The Boycott Parade – Hazel Capel

When I was growing up a few years ago – OK, in the 50s and 60s – most British people were kind and considerate towards the Jewish population – happy days!   But now, with various factions rearing their ugly heads, together with the fact that the Jews are no longer the underdogs, people are not so supportive, either condemning Israel itself, or just blatant anti-Semitism, usually masked by saying they are just “anti-Israel”.

As you will know, the big fashion at the moment is to boycott Israeli goods.   OK, sure we have all been there with our own private boycotts of stores and goods.   I remember one occasion when Barry went to buy an electrical item, and telephoned me from the industrial estate to ask where he was allowed to purchase it from!   (I was broigus with both Comet and Currys at the time, so choice was limited….).

But that was our INDIVIDUAL choice, and should remain so.   There are certain countries which I feel are persecuting their citizens horrendously, so would not buy any goods from these places, but that is MY choice, and I certainly would not impose my feelings in this regard on others.

I have been concerned, particularly, about the bullying tactics being utilised by the Boycott campaign at present, scary demonstrations in stores, etc.   Like most of you, I have been bombarded by emails, Facebook messages etc. on this subject recently, and really didn’t know what to believe.

So…. I contacted Waitrose and Tesco directly, not just customer services, but the CEO of Tesco and received similar responses directly from both companies that they will be ceasing the sale of dates which are packaged currently on the West Bank. This possibly means that many Arabs will lose their jobs, as I suspect happened with Sodastream/John Lewis.   John Lewis say it is due to a fall in sales that they ceased stocking Sodastream, and I believe they still may be stocking other Israeli products, so I have to let this issue go at present.   Both Waitrose and Tesco say they will still be stocking Israeli products, and I will keep a close eye on this.   Both stores certainly still stock a large selection at present – well the Brent Cross Waitrose would probably go “mchula” without its Jewish clientele!!

But, more importantly perhaps, although I know that Sainsbury’s are apparently part-owned by a state involved with Hamas (not 100% sure of details), I have been emailing the Chief Executive and Chairman with concerns re the appalling demonstrations in their stores and asked how they are dealing with these, allowing them, calling police, allowing the bullies to succeed etc.

I have been impressed with the speedy replies from the Chief Executive to my questions, as late as 10.00 p.m. one evening, and he says the police were called to the east London branch, although if the demo takes place outside the store, they have to leave it, if it’s peaceful, I presume.   He told me they will NOT be stopping any Israeli products, though will ensure they are labelled clearly.

So I will be monitoring the situation closely, and making a point of buying Israeli produce whenever possible!     Ironically, I was not particularly observant in the past re noting where goods came from, but have been particularly so recently.   I just bought a mezuzah for a house-warming present for a friend, and there are huge selections of Israeli made items in shops, or on the internet.

I know some people have had issues with ignorant rude people in so called “Customer Services”, and I hope they took these complaints higher, such as HR or the Board.

Of course, if they are going to boycott Israeli goods, then they should also be boycotting the medical items too – the latest anti-Cancer drug manufactured in Israel for example – plus various companies which use Israeli products, e.g. McDonalds (ok, not the burgers!), Starbucks, Caterpillar etc.   Somehow, I doubt it.   And, just as important, by trying to instigate such boycotts, they are denying many Palestinians their jobs too, as I would imagine many were employed in the Sodastream factory on the West Bank, or in the date packaging plant too, for example.

The Jewish population were too quiet and submissive in the past; although I would not imagine Knesset gatherings are particularly quiet!!   It is up to us to counter-boycott – if a company, such as Lancome, insists on using an anti-Semitic person as their figure-head, e.g. that Cruze/Cruise woman, then boycott that product!   Probably much to Barry’s relief, I won’t be using Lancome again until she has been fired; it’s too over-priced anyway!   Or, as in the case of Roger Walters from Pink Floyd who, apparently, flies a balloon with a pig’s head and a Star of David over his audience, don’t pay for a ticket!   There are also boycotts in the Arts world; don’t people realise that the Arts and Sports are good ways in which to facilitate rapport and understanding between nations? If there were prospective boycotts of countries committing atrocities, I would understand more (although disagreeing still with an Israeli boycott!), but no, these are Jews…………

OK, these entities won’t go broke, but we need to make a statement!   They want to play the boycott game; we can do that too.