PARIS (JTA) – Citing Israeli producers’ “full compliance” with French law, the Monoprix supermarket chain declined a request to boycott products from Israel.
Monoprix gave its refusal in a letter it sent last week to Claudine Vegas of Toulouse, who heads the Collectif Palestine Libre (Free Palestine Collective) – a group that lobbies for the boycott of Israeli products as part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
Vegas wrote to the management of Monoprix, which has hundreds of supermarkets across France, requesting they remove Ahava brand cosmetic products, which are produced by Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem, located about one mile from the Dead Sea in the eastern West Bank. Ahava products are labelled as made in Israel.
Vegas claimed that Ahava’s products “come from illegal settlements, and are supplied to Monoprix at the price of appropriation, misery and injustice caused to Palestinians.”
But Baptiste Peslouan, a client service representative of Monoprix, on Oct. 26 replied to Vegas that Ahava products comply with the requirements of the DGCCRF, the initials for the French Economy Ministry’s customer protection body.
“To our knowledge, DGCCRF has not initiated the process against the suppliers you mentioned and we have been informed of no judicial decision” with regards to them, he wrote.
French law forbids discrimination against nations.
The European Union is poised to issue guidelines next week that may require its member states to clearly label products manufactured in Israeli West Bank settlements differently from goods made in Israel.
The potential economic impact of the new labelling is limited. Products manufactured in settlements make up less than one percent of total Israeli exports to the European Union, according to official figures.