Woolworths, one of the country’s leading retailers, on Friday refuted claims it was pro-Palestine, but affirmed it took no sides regarding the raging warfare in which Israel is bombarding the small enclave of Gaza.
The retail entity found itself in the middle of the storm that cast it in a bad light in some quarters, with widespread reports alleging it was pro-Palestine and anti-Israel.
However, on Friday, the retailer stated it was not taking sides.
“Media articles claiming that Woolworths supports an Israeli boycott are inaccurate and we want to set the record straight.
“Despite reports commending us for taking a pro-Palestinian or anti-Israeli position, we have not. Woolworths would like to explicitly affirm that we neither support nor boycott anyone,” said Woolworths in a statement.
The company also stated that it had no political affiliations.
“In a world that is already polarised and where misinformation, misunderstanding and suffering are fuelling heightened emotion, we refuse to add to the division and divisiveness.
“Many of us have been deeply affected in various ways by the atrocities and death of innocent people.
“Intolerance is on the rise and, we as an organisation, cannot and will not add fuel to the fire, and will always continue to seek ways to bring people together,” it said.
The company also said that due to threats it had received, it had to prioritise the safety and well-being of its employees and customers.
“Given the significant and credible threats we have received, and in order to do our best to safeguard our employees and customers, we took the decision to pre-emptively suspend the sale of the one product we had on our shelves that was imported from Israel.
“Woolies always endeavours to do the right thing by our employees, our customers and society at large. We continue to do this as we navigate these very challenging times.”
The war has claimed thousands of lives in both countries, and since the conflict started Woolworths has come under enormous pressure from pollical parties and non-government organisations to halt selling products imported from Israel.