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BDS survey to measure boycott effectiveness

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After three months of spearheading a national campaign to boycott Woolworths retail stores, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement of South Africa has released a survey to test the effect their drive has had on ordinary South Africans. The 21 part, 4 minute long, questionnaire explains to the survey taker the motivation behind the boycott and asks them to, in short answers, give their reasoning for boycotting or not.

The survey comes as the retailer heads to the courts, to stop the boycott from continuing. BDS were issued with an interdict on Friday and are busy filing responding papers.

In light of this, BDS SA spokesperson Kwara Kekana said the boycott would continue, and the survey will aid the broader pro-Palestinian lobby in South Africa in gauging the boycott’s effectiveness. BDS SA and other organizations that form part of the broader Palestine solidarity movement hope increased pressure on Woolworths will force them to end trade relationships with Israel.

“The survey in itself is there to help us see how far the boycott has spread and whether people are aware of it, and if they are, how they got involved and which areas they live in,” Kekana said.

She said despite the large amount of interest the campaign has garnered nationally, Woolworths has still refused to join the discussion on Israel and Palestine. She says the company has ignored calls by the broader PSC to sit down with the relevant stakeholders.

“Overseas, where boycotting is a huge trend, like in the UK, pro-Palestinian organizations have had great success by putting economic pressure on retailers and other companies who support Israel through trade. In Israel itself there are examples of companies that have been liquidated because of a lack of financial support due to boycotts against them. It’s disappointing that Woolworths South Africa has not yet come to the table to discuss the reasoning behind the boycott.”

Kekana said that the survey is not intended only for persons already taking part in the boycott, but also to raise awareness among persons who may not have any knowledge of the situation in Palestine.

She also said the data collected from the survey will be used to fine tune campaigns in future, as the BDS and its partners aim to continue their boycott of Woolworths and other companies associated with trade with Israel if there is no dialogue undertaken between the parties. VOC (Andriques Che Petersen)

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