Sainsbury’s, the second largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom, has been hit with considerable backlash after a branch in Holborn, central London, removed the store’s selection of kosher foods during a pro-Palestinian protest outside the door.
On Saturday, August 16, protestors picketed outside the Sainsbury’s store, calling for a boycott of Israeli goods.
The store’s manager then ordered the store’s kosher foods to be cleared from the shelves, reportedly out of fear that the store would be vandalized.
A witness, Colin Appleby, took a picture of the empty shelf and posted it on Facebook and noted that the shelf contained produce from the United Kingdom, Poland, and Israel.
“When I asked a member of staff what had happened they replied ‘We support Free Gaza,’ Appleby wrote on Facebook. “I didn't try to point out that kosher goods were not Israeli goods but they walked away.”
— Colin J Appleby (@CJ_Appleby) August 16, 2014
Consumers have vigorously protested the Sainsbury store’s actions. Louise Mensch, former Conservative Member of Parliament (MP), accused the store of racism for equating kosher food with Israel.
— Louise Mensch (@LouiseMensch) August 17, 2014
Another customer called out Sainsbury’s for needlessly targeting an entire group of people.
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s told The Guardian that the move was “an isolated decision made by in a very challenging situation” and did not reflect company policy.
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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.