27 August 2009

More clear evidence

Here are more pictures from Europe.
These dates are being sold all over and because it doesn't say Israeli Dates anywhere on it, they are getting past boycott efforts in Europe.

Jordan International is a brand name for Hadiklam. See: http://www.hadiklaim.com/buyers_brands.asp

Karsten Farms and Produce of South Africa is all over the box.

Until Karsten Farms cuts all ties and publicly announces that it has no dealings with any Israeli settler companies, these companies will continue to use these tactics to circumvent boycotts.

26 August 2009

Pressure Karstens to cut links..

Karsten is a South African company.
Hadiklaim is an Israeli company.

Karsten is doing business with a settler company - this business between Hadiklaim and Karsten, among other things, allows Hadiklaim to market dates in Europe as 'Produced in South Africa' - therefore circumventing European boycotts of Israeli goods - Hadiklaim also sells their OWN dates packaged as South African dates...

Here is a reply to an email from the company:

Dear Mr Karsten

Thanks for your reply.

I am sure you are aware by now the furore surrounding this whole issue. There is an active international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign underway to isolate Israel and Israeli businesses in order to put economic pressure on them so that they relinquish their discriminatory and apartheid practices.

As with apartheid in SA, the wheels of change only gained momentum once the international community decided to boycott South Africa economically, socially and culturally. Human rights violations and discrimination based on race is something that cannot be tolerated in our days and times. As consumers we encourage responsible business practices and responsible partnerships.

I urge you to be totally transparent in your associations, especially with companies from Israel. Hadiklaim is one such company which economically benefits from the occupation - having many of their farms on Palestinian West Bank territory and they are also known to employ Palestinians who are forced to work for them for a pittance and are thus economically enslaved.

I encourage you also, to be clear in your explanation to Hadiklaim as to why you wish not to be associated with them.

Thanks and Kind Regards

Dr M Raiman

2009/8/26 Pieter Karsten Jnr <pieterj@karsten.co.za>

Dear Dr Raiman,

Thanks for your inquiry.

We are farmers and we are South Africans. We do try to make a difference in this new South Africa by setting an example of non-discrimination. We do employ

at peak grape production about 5000 people of all races and all denominations in South Africa.

The Karsten Group is a 100% South African company.

Our family owns 51,95 %

IDC (Industrial Development Corporation) 36.95%

Yarona Farms (Workerstrust) 11.06% (Yarona means “OURS” in Tswana)

Land Merit Investment (A SA individual) 0.04%

We are more than willing to give you all the evidence you need to proof the above facts.

We are totally independent. We do furthermore own companies in Egypt (Karsten Middle East) and the UK (Karsten UK).

Hadiklaim is a CUSTOMER of ours and I have already instructed them to rectify the wording on there website.(They referred to Karsten as “our farm”)

I need to make it very clear that we imported 10 tons of dates from JORDAN in 2007. Except for this once of transaction

all the dates we sold have been our own production(95% SA 5% Namibian).

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any more answers.

Kind Regards


MD New Vision Fruit (Pty) Ltd


Tel. +27 54 491 9300

Fax. +27 54 491 9352

Cell. +27 82 770 9920


Here is a letter sent to the company:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sayed dhansay
Date: 2009/8/26
To: pieterj@karsten.co.za

Dear Pieter

I am writing to you out of great concern.

As I'm sure you know, dates form an important part of our diet as Muslims, especially during this month of Ramadan.
Your company, Karsten Farms is a producer of the popular Kalahari Medjoul date, that is widely consumed by our community.
In the last few days however, I have been made aware that Karsten Farms has a business relationship with the Israeli Date Co-operative, Hadiklaim.
I would appreciate it if you could confirm whether Karsten Farms does indeed do any business with Hadiklaim?

As Hadiklaim is based in and operates out of an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied Jordan Valley, we take an extremely negative view of the company.
In 2005 Palestinian civil society called on the world to implement boycotts, divestment and sanctions on the state of Israel in order to pressure Israel to comply with international law and cease its egregious violations of human rights in the illegally Occupied Palestinian Territories.
This movement pertains even more strongly to companies that operate out of illegal settlements in the West Bank and Jordan Valley.

As this call is being increasingly heeded internationally, as well as in South Africa, I would be very grateful if you could confirm whether Karsten Farms has a trading relationship (whether this is uni or bilateral) with Hadiklaim.

I look forward to your response.

22 August 2009

Israeli dates in South Africa

Just got these pics from a friend in Portugal with this note:

This company, Hadiklam Ltd. is no doubt a settlement company and there is much written about them online, especially about their tactics to hide the origin of the product. It would be an important victory if we got their partners in Southern Africa to divest (I suspect they have more than one, Karsten Farms being one of them).

One argument to stress is that even if these dates are in fact from South Africa, they should be boycotted because of their links with settlement companies. I don't think that the ones we have here in Portugal come from South Africa. They come from Israel but they make use the South African box because perhaps a percentage might come from there and it avoids the boycotts in Europe.

{packed for Hadilaim (settler company) by Karsten Farms Ltd, South Africa}

20 August 2009

Leave Caster Semenya alone!

I join the ANC, Cosatu, SAFPU and others in condemning those that are making ridiculous accusations against Caster Semenya. She is a hero for all South Africans and especially young athletes. The ANC issued a statement condemning this and said, “Such comments can only serve to portray women as being weak.”

Semenya clocked 1min 55.45sec for the year's fastest time and this caused the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to request gender verification test. SAFPU is claiming that “imperialist countries are pushing their racist agenda” against Africans, and while that may be going a bit too far, one surely does wonder why they only decided to do such tests now. Not that they are justified or not in doing them – they should have done their tests timeously and with greater respect and sensitivity.

According to Dr Ross Tucker, these allegations have been following Semenya for a few years now and there was ample time to have cleared up any concerns that anyone may have had. Tucker also implicitly blames her management for not being the ones to clear it up, but with such a sensitive issue, it would have admittedly been quite difficult.

He says that it was reported that Semenya was born a hermaphrodite (having both male and female reproductive organs) and that she was cleared by testing done by Athletics South Africa. But Semenya is going to be a victim any way that this pans out. She is running and winning and getting medals. If they somehow go through with this process and find that she is not "entirely female" and possesses secondary male characteristics as a result of some natural condition, then she will possibly lose her medals and titles. If the tests show nothing, then was all this really necessary for an 18 year old to go through?

She is not being humiliated for cheating or taking drugs or because she committed any crime. “Her crime was to be born the way she is born," said ASA predident Leonard Chuene.

13 August 2009

Print media still survives

Newspapers around the world have been collapsing, mainly due to the advertising boom on the internet. Not only do advertsisers choose online adverstising over print, but the crisis has been exacerbated by the global credit crunch. But "print media is not going away in South Africa just yet" said Vin Crosbie, media consultant and lecturer at Syracuse University in the USA.

The way that the media works has been revolutionised by the internet and newspapers are sourcing news content and opinions from their readers. Newspapers are also presenting the news online, often as it happens, audibly, visually and interactively. But merely publishing an online version of the story published in the newspaper is not good enough and Crosbie said that newspapers should harness technology to improve print and online editions. "When the Grocott's print edition has a story about crime, the online edition could have a crime map, constantly updated using data from the police and Hi-Tec," he suggested.

Crosbie visited South Africa to conduct a workshop at Rhodes University's Sol Plaatje Institute which was attended by media professionals from various publications around the country, including Media24, The Big Issue and Muslim Views. Regarded as one of the most outspoken critics of the newspaper industry's response to the digital media revolution, Crosbie argued that countries like South Africa can learn from the mistakes of others.

With phones now increasingly being used to access the internet, and media institutions developing content specifically for cellphones, Crosbie expects it to be the best means of internet access for most South Africans. Crosbie said that the rapid improvement in technology means that millions of South Africans will soon be able to access the internet via their cellphones. People will have cheap, fast access to news and information online, and will be able to use their phones to contribute information and post their opinions.

Grocott's Mail is involved in citizen journalism projects with the journalism department at Rhodes, which has learners training to use their mobile phones to report news. While some journalists feel threatened by citizen journalism, Crosbie said that technological advancements actually make this a great time for journalism. He trains journalism students to investigate ways of harnessing the power of new technologies.

"Imagine getting your own personalised copy of Grocott's Mail", he said. "If there is a story about new property taxes, your copy would include a calculation specific to you and your neighbour's paper would be different." Crosbie reckons that Grocott's could soon be at the forefront of exciting developments in the newspaper world.

New printing machines will make it possible to print different versions of the same edition of a newspaper. Publications like this are currently available online, but Grocott's subscribers could soon choose to have articles in a range of languages, or to have more news from certain areas in Grahamstown said Crosbie. "The current printing machines use these big plates which means the editor has to decide what stories will appeal to the most people, but with this technology each reader's paper can be customised to suit his preferences."

A version of this article first appeared in Grocott's Mail: http://www.grocotts.co.za/content/print-media-still-survives-20-08-2009

12 August 2009

Jokes at Mosque this Friday!!

Do not be suprised if you hear a joke or two at Mosque this Friday. The Jamiatul Ulama, Council of Muslim Theologians in South Africa, in the Friday Lecture summary of their newsletter, encouraged Imams to speak about 'Light-heartedness in Islam'.

The Jamiat, as they are known on the streets, serves the spiritual needs of Muslims of South Africa, as it states on their website.

The summary states the "companions of the Prophet (pbuh) were serious people and were least heedless of the commands of Allah, yet they used to joke. Ibn Sireen was asked about the companions of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasalam, ‘Did they joke?’ He replied: ‘They were just like normal people (i.e. yes they did).’

It also includes examples from the life of the Prophet (pbuh) when he made jokes and it clearly claims that Islam does not prohibit joking and teasing. However, there are guidelines that it states needs to be followed.

"It is widely misunderstood that Islam is a religion of suppression and harshness, where laughing and joking is not permitted," the Jamiat newsletter states and seeks to challenge. A full copy of the newsletter is available at www.jamiat.co.za

Muslim comedians probably welcome statements like this :)