The Cheese Challenge That Stopped a Boycott

Palestinian professor’s anti-Israel call to action backfires, big time

By Yossi Aloni | | Topics: BDS
Photo: Illustration - Elior Cohen/TPS

A Palestinian professor never imagined that his call to boycott a major supermarket chain would increase sales of Israeli-made products.

Calling for boycott

Prof. Hatem Bazian, a Palestinian who lectures on Islam at the University of California, Berkeley, called for a boycott of Trader Joe’s supermarkets because they sell Israeli feta cheese. 

Bazian published a picture of the Israeli feta cheese sold at Trader Joe’s 503 stores found in 42 US states, and in his Facebook post wrote: “Trader Joe’s is selling Israeli feta cheese. One more reason to stop buying in this store.” In his comments, the professor tagged Linda Sarsour, an American of Palestinian descent who has made anti-Israel and antisemitic statements such as “There is nothing more revolting than Zionism.”

Joe Zevulun, an Israeli who resides in Florida, hurried to call his 35,000 followers on Facebook to rush to the supermarkets and buy the Israeli cheese and other Israeli products. “This is a call to arms to all fighters for Israel!” he wrote. “I need your backing. An antisemitic professor from the University of California, Berkeley hates Israel and has tagged Linda Sarsour in his post calling to boycott Trader Joe’s because of the Israeli feta cheese they sell. Go to his (FB) page and rank him a fascist as he deserves and don’t forget to thank him because we’re all going out to buy from Trader Joe’s because of his post. Tag the Population and Immigration Authority and help me show Israel who this guy is.”

Zevulun calls his FB group “an army of pro-Israel publicity.” His post inspired many Israelis living in the US and US citizens to buy the feta cheese. One Israeli in Miami photographed himself buying five canisters of the Israeli cheese. In some of the supermarket’s branches, the cheeses were completely sold-out and many of the shelves depleted. The result was that people started buying other Israeli products like Bamba, tahini, soup and more.

Zevulun posted another video over the weekend encouraging people to buy the Israeli cheese. “Now it’s your turn… Go to Trader Joe’s and buy only Israeli-made products. And if you want to indulge me, buy some for families who cannot afford these products.”

Zevulun’s Video:

הבטחתי, קיימתי! עכשיו תורכם… כנסו לטריידר ג׳ו תקנו רק תוצרת ישראל ואם בא לכם כמוני לפנק עם מוצרים מתוצרת ישראל משפחות שאין להן אפשרות לקנות מוצרי מזון כאלה כנסו לתגובה הראשונה

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Joe Zevuloni‎‏ ב- יום חמישי, 12 בדצמבר 2019

Zevulun said he received many messages of support from Israelis and Jews in the US.  “Every message warms the heart and you give me a lot of strength,” he added. “We broke the boycott with the Cheese Challenge. I get messages from all over the US with pictures of the cheese that people buy.  That wretched professor came to curse, but it turned out to be a blessing.”

Israel Today Newsletter

Daily news

FREE to your inbox

Israel Heute Newsletter

Tägliche Nachrichten

KOSTENLOS in Ihrer Inbox