A number of products and businesses which are said to have links with Israel - through production or investment - are being boycotted by some people in Blackburn.

From supermarkets to soft drinks, the Lancashire Telegraph has been informed there has been an increase in people boycotting shops and products in recent weeks.

It follows the conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, which sparked after a terrorist attack in Israel on October 7 in which hundreds of civilians were killed, injured or kidnapped.

Israel responded by bombing Gaza - claiming its missiles were aimed at Hamas targets - however in the violence at least 12,000 innocent Palestinians are believed to have died, many children.

Many thousands more have been displaced and there is a humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave.

It also harks back to previous concerns and anger over Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, with factories and offices being built there by a number of major firms, and businesses selling products to Israel or investing in businesses in the country.

Some people are also conflating Israel's offensive against Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation, after the October 7 attack to Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine.

It comes after demonstrations in recent weeks in Blackburn at businesses with links to Israel; Marks and Spencer - which was founded by a Jewish refugee and stocks Israeli products - saw a demonstrations; and orchestrated protests were held outside Barclays bank branches across the North West because it does business with companies that sell products all over the world - including in Israel.

Asda and Tesco

Mujahid Hussain, 48, said he no longer shopped at Tesco nor at Asda, comparing Israel's actions against Hamas to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

He said: “I stopped going to Tesco many years ago, after the last bombing of Gaza.

“I did go to Asda but then I wanted to find out why they gave £1 million to the Ukrainian appeal and then not the same to Palestine appeal?

“It makes sense to give to both appeals would it not?

“Also, Russian products were banned does that mean Israeli products will be too?”

Mr Hussain was asked why he was happy to shop at Asda before October 7, but declined to comment.

Asda was asked if it would be making a similar donation to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, or if it would be removing Israeli products from shelves, but did not respond.

Tesco has previously faced criticism from some pro-Palestine campaigners for stocking products made in Israel, and for investing in a company which makes self-service checkouts based in the country.

Starbucks and McDonald's

The Starbucks franchise has also received criticism, with the cafe in Haslingden Road facing a drop in custom.

Starbucks last month criticised its US-based union for posting “Solidarity with Palestine” on social media above an image of a Hamas bulldozer knocking down a fence during the group’s October 7 attacks on Israel.

Shamila, 23, stopped going to the store after reading about boycotts taking place in other parts of the world.

She said: “I know a lot of people who are just not going to places like Starbucks and McDonald’s anymore.

“The bombing of Gaza and the number of people who have stopped going to the franchises is still going.

“I think it is because people feel completely helpless and know the only genuine way they can make a difference is taking part in a boycott.

“I went to all the marches and it made little difference apart from made me feel I did something.

“By boycotting we can stand our ground.”

Both McDonald’s and Starbucks have publicly issued statements distancing themselves of ‘misinformation on social media’.

On its website, Starbucks says: "Rumours that Starbucks or Howard provides financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army are unequivocally false.

"Starbucks is a publicly held company and as such, is required to disclose any corporate giving each year through a proxy statement."

McDonald's came under fire by some after a francishee in Israel was reported to have given the nation's soldiers free meals.

McDonald’s said it "does not fund or support any governments involved in the conflict and any actions by local business partners were made independently without the fast food giant’s consent or approval".


One shopper also made the Russia-Israel conflation when he labelled Morrisons "insulting" for stocking Israeli products.

Iftikhar Hussain said: “A lot of Muslims shop here and have no clue. We need to be more aware of where to shop and who to give our business too.

“I just find it wrong that we have local stores stocking products from a nation that has just dropped hundreds of bombs on civilians.

“Stores stopped stocking Russian products but are happy to support Israel?

“The sad thing I know after a few weeks when the offers are out in the big supermarkets all of those boycotting will be lining up to get their hands on the discounted goods and Palestine will be a distant memory.”

Morrisons did not respond to a request over the stocking of products from Israel.


In Blackburn, a number of takeaways and restaurants had announced they would no longer be stocking brands like Coca Cola.

Coca-Cola has operations on occupied land which campaign groups claim means it "is profiting from Israel's illegal occupation and apartheid in Palestine", and a boycott Coca-Cola day was held last month.

Last Sunday, Kebabish in Whalley New Road, Blackburn, had posted on social media ‘Say no more #FreePalastine’ with a picture of Irn-Bru and Vimto among others.

The Khyber, Blackburn’s oldest curry house,has opted for Barr Cola, Irn-Bru and Rubicon drinks over Coca-Cola, while Carnivorez and Jaan’s Restaurant both announced they would also clearing their shelves of Coca Cola.

Asif Mahmud, a humanitarian activist, said: “Almost every supermarket will be selling goods from Israel so it is difficult for the consumer to boycott all these stores.

"I encourage all to adopt the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) which uses the historically successful method of targeted boycotts, inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement.

“We must strategically focus on a relatively smaller number of carefully selected companies and products for maximum impact.

“Too often, we have long lists going viral on social media do the exact opposite of this strategic and impactful approach.

"They include hundreds of companies, many without credible evidence of their connection to Israel’s regime of oppression against Palestinians, making them ineffective.’’