How to beat the boycott — and help the homeless


Pro-israel activists have come up with a novel way to say ‘No’ to boycott campaigners and help the homeless at the same time — and the JC is proud to lend its support.

Grassroots group Sussex Friends of Israel is urging people around the country to buy Israeli products and donate them to homeless charities.

IsrAction Day is set to take place on December 21, the Sunday during Chanucah.

The Brighton-based group came up with the idea after mounting demonstrations in the summer in support of the local Israeli-owned EcoStream store, which had been targeted by boycotters.

To help raise awareness of the issue, they handed out snacks to passers-by.

“There was always food left over, which we took to a homeless shelter. It stemmed from that,” said Fiona Sharpe, a member of the SFI executive. “It’s a really simple idea. A perfect way to do a little bit of good and support Israel.”

SFI, along with grassroots activists North-West Friends of Israel in Manchester (NWFOI), launched the initiative this week and already it has attracted support from groups in Nottingham and Birmingham.

The Israel Solidarity Campaign is co-sponsoring the initiative.

“We’ve had three organisations contact us from the United States asking how they can be involved,” said Ms Sharpe. “Anyone can take part, groups or individuals. It’s not a political statement, but a way of doing good and remembering where we come from.

"At Chanucah you spread a bit of light and think of those less fortunate than ourselves.”

Raphi Bloom, co chair of NWFOI, said: “IsrACTION Day offers an opportunity for the UK Jewish community to counter the boycott movement and show our support for Israeli products in stores that have been targeted by the BDS campaigners, whilst also supporting our local non Jewish and Jewish homeless people”.

If you want to get involved, go to the IsrACTION Day page on Facebook.

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