A mass consumer boycott campaign against Clover Dairies could be imminent. The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in South Africa has announced it will be convening a broad-based meeting to consult with its affiliate organisations on the controversial Israeli takeover of Clover. This comes after the Israeli consortium Milco’s R4.8bn acquisition of Clover Industries was been given the go-ahead by the Competition Tribunal.
“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 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,” said BDS in a statement.
FAWU has said that even if the Milco consortium was to meet legal, competition and other regulatory requirements, the South African government must block the transaction as it “simply will not meet ethical considerations of the Palestinian question in any case”.
The trade union said it would “not entrench local ownership of a major dairy company”. It added that more than 7 500 jobs cannot be guaranteed should a takeover be allowed.
However, the tribunal has put a three-year moratorium on retrenching workers.
“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,” said BDS.
Milco is a consortium led by Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC), said to be deeply complicit in human rights abuses and violations of international law. CBC has operations in Israel’s illegal settlements – both in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
According to BDS, 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 facilitated supplies to IDF soldiers. They also support IDF reservists and advocate for reserve soldiers to receive preferential grants.
In addition to BDS South Africa, FAWU and COSATU, the Israeli takeover 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.