The Dutch branch of the German supermarket chain Aldi has backtracked from its stated policy of boycotting products made by Israelis in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem and the Golan.
“Aldi would like to emphatically state that it does not boycott products from the occupied territories,” a spokesperson for Aldi’s Dutch branch wrote on Monday to the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI), a Dutch pro-Israel organisation.
The spokesperson, Laetitia Gruwel, wrote in a letter to CIDI director Esther Voet that “Aldi is not engaged in political or religious issues”. Aldi has stores in 16 European countries, as well as in the United States and Australia.
On Friday, an unnamed Aldi spokesperson confirmed to the Dutch daily Trouw that Aldi’s Dutch branch has a policy of boycotting goods from Israeli settlements, which the European Union considers illegal.
The spokesperson told Trouw that Aldi remains committed to its policy as outlined in a report from April titled “Dutch Economic Links with the Occupation,” which was commissioned by several Dutch organisations that are critical of Israel.
The report said the Dutch subsidiary of Aldi informed the report’s authors “that it does not want to sell products from Israeli settlements in occupied territories and also has informed its suppliers about this policy”.
On Monday, Gruwel did not deny that Aldi made a statement to that effect, but said it was “incorrect information”. Currently, Aldi does not offer any products from areas that the European Union considers illegal settlements, Trouw reported.
According to Trouw, two other supermarket chains operating in the Netherlands – Hoogevliet and Jumbo – have said they are boycotting settlement products.
Aldi Australia was approached for comment but had not responded by the time The AJN went to press.