Protesters Scare UK Grocery Into Removing Kosher Food Because Israel

In Depth

Sunday, we received word of a new challenger for “world’s dumbest grocery store employees” after a bunch of anti-Israel protesters unintentionally scared a Sainsbury’s in the UK into removing all Kosher items from their shelves.

The central London supermarket apparently removed the items because they were scared the protesters would attack the store. Because, sure, that’s a much more logical step than just calling the police.

A customer named Colin Appleby took a photo of the empty shelves, then asked a staff member what the deal was. Their response was unconscionably fucking dumb:

He added that a staff member defended the decision, saying: “We support Free Gaza.”
“I did try to point out that kosher goods were not Israeli goods but they walked away,” he wrote on Facebook.

This seems an apropos time to elaborate on Appleby’s point — all of the food was manufactured in the UK and Poland, and the employees were too fucking stupid to separate “Jewish” from “Israel.”

The best response came from a Facebook user named Gavin Platman:

“I presume you are aware that Kosher food is produced in countries other than Israel? You are therefore not making a political statement against Israel but instead are targeting a group based on race – i.e. Jews.
“As a Jew I find this deeply offensive. Naturally I am against the death of innocent children in Gaza, so why are you persecuting me by denying me the right to buy Kosher food?
“I presume you are also removing Halal food in protest against the Islamic State slaughtering Yazidis. Clearly not – therefore you have blurred the line between political statement and hate crime.”

Here’s the problem: it’s patently false to say that all opposition to Israel is anti-semitic, but as this story proves, it’s also false to say that NO opposition to Israel takes on an anti-semitic bent, because there’s no possible other way to read this dumb shit from Sainsbury’s. There are plenty of Jews who are really, really against what’s happening in Israel and will criticize the Israeli government any chance they get — I’m one of them. I would never want to keep kosher because I love bacon and shellfish way too much, but the idea that a supermarket should remove its kosher food for no better reason than “because Israel” is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard Ann Coulter vomit words before. Anyone who thinks it’s an awesome idea to punish Jews for the actions of Israel should really just go fuck themselves.

Now, to be fair, this is not a Sainsbury’s policy — the company has been VERY clear that these were the actions of a rogue manager flying solo. At the same time, though, they’ve also made it crystal that absolutely no action will be taken against the manager, even going so far as to make up a blatant lie about it being “chilled food [that] he was just trying to preserve,” a statement that seems to run counter to the employee Appleby spoke with. Sainsbury’s company spokesperson also called it a “challenging situation,” and excuse me while I laugh myself into a coma, because no. Regardless of whether it was a “challenging situation,” the simple answer was to call the damn cops.

To sum up: Israel may be (by which I mean it is) totally in the wrong to lob missiles into Gaza, but to go “hey, fuck the Jews” in response to that is some serious bullshit.

Edit: An earlier version of this story indicated that the protesters were demonstrating against Kosher products. Turns out, that was not the case — they were demonstrating against Israeli products. So the stupid people here really appear to just be Sainsbury’s.

Image via Gil C/Shutterstock.

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