Trinity students stage anti-apartheid action in Dublin supermarkets

The students called for a boycott of Israeli goods

Trinity students staged a direct action this afternoon in supermarkets in the city centre to mark Anti-Apartheid Week.

Members of Apartheid Free Trinity were joined by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) members from Dublin City University (DCU) and University College Dublin, attracting around twenty students from the three universities.

The activists gathered at the Campanile in Trinity’s Front Square and proceeded to Marks and Spencer supermarket in Jervis Street Shopping Centre and Tesco Metro on Parnell Street, where they presented trolleys filled with Israeli and settlement goods to store management and delivered a statement calling for the stores to “end the sale of goods from Apartheid Israel”.

The group also approached the “Obey your Body” stall in the Jervis Street Shopping Centre, which sells Dead Sea salts, minerals and black mud, in an effort to identify the exploitation of Palestinian natural resources from the Dead Sea, which lies partly in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The action marked the launch of Anti-Apartheid Week 2019 following a motion passed at Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) Council to mandate the union to run an Anti-Apartheid Week in order to “increase awareness of Israel apartheid and the Palestinian struggle”.

In a statement, members of Trinity’s SJP branch said: “Apartheid Free Trinity’s actions today were inspired by the call from Palestinian civil society for a global boycott of Israeli goods on Anti-apartheid grounds; the Global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement”.

The group further expressed that their decision to act  was due to “the slaughter and barbarity of the Israeli state in Gaza”.

The statement continued: “In 1984, Mary Manning, a Dunnes Stores checkout worker made history by refusing to handle oranges from Apartheid South Africa, in keeping with a call from the South African movement against apartheid. Her act of defiance and solidarity spread quickly and influenced boycotts of apartheid South Africa across the country, including an economic, academic and cultural boycott in Trinity College.”

Trinity students passed a referendum last year to mandate TCDSU to support the BDS movement with a 64.5% majority of the 2,050 students who voted.

Provost Patrick Prendergast faced criticism from students in August when he represented Trinity on an official trip to Israel with an aim to “deepen engagement in the region”. Prendergast previously visited the region in 2015 when he signed a memorandum of understanding with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Debra Daly

Debra Daly is a staff writer for Trinity News. She is a Junior Fresh English Literature student.