Here is his rough transcript of the call:
Why did Sainsbury’s remove all their kosher goods from their Holborn store the other day?
I wanted to find out what had happened, and hear the reasoning behind it. Here is what the Sainsbury’s “Careline” had to say.
– Careline, how can I help you?
* Hi I’m just calling to enquire about your kosher section in the Holborn store which I understand is completely empty of products.
– No it’s not.
* We’ll I’ve seen photographic evidence that it is.
– There was a problem yesterday… there was one store in particular decided to take off the kosher products because… um, there was going to be a bit of, uh… I’m trying to think of the word. I can’t think at the moment my mind just went blank. Somebody was going to try to cause an obstruction in the store so rather than people come out to the store and take kosher products off the shelf and whatever the manager decided to shelf… took them away and later on, I can assure you they are all back out on the shelf and in the freezers.
* Why is it considered a good reaction to remove products of interest to Jews from the shelves when there’s going to be some sort of violent intervention rather than to stop the violent intervention.
– We certainly don’t agree with anything like that but at the same time we can’t have anybody coming into the stores and pulling stuff and throwing stuff about the shop floor, so…
* But why don’t you stop them doing that? If I told you I was going to go into the store and start trashing Halal products from the shelves, would you remove them all?
– Of course not. that is a…
* But that’s what you did with the Kosher products.
– This was one store that decided to do that with the store manager, and it has all been rectified now.
* So you mean it was a mistake to do that?
– No, I didn’t say it was a mistake. You’re putting words in my mouth. I did say that it has been sorted out. There was an issue with it, and it has been sorted.
* But can I ask again, if you thought there was a threat that people were going to come into the store and trash all the halal products, Would you remove them all from the shelf in that store?
– But that’s because that’s not the case that we’re talking about.
* But it’s a comparison of the case, that’s what you did with the…
– It’s a comparison. You’re just saying that… if that happened. Well it didn’t happen so I’m not going to comment on it.
* But nor did the, nor did the kosher products happen, ‘case you removed them all. What I am trying to explain to you is that as a Jewish person is that there was a threat of… [she interrupts]… why don’t you let me finish my sentence? I’m asking you a question, you haven’t heard what I’m asking you.
* Why don’t you let me finish the sentence and then answer it?
– Finish your sentence, sir.
* As you told me there was a threat that people were going to come in and throw products onto the shop floor, you took the kosher products off the shelves so that Jewish people during that day would be unable to buy them., ad yet you can’t understand the comparison that if there were a similar threat to halal products you’ve told me you wouldn’t have the same line of action, and you can’t understand why that’s a fair comparison.
– I’m not commenting on it
* Well you did, you said you wouldn’t do it.
– Well, what I’m saying now is, we don’t comment on it. I can assure you I’ve got a lot of Jewish friends myself.
* No, I… I’m not accusing you of anything, I do understand that you’re not in that department…
– I’m not.
* … but as a Jewish customer of Sainsbury’s
* … I’m phoning to express my extreme concern that in a rising climate of antisemitism a particular Sainsbury’s store chose to combat threats against products of interest to Jews by removing those products, not by removing the threat, which seems to me the more reasonable thing to do if you don’t agree with the threat.
– Of course, but as I say,
* So call the police, though, if you think there’s gonna be violence in one of your stores.
– Police’ll be called, that’s what I’m saying, but by that time, by the time usually police are come to your store then things have already been done. So what I’m saying is, uh… something that was done and it’s been rectified now and I’m not willing to comment on it any more. As I say it has been sorted and it’s something that we do not, we totally we totally do not agree with.
* But the point is that when people try to bully Jews indirectly through Sainsbury’s like that, what you did was actually crumble under the threat, rather than close the store or call the police or get Sainsbury’s security to stop the threat.
– Then we’re going to get a lot more people all screaming and shouting and phoning us up saying “you’ve closed the store, why has the store been closed?” This has been happening…
* And you could say that it was because…
– … all over Britain, do you know what I mean? It has and it’s just one of these things and …
* I know it’s been happening because I’m a Jew and I’m aware of it, so that’s why it’s very disconcerting to people like me when we see that a shop like Sainsbury’s which doesn’t — I completely understand — it doesn’t condone those sorts of things but it crumbled under the bullying of a, of a… whether it’s a big crowd or not, a small group of people who bullied it into removing items from the shelves that Jews might want to buy, which of course has an effect on Jews that they feel they can’t go into that branch of Sainsbury’s on that day and buy those goods. That… you’ve got to understand that as you said, it’s happening all up and down the country, and so…
– Honestly I don’t think it’ll happen again. All I can say here is it has been rectified.
* What would happen the next time somebody threatens to do that to the store?
– I can’t talk about that sir, because you’re saying to me “what would happen”, that’s should’ve would’ve could’ve, uh uh, it’s not happened and as I say, all I can do is apologise for what happened yesterday and say to you that we’ll not comment any more on it.
* Do you think that there could be another threat of that type, though, or have you somehow removed the threat.
– Anything could happen to anybody and anything is, but I can’t comment on that, sir.
* But Sainsbury’s would presumably act in the same way if the same thing happened again?
– No I don’t think so because as I said to you it was one store that it happened in and it has been rectified. It didn’t happen across Britain, it only happened in that one store.
* And it won’t happen again?
– I can’t make assurances for that, I’m just telling that I won’ t comment on it and it won’t happen in that store again.
* And somebody I know asked the manager of that store why it happened and he said it’s because they don’t approve of what happened in Gaza.
– We if he’s told you that then that is total rubbish.
* Who, the person who told me the manager said that?
* Has it been investigated?
* Ok, so, There is an apology that it happened in that one store, but no guarantee that it wouldn’t happen again with a similar threat.
– Well I can’t guarantee anything in life. Nobody can.
* Ha. Well, you can guarantee not to take your own products off your own shelves—that’s an action that Sainsbury’s took.
– Well as I say,
* I know
– I think it’s awful, and I really do.
* Good. Well I’m pleased to hear that. I just wanted to phone in because I wanted to find out the, the honest truth of what happened, one reads a lot of stuff about this, so I wanted to get the clear line on it, and I also wanted to hear exactly that, and I think it’s important, by the way, I hope you don’t mind the call, I think it’s important that Sainsbury’s hear from their customers like myself who do feel very threatened by these sorts of things, you know, I think it’s important that you hear there’s lots of us out there as well who feel threatened by this.
– Totally. Totally ridiculous.
* Good well thank you…
– I can assure you that Sainsbury’s don’t go along with that, OK?
* Thank you
– OK, thank you
– Bye bye.
Here is his rough transcript of the call: