Boycott Pillsbury This Holiday Baking Season

When we think about Pillsbury we usually think about sweet treats and tasty rolls that make our cooking and baking easier. And of course, we think about the Doughboy and his cute laugh that we hear in commercials.

What we do not think about is the factories where these delicious products are made. Do you know where your pie crusts, crescent rolls, or Christmas cookie doughs were manufactured? It’s possible that they were made in an illegal Israeli industrial zone in occupied East Jerusalem.

Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal under international law and are built on land confiscated from Palestinians. Most Israeli settlements are residential, but there are several occupied areas which are industrial, including Atarot Industrial Zone in East Jerusalem, the settlement where General Mills has a factory that produces Pillsbury products.

Companies like General Mills that do business in illegal settlements exploit an unjust system for profit while ignoring international law. Some of them enjoy cheap land and cheap labor; some enjoy lax regulations and environmental protection standards. Without exception, all these companies directly contribute to the settlement economy and help continue a system of control and expropriation in denial of Palestinians’ basic rights.

For more than 50 years, Israel has denied Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories their basic civil, political, and human rights. And it’s getting worse. Just recently, the Israeli government classified 6 human rights organizations as terrorist groups, including an organization with which the UCC currently engages (Defense of Children International – Palestine) and one which we have supported in the past (Al-Haq). The evidence supporting this classification has been deemed vague and unsubstantiated by the United Nations and other international human rights organizations.

Today, more than ever, we need to demand an end to this illegal, immoral, and dangerous exploitative system of occupation.

In 2015, the United Church of Christ adopted a resolution entitled “A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions Toward A Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” This resolution called upon members of the UCC to “boycott goods identified as being produced in or using the facilities of illegal settlements located in the occupied Palestinian territories.” As part of that call, we are now encouraging a boycott of Pillsbury products as we have encouraged boycotts of PayPal and HP.

Recently, Ainsworth United Church of Christ of Portland, Oregon has committed to be a Pillsbury-free church. And in September, the Rev. Shari Prestemon, Conference Minister of the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ, read a statement outside General Mills’ headquarters during their 2021 shareholders meeting on behalf of the UCC.

Will you join us in the boycott of Pillsbury products in support of Palestinian human rights?

Want an alternative bread you can make to replace your savory Pillsbury products? The YWCA in Palestine has a food production project in Jericho that is a cooperative bakery. One of their participants shares a video of how to make manakeesh flatbread.

Rebekah Choate is the Global Advocacy and Education Associate for Global Ministries

Categories: Getting to the Root of It

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