store, the Guardian reported.

The food removed from Sainsbury’s was not necessarily Israeli in origin. Some of it was manufactured in the United Kingdom and Poland, according to the Guardian.

In response to complaints by customers on its Facebook page, which accused Sainsbury’s of racism against Jews, the company apologized “for any inconvenience or offense caused,” saying the decision was made in the one store “as a precautionary measure during a demonstration close by” and that the products were returned to the shelves “as soon as was practically possible.” “As a nonpolitical organization, Sainsbury’s would never take such a decision on grounds other than ensuring the quality or safety of our products,” the statement said.

Tesco, the largest British supermarket chain, announced in July that it would stop selling products sourced in the West Bank by September. It also has stores in Europe, North America and Asia.

The company, which was founded by Jewish businessman Jack Cohen, has been at the center of a number of controversies concerning its policies on Israel-related products. In 2013, protesters from the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement placed yellow stickers on Israeli products in the chain’s stores in Ireland. — jta