The UK's Co-operative Group is closely linked to -- and a major funder of -- the Co-operative Party, which has an electoral pact with the Labour Party, the UK's official opposition.
This assumes that those advocating the boycott know exactly where the new borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state will be, despite that they are yet to be determined through negotiation. The enterprises boycotted by the Co-op Group employ many local Arab workers, whose livelihoods are endangered by the boycott.
The Co-op Group continues to refer to Israel's "illegal settlements" as if these were the only disputed territories in the world. There is no boycott, of course, of major exporting countries with appalling human rights records, such as China (invasion of Tibet), Russia (invasion of the Ukraine) and other countries whose occupation of other areas is not recognized internationally, such as Nagorno-Karabakh or Northern Cyprus.
As usual, of all the countries in the world, Israel is being singled out. For the boycotters of the Co-op Group, Israel is the usual soft target.
The Co-operative Group is the only major British retailer to boycott Israeli goods. It is the fifth-largest retail grocery chain in the UK, with thousands of Co-op minimarkets throughout the United Kingdom. The Co-operative Group (formerly known as the Co-operative Wholesale Society) is closely linked to -- and a major funder of -- the Co-operative Party, which has an electoral pact with the Labour Party, the UK's official opposition. The Co-operative Party has, like the Labour Party itself, been infiltrated by a strong anti-Israel faction.
The Co-operative Group is the fifth-largest retail grocery chain in the UK, with thousands of Co-op minimarkets throughout the United Kingdom. Right: The Co-operative Group head office in Manchester. (Image source: Co-operative Group/Wikimedia commons)
The "co-operative movement" in England began in 1844 when a group of people in Rochdale, Lancashire decided that local stores were charging too much for food, and decided to set up a co-operative retail outlet. From there, the movement mushroomed until, at one time, it even had a flagship department store in London's premier shopping street, Oxford Street, as well as farms, pharmacies and funeral services, to say nothing of the Co-operative Bank, its most lucrative enterprise.
The co-operative movement is also linked to the Co-operative Party, a political party with close links to the British Labour Party, a relationship that dates back to the Co-operative Congress held in 1917, which eventually led to an agreement between the Co-operative Party and the Labour Party to elect joint "Labour Co-operative" candidates. At the last general election in 2015, 21 members of parliament were elected on the Labour and Co-operative ticket.
In 2013, a scandal hit the Co-operative Bank, when it was discovered that there was a massive shortfall in funds due to corruption and mismanagement at the top. The Co-operative Group suffered a terrible financial blow, losing many millions of pounds. This resulted in an entire re-organization of the Co-operative Group, including the sale of the pharmacies and most of the Co-operative Bank (the Co-operative Group still has a 20% share but the bank has demutualized, meaning it is now mainly owned by a hedge fund and is no longer a mutual fund owned by the members).