The subtle delegitimisation of Israel

By Jennifer Lipman
July 28, 2011

It was with a heavy heart that I wrote this story – about the curious absence of Israel from Pull and Bear's global list.

I like the chain and shop there sporadically; in fact, the very reason I noticed the board was because I was buying a pair of Pull and Bear jeans (grey, a £20 bargain, since you ask).

I'm not going to stop shopping there; I don't believe in boycotts and don't consider it a step in the right direction to fight ignorance with the monetary equivalent of stamping your feet.

Nor do I think Pull and Bear have a problem with Israel; if they did then they clearly wouldn't have 22 stores there, they'd boycott it. But that's the point.

They don't have a problem with Israel – they just don't want the people who do have a problem with Israel to know.

It's not worth upsetting the Israel-bashers; not when you've got stores in almost every corner of the Arab world. One only has to look to the protests outside Ahava to know that politics is something the sensible business-owner would wish to avoid on the high street.

If people were openly bashing businesses with links to Bahrain, or Saudi Arabia, perhaps they wouldn't feature on Pull and Bear's list. But they're not, so they do.

So Pull and Bear chose the quiet life (they say it was simply an oversight, but the numbers – Israel is one of the most Pull and Bear-heavy countries around - suggest otherwise). I don't blame them for that, but at the same time it's this kind of subtle distancing from Israel that worries me.

Don't talk about Israel, don't associate yourself. Keep any links to it under the radar, keep your head down. Then, when everyone's bashing it, you'll be fine.

Pull and Bear are quite happy to sell to Israelis and quite happy to make money from its citizens. But apparently, they don't want anyone to know. All the benefits; none of the costs.

As a way to delegitimise Israel, this may not be as bad as the boycotters with their spurious and unsubstantiated claims.

But it's not good either. Being a bystander to a crime might not be the same as being the perpetrator, but it doesn't show one in a great light either.

The fact that shops, or singers, or anyone of us, feel the need to hide a connection to Israel is a worrying trend.



Mon, 08/01/2011 - 16:42

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This is why people boycott Israel:

1 August, 2011

Theatre under occupation

Following Wednesday 27th July attack on The Freedom Theatre the detained persons, Adnan Naghnaghiye, head technician at the theatre and Bilal Saadi, chairperson of the association, were taken to the Jalame and Meggiddo high security prisons inside Israel. Their lawyer has been denied the right to talk to or visit either of them. The reason given by the Israeli army is that the detained persons have "acted against the security of the region". The Israeli security service have extended the administrative detention (a procedure that is illegal in accordance to international law) to 4 August. Following this their lawyer Smadar Ben-Natah is going to petition the supreme court.

Jonatan Stanczak, one of the co-founders of The Freedom Theatre responds to the claims: "The reason behind the arrest is absurd and Kafka like. Although theatre and culture can be percieved by some as subversive, this kind of general accusation is nothing but nonsense".

The army spokesperson has claimed that the Israeli army did not raid the theatre. Photo and film documentation confirms that the army raid resulted in the shattering of most of the windows of the theatre's multimedia centre and office building. Witnesses also report harassment and threats to several theatre employees.

"Raiding densely populated Palestinian civilian areas in the middle of the night to carry out wanton arrests is common practice for the Israeli army, it is only that this time it befell people related to The Freedom Theatre" says Jacob Gough at The Freedom Theatre.

Two Palestinians were killed - one shot in the head during an occupation army raid (in the dead of night) on a refugee camp.

This causes people to boycott and protest. Stop killing people, stop holding people in detention without charge, stop intimidating and terrorising civilian populations.


Mon, 08/01/2011 - 16:45

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'Being a bystander to a crime might not be the same as being the perpetrator, but it doesn't show one in a great light either'.

Crimes are permitted in the OPT every day, day after day by Israel.

And not a word of protest?


Mon, 08/01/2011 - 17:48

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According to legal historian Assaf Likhovski, the prevailing view is that Palestinian identity originated in the early decades of the twentieth century. The first widespread use of "Palestinian" as an endonym to refer to the nationalist concept of a Palestinian people by the Arabs of Palestine began prior to the outbreak of World War I. The first demand for national independence of the Levant was issued by the Syrian-Palestinian Congress on 21 September 1921. It is only in the last 40 years following the setting up of the PLO by the arch-terrorist Arafat that the term came to signify not only a place of origin, but the sense of a shared past and future in the form of a Palestinian state. So how can the area known as Judea and Samaria which have been claimed by the Jews for over 3000 years be occupied "Palestinian" territory when they never had sovereignty over it?


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