April 11, 2010
The objective of the bi-weekly Saturday anti-Israel protest outside Ahava in Covent Garden is to force the shop to lose trade and eventually close.
In addition to the protests, the activists are now resorting to litigation.
Ahava is an Israeli company that provides skin care products made from Dead Sea minerals. Its only UK shop is on Monmouth Street.
One activist told me at yesterday’s protest that they are suing Ahava for mislabeling goods. “Ahava’s going down,” he claimed.
40 anti-Israel activists stood outside Ahava on Saturday waving Palestinian flags and handing out leaflets to passers-by.
Headlined “Boycott Ahava” the leaflets claim Ahava’s products are “Stolen Goods” as they are “produce of the West Bank”. There was a small counter-demonstration of pro-Israel supporters.
After two hours the demonstrators moved on to the entrance to Natural History Museum in South Kensington where their ranks were swelled.
This time there were 70 anti-Israel activists to just one Israel flag-bearer; Jonathan Hoffman.
The second protest was aimed at the environment wildlife photography competition sponsored by Veolia.
Veolia is a British company that provides environmental services to councils like Camden. For example, it helps to prepare the ground for events taking place in Regent’s Park and cleans up afterwards.
Veolia also stands accused of helping to dump Israeli waste in the West Bank and generally profiting from the “illegal occupation”.
Whoever can categorically say that the occupation is either legal or illegal is better than some of the wisest legal brains in the world.
But for these self-proclaimed lawyers there is no doubt; Israel’s occupation is illegal. However, when you ask many anti-Israel activists to cite any relevant court decisions or resolutions they go mysteriously blank.
And while some of these anti-Israel protestors may be motivated by dark forces others are not even anti-Zionist. However misguided, the latter honestly hold the belief that Israel is at fault by occupying the Palestinians. For them, if Israel unilaterally withdraws from the West Bank then peace would miraculously break out.
And when I say “dark forces” one cannot help but recall the notorious imagery of Jewish shops being singled out for boycott in Germany in the 1930s.
Such an analogy was rejected by an activist I spoke to because “these protests are valid as Israel is controlling the Palestinians and their resources and abusing their human rights and committing war crimes”.
When I asked him why he didn’t protest against and boycott Chinese, Iranian and Sudanese businesses, for example, he replied that “those countries didn’t create Israel and aren’t supported by the British government like Israel is”.
Being British he obviously feels a heavy weight of responsibility.
I suggested that maybe he should then boycott American and British goods due to the anti-war movement’s claims of high civilian casualties in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He laughed and dismissed this as a “silly idea”.
Of course boycotting America and British goods is a “silly idea” as it would be impossible to survive, but in only boycotting Israeli goods these activists are simply being hypocritical.
That said, if the unlikely occurs and the anti-Israel protestors manage to close down Ahava it will be one of the biggest boosts in their well financed campaign of delegitimising Israel.
Ahava in Covent Garden is profitable and the manager continues to claim that the anti-Israel protests actually attract business by drawing attention to the shop.
I hope she is right but, meanwhile, the defamation of Israel continues apace.
For photos of the protests go to: