My Teta Shafiqa used to tell me that a bird only has one song. You may think that having only one song is limiting, but actually it’s very liberating. It means you can focus your effort on one thing and that you can do it well. It also means that you can’t do everything, but what you can do has value. It means that alone you are special and with other birds you can make a chorus. Having just one birdsong is just fine.
Sometime it is powerful to act alone- to be the only person to stand up in a silent room- and other times it is powerful to join forces and make your voice louder with the strength of thousands more. Either way, it is critical that you act for what you believe to be right.
This is very true when it comes to solidarity with Palestine. It’s easy to have big impacts with small acts alone and together with others. One of these ways is when you are grocery shopping.
If something says ‘Made in Israel’, then don’t buy it. It the fresh produce aisles, where individual items aren’t labelled, look at the boxes and the pricing/information tags on the shelves which should all have country of origin written on them. It’s especially important to boycott fresh produce, as much of it comes from illegal settlements in the West Bank. And inadequate labeling laws and regulations make it hard to identify what has been grown there (‘Made in Israel’ and ‘Made in West Bank’ should be avoided). This is because some individual companies have asked producers to list if their goods from the occupied West Bank or Israel and have been asked to label accordingly. Unless something says ‘Made in Palestine’ do not buy it. You should be especially vigilant around fresh herbs, avocados, bell peppers, medjool dates etc.
Avoiding goods form the settlements is particularly important, as they form some of the most devastating outcomes of the occupation, as well as being illegal under international law and one of the biggest blockers to peace. Settlement farms actively steal fertile land and water from Palestinians as well as depleting the rural labour force for Palestinian farmers, they are allowed infrastructure (such as greenhouses and water harvesting systems) which are routinely denied and destroyed for Palestinians.
While it’s hard to source fresh Palestinian goods to support their economy here in the UK, you can get other food stuffs and household items, see Shop Palestine.
Photos: Phoebe Rison