Some activists in Bristol – appalled by Israeli actions in Gaza and possibly spurred on by oaf Galloway urging protesters to “shut down Israel’s shops” – yesterday took their protest to Jewish-owned retailer Marks & Spencer in Broadmead, writes Bristol Indymedia.
The protesters argue M&S “support illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land” and “they support the ultra-right wing Israeli government”, albeit only through trade.
Now considering the unsavoury history of antisemitism in Europe and its early expression through the targeting of Jewish businesses, all in the quite recent past, you have to wonder if this is not an unwise and potentially counter-productive tactic by the protesters.
Especially as any effect they have will not be on the Israeli government as they say or on “Israel’s’ shops”, whatever that rather vague term means, but on a British Company famously in Jewish ownership.
These protesters are headed down a dangerous path. While they’re unlikely to be anti-semitic themselves and would be devastated by such an accusation, they need to consider the context they’re operating in quite carefully.
Hamas, the Palestinian group they romantically describe as a “resistance movement” and support are openly antisemitic and many of their fellow travelers in the pro-Palestinian camp in the UK, such as Islamist groups and the oddities of 9/11 truth movement, are antisemitic too.
In this context, is taking your protest to Jewish-run businesses in British ownership really that wise?
‘…you have to wonder if this is not an unwise and potentially counter-productive tactic by the protesters.’
In my view direct action/civil disobedience should: appeal directly to the sense of justice of the majority; not reject the rule of law; be non-violent; accept lawful punishment that results; be a shrewd tactical move (why do it otherwise?); be consistent with what is advocated.
Hmmm think I’ll give that one a miss, I don’t really like to see Nazi flags on my high streets, even in “protest”. Apart from everything else (like the whole Muslim / Jew holocaust thing), it has something to do with living in a part of town that was levelled by the fuckers the first time around.
You can still see the schrapnel wounds in the few pre-war structures still standing around here; our churchyard has a chunk of tramrail stuck in it that was blown clear over the tops of neighbouring houses.
So no, I don’t think I’ll be hanging around with people who think it’s a jolly jape to wave Nazi flags in front of Jewish owned businesses in central Bristol thanks.
Actually, that picture’s a bit misleading. It’s from London’s demo on Saturday and I edited out the bit of text directly referring to it. However, it does show what some in the Pro-Palestinian camp are about.
On Saturday’s Demo there were a few reports of anti-semitic placards
Here’s a report from David Rosenberg from the Jewish Socialist Group which I think puts it in context.
I would question the effectiveness of this protest, but as you said the pictures are from London. – I agree that placards super imposing a swastika with the Star of David are offensive.
Israel has been occupying Gaza and the West Bank for forty years, and illegally building settlements in the West Bank. The country was also created by the actions of the Irgun and Stern terror gangs, who killed a large number of British servicemen in the last two years of the Palestinian Mandate.
If sanctions and boycotts were acceptable against businesses with South African links in the 1980s, then boycotts of businesses with Israeli links are equally justified.
As for the swastika on the star of David – Israel is the most facist and racist country in the world at the moment, so they are totally justified. Any Jew who does not like them should do their bit to change the policies of the Israeli government in the occupied territories.
Thing is that there are goods from Israel in many shops, not just M&S. Sanctions and boycotts of all goods is very different from targetting one particular British company.
I’m just not fucking interested. It’s bad enough that Israel is turning the Gaza strip into a parking lot paved with corpses, worse still that certain people are using this to stir up violence and ethnic strife back here.
Whatever happened to the pacifists?
BTW, nigelegg, as a British person I find the use of swastikas and other Nazi-related stuff (like that stiff-armed salute of Hamas / Hezbollah) extremely offensive; it has extremely dark and sinister associations for all Europeans.
We’re always hearing about cultural sensitivity, so how about a little bit of that going the other way? Never wave that fucking piece of Nazi shit anywhere on this entire continent, and people might be interested in hearing what you’ve got to say.
That said you can stick your slimy racist shit-stirring where the sun don’t shine. The policies of the Israeli government are no more the responsibility of individual Jews than the policies of the Ayatollah is the responsibility of individual Muslims.
I repeat, take your communal strife and your sectarian, racist shit stirring and stuff them up your arse mate.
I have to agree with much of what you say. However, those rabbis who were sent on a fact-finding mission to Palestine and reported to the First Zionist Congress in 1897: “the bride is beautiful, but she is married” were speaking a profound truth and warning. This warning was trodden underfoot as the nationalists used any means necessary to gain what they wanted. The Zionist project was supported for many crucial decades by large parts of the Left also.
Many Haredim opposed Zionism from the start. Perhaps they have been tragically proved right.
The whole issue is that Hamas has been indiscriminately firing rockets into Israel. Half a million Israelis live in constant fear that they will be killed or injured by missile strikes. They deserve NOT to have that fear. Everyone whines about the Gazans, but they miss the point that if Hamas stopped firing the rockets then the Israelis would withdraw.
No wonder supporters of Hamas fly the Swastika – it is the most appropriate flag for them to fly.
Racism is MADNESS, and Hamas seem to be about as racist as any organisation can get – far, far more than the BNP for example.
Why are people complaining that a decent, first world state is attempting to stamp out racist aggression??
History has told us that violence will achieve nothing (look at N Ireland) – its not until both sides can work out a lasting solution will all this violence stop.
Dropping phosphorus bombs on a civilian population(Israel) or firing rockets indestrimantly into towns will only cause more blodshed on both sides.
On the diplomacy note – WHERE IS TONY BLAIR?? Isn’t he supposed to be solution to the middle east problem?!
Sixty years is a short time in culture clashes and the problem caused at the creation of Isreal — the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Arabs — has still to be resolved. The descendants of these refugees now number in their millions.
To my mind the nub of the issue is this: Isreali citizenship — and right of abode — is only open to Jewish people. There are Druze, Bedu and other minority Israelis, but if a Druze from Canada applied to immigrate to Israel, what would the answer be? Meanwhile, Jewish Russians, Ethiopians, even a rather wacky bunch of African Americans are allowed to live in Israel if they wish. So you get my point. The only conclusion is that this policy is a racist one. In the aftershock of the Holocaust, perhaps it was convenient for the Great Powers to not think in those terms. They just wanted rid of the Jewish problem. Perhaps the post-war morality was different to what it is now. The point is, today in light of the region’s many wars and occupation, Israel is a racist state. Very different to, but comparable with RSA circa 1980. To blame all Jewish people for this is like blaming all whites for appartheid.
It’ll take decades to resolve though. They only way out is for Arab neighbors to posture themselves toward the West, enhance democracy and civil rights — so Israel becomes the region’s pariah state, not its bastion of freedom.
Israel is a well established state and any attempt to unravel the past 60 years or so back to 1948 would ultimately fail. There was peace and Israel actively pursued an extention to the ceasefire however Hamas wasn’t interested. Hamas decided it wanted more and decided to bait Israel into a violent responce where they (Hamas) could claim to be the victim of Israelis and squeeze yet more concessions from the Israel through pressure from the international community.
They baited Israel by refusing to extend the ceasefire and started firing rockets into Israeli territory when an election was close. The Israeli government caught in a catch 22 decided to go for the election win and declared war on Hamas. What Hamas failed to realise was how far Israel was prepared to go and how shakey international condemnation would be. Israel’s arab neighbours have largely stood back and done nothing but complain and protest there has been no invasion or full scale attacks from Lebanon or Syria. Hamas’s gamble has failed and the deaths of hundreds of people are on their heads not Israel’s. Hamas is trying to bluff it out and hopes someone steps in and says enough (fat chance).
I think some of you folks, who don’t have family in Palestine, ought to calm down, especially badnewswade. It is easy to equate the actions of nazis who bombed the Jewish ghettos in Poland after the WWII uprising, with Israeli’s who are bombing the Gaza ghetto, that they created! So I wouldn’t be Offended by Protesters pointing out the similarities and also stating what is known of M&S’s Zionist links – check Indymedia.
The Palestinians are acused of commiting crimes when their only crime has to have been in the way of Zionist collanisation and to have fought this at great cost. Those of you who know your history will realise that arabs and the minority jews lived happily along side each other in Palestine, until the Zionist Israel project came about, helped very much by us wonderful Brits from Balfour to Blair, who’s leadership contest was bought by the way by Michael ‘thank you for the honour’ Lord £ Levy, friend of Neo Nazi Labour friends of Israel – who gained a nice war in Iraq to Israels benefit out of it and silence over Lebenon and Gaza attrocities! Levy’s son worked for Ehud Barak the Israeli Defense(war) Minister, look it up on wiki.
No one wants to blame individual jews (many are frightingly aware of what is happening in their name), the same as with individual Germans and WWII which indeed left it’s dreadful mark on Bristol, however the Zionist financiers are extremely powerful and are running the US via AIPAC and International Capitalism/Globalisation. Rahm Emanuel has been chosen by Obama as Chief of Staff – check him out and yes he is/was an Israeli!
Great Grandaddy Bush by the way financed Hitler, so the facist tag sticks on these feckers! Israel is the US proxy in the middleeast and does the dirty work in stopping strong Arab states from developing, so that the US can control oil resources! These Zionist are happy to spread their propaganda that poor old Israel is under the cosh ,which most jews and white westerners fall for – lets get the balance right Israel has nukes and US backing, Hamas homemade rockets with 22kg warheads!
Israel also unbelievably created Hamas, to bring about divide and rule with Fattah (PLO), it seems to have however backfired a tad, although Israel does not want peace, much as the US doesn’t, their armament industries make a shed load out of wars and who sponsored al Quaida against the Russians in Afghanistan? As much as Al Quaida is a construction of the CIA Hamas is a Creation of Mossad – According to Zeev Sternell, historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “Israel thought that it was a smart ploy to push the Islamists against the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO)”.
Wisen up and realise these feckers are creating a new world order, false flag activities are not new – those of you that think 911 was masterminded by half a dozen malcontents in an Afghan cave (another ilegal war over access to gas reserves) need a reality check – WTC7 not even hit by a 911 plane is convieniently flattened to cover the tracks of the feckers that planned this, as well as covering up the Enron fiasco, whose paper work was stored there. See BBC clip on utube this was announced before it even fell – type this in watch?v=C7SwOT29gbc.
The world is a very sh1tty and scarey place today, don’t believe your government who are too attached to this new world order – that Brown constantly keeps mentioning!
Jolly blogger. You seem to be forgetting why Hamas — and the other rocket launchers ( they are not the only ones) — even exist. They are not attacking Israel for no reason. And as for Israel being a well established state — I’d hate to see a poorly established one in action. If you mean that the people in Israel now call that land home, then yes you are right. No point telling them otherwise. But the same needs to agreed for the people that lived there just two generations ago. Nobody thinks it should all go back to the start, but perhaps we should consider the barriers to equity and justice that exist.
As for shouting in M and S, well that’s just a bunch of attention seekers. Who’s the next target — Ali G merchandising or tottenham hotspur? I believe a solution is not of the hands of outsiders. Even the US are stymied. It has to be remembered that their aid flows into Egypt and Jordan at just as high a rate as it does to Israel.
Anyone who tries to justify a swastika over the Star of David is a racist shit. The only reason people do it is to bring up the Holocaust and get as much shock as you can because you idiots can’t argue an intelligent point. It doesn’t shock me half the stuff people say about Jews anyway. The Holocaust gave people can excuse to be quietly antisemitic again. If the Holocaust happened once and we’re all appalled then how can anyone be antisemitic? It’s just politics, right? I fucking hate people. It has nothing to do with Israel being fascist or racist, you just want to shock and be offensive. The issue in Israel is racial, just ask any Arab Jew who gets shit of the Israeli government but you ignorant fools like to talk about the entire Jewish population as if my Jewish bredrin in Stoke Newington and Plaistow all the way to my family in Australia have anything to do with Israel. Also boycotting ANY country’s produce is an act of hatred towards their people- the workers, the civillians. The people you call innocent. All you idiots who justify antisemitism and swastikas are doing is carrying that torch of left-wing antisemitism that has existed since God knows when. Even my #1 Jewish homeboy Marx messed up in that respect, sadly.
No side has a right to bomb the other. Israel say they’d stop bombing if Hamas stopped. Thing is, Hamas are bombing because Israel has been strangling the people of Gaza with their sanctions and blockades and everything else. It’s Israel’s fault they’re being attacks but it’s not a justification. A good banner I saw in the Mirror said ’11 wrongs don’t make 870 rights’ which was 11 Israeli lives don’t justify the Palestinian deaths. All of this is rubbish and both sides deserve no defence. However some idiots claiming to be fighting for Palestine just add fuel to the filthy flames by throwing even more hatred into the mix.
Keep your hatred to governments, not people.
There are bare errors in that message I’m just really angry so decipher it yourselves. 😐
For an example of a poorly established state look no further than Zimbabwe, a state only 28 years old and already it’s a basket case going to hell in a hand basket. You missunderstand my point, what I’m trying to say is we have to make the best of a bad situation and attempt to rescue what we can to build a better future for Palestine and Israel.
Sadly this will not happen until there is a lasting and meaningful peace. Israel will not have the in-the-interests-of-national-security excuse for treating those non-jews differently from the Jewish Israelis. When people aren’t worrying about war they pay more attention to the current injustices and say “hey that’s not right!”
Your opinion on the ‘protest’ in M&S is spot on.
Mike Chappell // January 12, 2009 at 4:03 pm
I think some of you folks, who don’t have family in Palestine, ought to calm down, especially badnewswade. It is easy to equate the actions of nazis who bombed the Jewish ghettos in Poland after the WWII uprising, with Israeli’s who are bombing the Gaza ghetto…. etc etc”
I don’t give a fig Mike, my first instinct on seeing somebody waving a swastika is to think “Nazi!” and want to kick them in the balls.
We just ran those fuckers out of Bedminster for Christs sake!
You need to have a bit of a think about PR methinks.
Well said Ella & Bad news wade
One doesnt need to use Anti Semitic imagery to argue against the actions of the Israeli state, which I’ve been doing for most of my life.
Anti-semites like all racists can F**K off!
This is a very strange post, Bristol Blogger. You and some of the right wing nutters on this comments page are the only ones making any connection between opposing Israeli violence and colonisation and being anti-Semitic. The massive protests in London the last two weeks have been full of Jewish and Israeli people. Marks & Spencer isn’t targetted because it’s owned by Jewish people, whether or not that’s true, but because it’s a high profile supporter of an apartheid state selling products illegally made or grown on occupied land. There have been protests against Lloyds, against Starbucks, against some Dead Sea cosmetics company I can’t recall the name of. There are ongoing actions in Bristol against Boeing and Raytheon who sell weapons to Israel and there have been protests in London outside the embassies of the USA and Arab states like Egypt.
Those committed to justice in Palestine have no time for any sort of anti-Semitism. This is a great blog, but you come across like a confused dilettante here, mate.
This is largely a debate about and of the left in this country. Quite an important one. Labelling those you disagree with right-wing doesn’t really get us anywhere. (Who are the “right wing nutters” on here by the way?)
Does that include Hamas, Hezbollah and the various Muslim Brotherhood factions who are openly anti-semitic and are supported by some groups on the British left?
Surely anti-semitism needs to be robustly discussed and debated in this kind of context rather than brushed under the carpet as “dilettante”? Again this doesn’t really take us anywhere.
Who are the “right wing nutters” on here by the way? “Panther” and “the jolly blogger”. They offer the standard reactionary cliches that pop up all over the place. Half-truths, lies and excuses for ongoing violence.
But of course you’re quite right that Hamas and Hizbullah adopt anti-Jewish slogans – though to call them anti-Semitic is a little odd since they’re Arab groups – as do Israel’s allies in parts of the Arab world, such as Lebanese fascist groups. (Then you’ve got racist groups in the UK like the BNP and far right parties across Europe who support Israel, too. And the racism of Zionism itself, of course). My point was, as you say, concerned with the left in the UK and those mobilising boycotts of certain businesses. These campaigns are not being run from bunkers in South Beirut. Now, I notice in “Palestwhine 2” your mentioning that the CEO of Starbucks is Jewish which is total news to me and doesn’t make a bit of difference. You are viewing this at the level of ethnicity which is really the opposite of the views of the advocates of the boycotts. Some of the biggest cheers at the rally in London came for the anti-Zionist Jewish speaker and the condemnation of Arab states.
If you want to make the point that apartheid policies need to be challenged but we mustn’t lose the support of moderates by allowing our motives to be misunderstood by people perhaps not used to left politics or how consumer boycotts works, such as in the case of apartheid South Africa, or fair trade coffee or sweatshops or baby milk, etc. then you’re quite right, this is an important consideration. But if this is your concern you shouldn’t house your comments in such disrespectful and petulant language. “Palestwhine” makes it sound like this is a comparatively petty and trifling matter, such as some intrigue in the City Council. Nearly 1000 people have been killed, mate. For what it’s worth I think you’re barking up the wrong tree and the associations that you are making about individuals ethnic backgrounds are utterly irrelevant to the people doing the campaigns, but if you want to discuss matters you need to do it in good faith, not by mocking people concerned with an ongoing violence. It’s disrespectful and even ugly.
and on it goes…………..forever
Just out of curiosity, Snowflake, what did your keen nose for sniffing out “right wing nutters” tell you about the following pro-Palestinian comment, from someone after Panther and JB?
“the Zionist financiers are extremely powerful and are running the US via AIPAC and International Capitalism/Globalisation.”
Palestwhine is just right. A bunch of middle class wusses and their right wing religious buddies whining about a conflict that’s been going on since Biblical times due to the ingrained intransigence and racism of both sides.
Empires rise and fall, but the palestwhine goes on. And on. And on. What pisses me off is the hijcking of resources; the division and splitting that the whole palestard movement fosters, mainly because of the large anti-semite contingent.
Face it – these dudes weren’t smashing up Russian businesses and boycotting vodka when Grozny was being levelled, were they? They didn’t stop buying African products when the killing in Darfur and other places there reached fever pitch, did they? Why? Because it wasn’t plastered over the newspapers every day for weeks on end, that’s why.
You’re being had. The ruling class have got you to take your eyes off the prize; the real heavy shit which is happening; the ongoing Iraq bloodbath and economic armageddon. So it’ll be that much easier for them to keep killing Iraqis in industrial quantities and to starve the working class into even greater submission, all while some very dodgy people make racism mainstream again.
Well I want no part of it.
what did your keen nose for sniffing out “right wing nutters” tell you about the following pro-Palestinian comment, from someone after Panther and JB? Well just some conspiracy fucknuttery that I ignored til you made me go read it. Thanksalot.
I certainly woud encourage people to support peace in the middle east and protest against Israeli war crimes, there just is no need to use anti semitism in doing so.
Bad News Wade – I would question the fact that you say there is a big anti -semite contingent, out of a march of thousands only a few were spotted, I think 3 or 4 disgraceful, but not a massive amount.
There are quite a few Jewish people who support equal rights for Palestinian people, whether thats a one or two state solution.
When people come out with anti semitism then its another step back for peace in the region, in fact they are aiding the israeli extreme right, who are at this moment trying to ban Arab Israeli politcal parties, so much for “the only democracy in the middle east”
Badnewswade, I fear you are correct. We are all being sucked squabbling down the black hole of the Unholy Land into wider war.
That is, after all, how they (temporarily) solved the last Depression of their insane economic fantasy of perpetual motion, sorry, growth, wasn’t it.
for those that don’t think hamas is anti semetic, i suggest you read their charter.
as for any posters advising me to check out indymedia’s website, i would rather stick pins in my eyes!!!! 😯
the israeli’s may have acted with oppression & brutality, but Hamas must take their share of the blame for the carnage & the current situation, in my opinion.
Let’s have a look at Snowflake’s arguments here:
1. People who support Israel are right wing
2. Some tedious semantics on the meaning of “anti-semitism” although everyone knows exactly what I’m saying.
3. Everything I say is the truth. Everything they say is lies and propaganda
4. Islamism and its anti-semitism is only found in bunkers in the Mid East, not on the streets of the UK.
5. Some Jewish people agree with me.
6. People need to be taught to understand my politics
7. Israel/Palestine is the most important issue in the world. Ever.
8. You’re a populist
9. I have no sense of humour.
And you’re a member of the SWP and I claim my five pounds.
There seem to be some people who are offended by the symbolism used by some of these protestors and do not understand what is being implied – lets state some facts and what I see is the real issue.
The swastika :- used by religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, before being hijacked by the Nazis and now unfortunately identified with fascism.
Star of David hijacked by Zionists ( Zionism you could call Jewish nationalism ) who created modern Israel in Palestine and ethnically cleansed it, with international capitalist backing. It’s on the Israeli Flag by the way!
Swastika overlaying the Star of David = the connection, by many, of fascism with the Zionist movement whose aim is the creation of the Israeli Jewish state (Arabs not included) in Palestine, although hard line Zionists want an expanded Israeli state from the Nile in Egypt to the Euphrates in Iraq – the 2 blue bands on the Israeli flag! Does the Iraq war make any sense now!
The term Semite refers broadly to speakers of a language group which includes both Arabs and Jews, although it would seem that the term anti-Semite can only be used when abuse is towards Jews?
Unfortunately people are being simplistic in there usage of the term racist, if someone bombs the sh1t out of you what are you going to call them? Racism is a natural response to aggression especially when people feel helpless. I take great stead in highlighting the damage in Bristol by the Luftwaffe to every German I meet, however I would be simple if I was to blame all Germans for the sins of a few of their Nazi forefathers who brought grief on them all, it’s easy to do though!
It is also easy to sit here in safety and belittle the Palestinians or those who protest against the effects of Zionism for being anti-Semitic – don’t get caught in this tangled net that Zionists love to throw. The Jewish people have been fooled (not all, there are some courageous voices speaking out), like many others, into thinking that their safety is linked to Israel, when the opposite is true. The real racists are the ones who would happily bomb the Israelis and Arabs together creating an Armageddon – these religeous nutters exist in he US and they need an Israeli state to enact their end time prophecy.
Israel is the US’s proxy – the war in Iraq has however also been on Israel’s behalf, Israel has pushed for war in Iran and has been training the Georgian military from where it was easier to attack by air. Israel is probably the most dangerous state in the world after the US, although they are visibly connected. There have/will be wars and attacks from Israel to the countries of Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and the most dangerous conflict already started Pakistan (nuclear war!). Now look at the context of Israel’s attack on Palestinians and say it is not the most important conflict in the world – if Israel can’t be reigned in over it’s terrible abuse of Palestinians what’s it’s next step and how do you stop it?
Lastly it’s a shame that the Bristol Blogger had to divert attention from the terrible situation in Palestine with such an unfeeling headline, a little research would have shown that M&S do support massively the Israeli regime and have very strong links, through Simon Marks with it’s Zionist creation. Nearly a thousand, mainly civilians with many women and children, have died, (is this number the Israeli target),and many thousands terribly injured after already enduring a savage Israeli blockade of food, fuel and medical supplies. If it was another state other than Israel doing this there would certainly be more anger going around and International sanctions against those who commit such attrocities – Israel has however been given preferred partner trading status by the EU – ask yourself where the moral answer is!
For those who like their politics tinged with humour :-
Someone brave enough to speak out on US media.
Just give us some evidence that the UK boycott is driven by racism, BB. Give us some evidence and I’ll support you 100% in trying to stop it. Give us some evidence that all the products listed here for boycott are boycotted because of the ethnicity of the owners or CEOs of the companies as you suggest and that advocates of the boycott like Naomi Klein and these Islamo-fascists spotted at the Jan 3 march in London are driven by anti-Jewish sentiment. Your approach is based on slurs and assertions that amount, at best, to apologetics,and at worst to the logic of the conspiracy theorist. In both cases, you only convince people already predisposed to viewing the matter from your perspective which evinces a real lack of knowledge of basic matters. I never said the Israel/Palestine conflict was the most important in the world, but did I suggested that for a blog that largely concerns itself with the petty misdeeds of local government to call advocates of an end to military operations that have killed nearly 1000 a ‘whine’ is a wee bit insensitive.
Ive signed this petition for a complete ceasefire, civilian protection, and humanitarian assistance and hope many others will too:
Wasn’t there already a ceasefire in force? And wasn’t it breached by the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel? There’s no point in ceasefires unless both sides respect them, which doesn’t appear to be the case here.
‘no point in ceasefires unless both sides respect them’
By definition it would not be a ceasefire.
This petition is aimed at all those with influence and/or a role here: the USA, the UN, the EU and the Arab League…as well as the media.