As Muslims stock up on dates in preparation for the holy month of Ramadan, activists have warned against purchasing dates from Israel due to the harsh consequences this would have on oppressed Palestinians. [Picture: Naim Benjelloun]
More than a billion Muslims from across the world will observe the holy month of Ramadan, starting mid-April, during which they will fast from dawn to dusk and engage in prayer. At Iftar most of them will opt to terminate their fast with dates. In the buildup to Ramadan, activists have warned against purchasing dates from Israel due to the harsh consequences this would have on oppressed Palestinians.
Amongst several other reasons highlighted by campaigners, Israeli dates are known to be harvested on “stolen land” and the impact this will have on sustaining the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land has been a cause for concern. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Israel produced 136,956 tonnes of dates with an export value of $181.2m in 2017.
Shamiul Joarder, Head of Public Affairs at Friends of Al-Aqsa, said: “when you’re buying dates, check the label.” He warned that, whilst many products are explicitly labelled as being from Israel, some dates are cunningly “mislabeled” as Palestinian dates.
On numerous occasions, especially in the buildup to Ramadan, activists have highlighted the negative impacts of purchasing Israeli products. Reports have indicated that approximately 40% of Israeli dates are grown in illegal settlements. Furthermore, Israeli farmers been accused of exploiting Palestinian children in the industry.
Joarder added that checking the label before purchasing dates for Ramadan will instill a habit amongst people to check the labels of other products, even out of Ramadan.
Watch the full interview here: