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Calls to boycott Israeli dates intensify ahead of Ramadan

Tempo - March 4, 2024

Myesha Fatina Rachman and Dewi Rina Cahyani, Jakarta – Dates have always been a popular food during Ramadan, and it is a worldwide Muslim tradition to break the fast with dates. Consumption of dates usually increases during the holy month. Different types and brands of dates can be easily found in most stores or minimarkets.

Dates grow in specific environments such as deserts, and they originate from many Middle Eastern countries, which are average exporters of dates, including Israel.

The Zionist state is known as the world's largest producer of Medjool dates. The value of Israeli date exports reached nearly Rp5 trillion, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FOA).

However, Ramadan is often followed by calls to boycott Israeli products due to the country's attack on Palestine. As of February 24, 2024, Israel's assault has killed 29,000 Palestinians since October 7, 2023, including women, children, and the elderly.

This has led to negative sentiment toward products perceived to be associated with Israel, including dates.

American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) identified 12 Israeli date products to boycott in support of Palestinian independence. AMP accused Israel of building the date industry on stolen land using exploited Palestinian labor, including children.

According to Aljazeera, AMP urged the Muslim community not to buy date products labeled from Israel, West Bank, and Jordan Valley, as well as if the origin is not stated. Israeli date producers also change the labels in a bid to obfuscate the origin of the dates.

Friends of Al-Aqsa, a UK-based non-profit NGO dedicated to defending the human rights of Palestinians, urged Muslims to be mindful of what they eat during Ramadan. "By choosing not to buy Israeli dates this Ramadan, the Muslim community can send a clear and strong message to condemn Israel's illegal occupation and apartheid in Palestine," pro-Palestinian activist, Shamiul Joarder, from FOA said in the UK.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1840792/calls-to-boycott-israeli-dates-intensify-ahead-of-ramada