Do Not Invite Israeli Apartheid To Your Iftaar Table

Empowering Weak & Oppressed


Sha'ban 20, 1445 2024-03-01


by Editor (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 54, No. 1, Sha'ban, 1445)

Image Source - Pixbay Free Content

Muslims worldwide eagerly look forward to the blessed month of Ramadan that will begin in the second week of March. In following the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), most Muslims break their fast with a date. Dates are not only delicious they also provide an energy boost after fasting the whole day from dawn to dusk.

Many countries produce dates, hence a large variety of them. Among the leading producers of dates are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, Iraq and Pakistan. Palestine is not among the leading producers but its variety—the Medjoul dates—are very popular. They are large, meaty and, of course delicious.

Enter the zionist thieves. They want to make a buck by exploiting the poor Palestinian laborers. This is what is happening in Occupied Palestine. The zionists have not only illegally occupied Palestinian lands, they are also harvesting Palestinian produce—dates in this particular case—and selling them under misleading labels abroad.

First, let us consider the exploitation of Palestinian laborers. With employment opportunities severely restricted on the Israeli occupied West Bank, Palestinians are forced to do any work that will bring them a few shekels to survive.

Picking dates is extremely hard work. Palm trees soar 12 to 14 metres high (taller than a four storey-building). The illegal zionist squatters (aka settlers) demand that Palestinians arrive at the date palm farms at 5 am in the morning. They have to climb very tall ladders to harvest dates. In some instances, even cranes are used to lower Palestinian laborers onto trees. They are left there the whole day.

They are exposed to high temperatures, which put them at risk of heatstroke. There is no break even for going to the toilet. Laborers have to meet their daily quota or they do not get paid.

If they get injured, often no healthcare or compensation is provided. Some laborers have fallen and died. As far as the zionists are concerned, that is a few less Palestinians. Even children are pressed into service, in flagrant violation of child labor law.

The Israeli exploitation does not end there. Aware that most people in the world oppose the occupation of Palestine and any produce obtained through exploitation, the zionists deliberately mislabel date packages.

They often label them as ‘Produce of Palestine’ in an attempt to obfuscate the fact that these are produced through illegal occupation and exploitation. These practices are expressly forbidden under international law for all it’s worth.

The zionists use other ruses as well to mislead consumers: Jordan Plains, Premium Medjoul, Fancy Medjoul, Royal Treasure, Red Sea, Paradise Dates and Star Dates are some of labels used to hide their origin. Other Israeli brand names are King Solomon, Tamarah Barhi, Desert Diamond, Rapunzel, Bomaja Shams, Delilah, Bonbonierra, Myjool, La Palma, Mehadrin, Prana and NBF.

All these are meant to confuse consumers, especially Muslims, that these dates have been produced by Palestinians and are, therefore, legitimate produce and can be purchased.

Given that most western regimes—the US, Canada and much of Europe—actively support the zionist occupation, exploitation and murder of Palestinians, it becomes incumbent upon Muslims to be very careful in purchasing dates. They must carefully examine the label on Medjoul dates.

There are Palestinian sources like Zaytoun or Yaffa that export Palestinian dates. In Canada, there is Palestine Just Trade, an organization that markets Palestinian dates. There is also Lara brand from Al-Karam Products as well as Jericho. Muslims in other countries must check the labels carefully, especially in large supermarket chains that traditionally carry products from zionist Israel.

Muslims must note that genuine Palestinian dates from legitimate sources may be a little more expensive than dates produced through exploitation. The reason is that zionist occupiers charge enormous fees to allow Palestinians to take their product to the seaport. There is even a fee charged at the port as well as bribes by greedy Israeli officials.

All these are meant to discourage Palestinians from exporting their product to international markets. The Palestinian farmers continue to struggle under very difficult circumstances from picking up their produce when it is ripe, to transporting it for shipment abroad.

One other point is important. Since three out of four Medjoul dates originate from illegal Israeli settlemnts, Muslims must exercise extra caution when purchasing Medjoul dates. A simple rule of thumb is, if not sure about the origin, do not buy Medjoul dates. This is especially true in large supermarkets.

At a time when the zionist war criminals are perpetrating a genocide of Palestinians and starving them to death en masse, the least the Muslims can do is to not buy Israeli products. There is also an important Islamic aspect here. Muslims are not permitted to buy stolen goods, much less consuming them. This amounts to supporting the oppressor against the oppressed.

This Ramadan, when Muslims sit down at the Iftaar table to break their fast, they must make sure that they do not invite apartheid Israel to the table by consuming their dates. There are alternative brands and products available. This is the least the Muslims can do at this critical juncture.

Say no to Israeli apartheid, no to dates produced through the exploitation of Palestinian laborers including children, and no to racism and barbarism. And while breaking your fast, please pray for your Palestinian brothers, sisters and children who are facing the genocidal zionists with their bare hands and bodies.

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