‘It’s a witch hunt’: Derbyshire clothing brand boycotted over Israeli-born owner

The co-owner of activewear brand 3rd Rock said he has been branded a ‘bloodthirsty baby killer’


Climbers for Palestine targets the British business 3rd Rock

The owners of a British outdoor clothing brand have described the boycott of their business – because one of them is Israeli – as a “witch hunt”.

3rd Rock, a sustainable active-wear brand based in Derbyshire aimed at climbers, has been targeted online by anti-Israel campaigners, with owner Guy Mor claiming he has been labelled a “genocide denier” and a “bloodthirsty baby killer”.

Mor, who is a climber and joined his wife Jess’s business in 2017, responded under his own name to comments posted on the Climbers for Palestine page about Israel being a so-called apartheid state and committing genocide. 

An administrator of the Climbers for Palestine page then hid Mor’s comments, connected him to 3rd Rock and indirectly called for a boycott of the business, with other members of the group joining in.

“Climbers! If you’re buying from 3rd Rock, you’re buying from Zionists,” a post on the Climbers for Palestine page reads. The accompanying text states: “Hey, look, we’re not telling you to do anything. We’re just saying we ain’t buying their s*** anymore.”

Commenting on the reaction from fellow users, Mor, who has worked with Palestinians on the West Bank and advocates for Palestinian rights, said: “They called me a Zionist genocide denier, a bloodthirsty baby killer, that I was a member of the ‘IOF’, the ‘Israeli occupation force’.”

“I just wrote a couple of respectful comments, and they took them out of context. I never said I support genocide. I think there should be a ceasefire as soon as possible, and my view is that the way to get there is to release the hostages.”

Mor was quickly blocked from the Instagram page, but other members with access sent him screenshots of the slurs as well as the supportive comments they left in response before they were deleted by the group.

Mor said of 3rd Rock: “As a brand, we're not involved with the war in Gaza. Also, 3rd Rock doesn't take a political stance at all...We feel it is absurd. There's no conversation. This all stems from an Instagram post by an anonymous person that we don't know. They went off on one and they got thousands of likes and people blindly believed whatever they said, and that was it.”

In a post on his own page Mor wrote: “Over the last few days, some people were outraged and disappointed in our business and rightly so: An Instagram account and some of their followers have been spreading misinformation and hate about me and our company that spread like wildfire. [They were] trying to shame me and 3rd Rock, resorting to personal insults and spreading hate.”

He continued: “I was called a ‘bloodthirsty baby killer’, ‘ignorant’ and [was told] ‘I know nothing about the conflict (me, who was born in Israel, worked with Palestinians in the West Bank and was a political “left” [supporter] advocating for Palestinian rights)”.

Mor added: “I do believe that Palestinians have a right to a state and I do think there are a lot of wrongdoings by Israel in the West Bank...I personally have probably done more to promote the Palestinian cause than a lot of [members of the Climbers for Palestine group].”

The company's CEO, fashion designer Jess Mor said: “From a brand perspective, we haven't publicised our opinion. We want peace. We want a ceasefire, we want all the suffering to stop, but they have taken it upon themselves to not let Guy have an independent voice or free speech, and they have come down on him… It's a big witch hunt. Anybody who goes online and sticks up for people of a similar viewpoint are deleted and not allowed a voice either.”

She added that 3rd Rock, which employs seven people in the Midlands, has used factories owned by both Palestinians and Israelis: “We're a positive and inclusive brand.”

Since the call for a boycott on Instagram, brand ambassadors have pulled out of further collaborations with the business, while the organisers of an event later this month that 3rd Rock sponsored last year have said they now feel too uncomfortable to be associated with the brand.

Mor said: “Some [Instagram users] have posted stories about how they can't be associated with a brand that supports genocide or the suffering of Palestinians. But 3rd Rock has always been about inclusivity and supporting minorities.”

He added that some of their climbing ambassadors admitted that they left mainly because they have a fear of being “shamed” or “cancelled”.

Since some of the ambassadors posting have thousands of followers, the couple are concerned about the scope of the impact on their business longer term. Mor said he has received several messages from other Jewish climbers saying that they no longer feel safe in the climbing community in the UK, because of the violent discourse online.

“They sent me messages of support and said thank you for speaking up. They don’t like that there's no conversation, just shaming, cancelling, blaming, boycotting. I think that is typical with the Pro-Palestine movement.”

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