Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Thursday, 19 August 2010

All Out of Love - High Noon in Covent Garden

In that great Hollywood flick High Noon there’s the famous tense scene in which a resolute Will Kane (aka Gary Cooper), having found no one brave enough to help him take on an outlaw gang, strides down the main street to face them – totally alone. He didn’t need to do so, as he’d handed in his marshal’s badge and was set to start a new life far away. But his stolid determination to do what was right made him put on that badge again.

I guess the doughty and much-admired vice-chairman of the Zionist Federation, Jonathan Hoffman, sometimes feels like Will Kane as, singlehandedly if needs be, he takes on the bad guys. But last weekend he had reinforcements galore – a great many of them emphatically not of his choosing.

Let me explain.

Ahava, the famous Jordan Valley-based Israeli cosmetics company which produces a wonderful highly recommended range of goods containing minerals from the Dead Sea, is under attack internationally by adherents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. And, inevitably, the fight against the company has been taken up with gusto among Israel's demonisers in the United Kingdom. Every fortnight since February, from noon until two p.m. on Saturdays, allies of the Israel-delegitimising International Solidarity Movement have held a noisy, hate-filled demonstration outside the Ahava shop in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden. Banging drums and screeching through loud-hailers, they cause an ear-splitting cacophony which is unpleasant – to say the least – for retailers, customers, and passers-by.

Slogans such as “Dead Sea mud, Palestinian blood” are shouted repeatedly, as well as the tell-tale “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Shall Be Free” (which, of course, signifies the total annihilation of the State of Israel, not merely Israeli withdrawal from the disputed territories), banners are waved, pedestrians are harassed, and insults are hurled at anyone who defies the intimidation and enters Ahava. The photo I include here is of one of the early demos, and the bearer of the blue-and-white flag in the background is – as far as I’m aware, though he’s not wearing a marshal’s hat – the indefatigable Jonathan Hoffman. Like similar demonstrators against Ahava outlets in the United States and elsewhere, the gang of thugs depicted seek to close the entire Ahava operation down.

Their callous disregard for the livelihoods of all retailers in Monmouth Street means that a neighbouring store, bereft of customers owing to the din, has gone out of business and others are similarly imperilled. But these self-righteous protesters have as little regard for those people as they do for the Palestinians who will lose their jobs and livelihoods if Ahava goes under.

This past Saturday, 14 August, there were more demonstrators than usual – about 80. For they were celebrating a shameful legal victory, four activists having been acquitted of failing to comply with a policeman’s orders when, last year, they refused to leave Ahava’s premises and instead chained themselves to a concrete block inside the shop. A charge of aggravated trespass was also dropped. For reasons that remain unclear, the Ahava shop's manager failed to attend court to give evidence, severely undermining the prosecution’s case. In an echo of the defence at the armaments factory trial, the miscreants' counsel explained that his clients had acted as they did because “they felt they had no alternative” and added “We are definitely going to see more of this happening.”

For an eyewitness description and video clips of Saturday’s disgraceful scenes, which the police and municipal authorities seem powerless to prevent, and that of earlier demonstrations outside Ahava, together with a full description, click onto Richard Millett’s Blog, listed on my Blogroll. It’s good to know that , whenever they can, Richard and a stalwart band of other British Jews join Jonathan Hoffman in flying the flag for Israel at these events; additionally, Christian supporters sometimes travel all the way from Wales to attend. As Richard has observed, “The protests have nothing to do with Israel's presence in the West Bank but are all to do with Israel's existence per se judging by the songs that are sung and the placards that are paraded. Additionally ... why do they single out Israel for boycotts and not Turkey and China, for example? It is the boycott that historically deeply resonates against Jews. Boycotts are, therefore, not only discriminatory but deeply offensive and hurtful to Jews.”

Much has been made by extreme left Jewish haters of Israel – some of whom are despicable enough to compare Israel to the Third Reich – of the fact that as well as about 13 pro-Israel demonstrators on Sunday there was a contingent from the English Defence League (EDL). The EDL was formed last year, reputedly out of disgust at the sight of Islamists in Luton verbally abusing the Royal Anglian regiment which was being welcomed home after a tour of duty in Afghanistan. EDL members are widely seen as football thugs and extreme right-wing racists, and although there is a “Jewish Division”, led by Roberta Moore, the “Zionist” protesters needed their aid like the proverbial hole in the head. Once the EDL had arrived, Sunday’s demo really hotted up, as described on Richard Millett’s Blog.

Those who – in a calculated attempt to stigmatise Jonathan Hoffman and smear other pro-Israel counter-demonstrators allege collusion between the Zionist Federation and the EDL are, to put it no more strongly than warranted, mischievous liars. Jonathan has himself stated, as the Guardian reported (17 August): "There is no link between us. We live in a free country, we can't control who demonstrates on the streets. People on the left think nothing of demonstrating with people who support Hamas and other terrorist groups." And Roberta Moore substantiates this claim: "We wish to state hereby that although we were protesting jointly with the Zionist Federation headed by Mr. Jonathan Hoffman, we were not asked by the ZF to protest alongside them. This was our decision and we imposed our presence upon them. The ZF had no choice but to share the space with us."

Here, by the way, is the link to Ahava's shop online; it needs all the love it can muster:
http://www.ahava.co.uk/mailorder/mailorder.html

8 comments:

  1. Hi Daphne,

    good articles, I am a Christian blogger doing volunteer work for Bridges for Peace in Jerusalem.

    I often write about things I see here in Jerusalem and try and change the bad perception that Israel has to us Brits.

    Please check out http://jonnyh.wordpress.com/
    thanks! Jonathan

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  2. Many thanks, Jonny - I shall certainly look at your blog with interest later today.
    At this precise moment I'm tussling with editing some photos - and making a hash of things!

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  3. Relaunch the 43 Group. Those guys showed the anti semites we are not all Woodey Allen lookalikes.( apologies to Woodey ). One of the guys may have been a dab hand at hair crimping but threw a mean right hook to any blackshirt that got in his way.
    The EDL are being a bit opportunist here, if we make friends with them who will do the catering.

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  4. Hair crimping? Methinks you mean Vidal Sassoon!

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  5. Daphne,

    I was browing the net and came across your blog. Nice article by the way! And thanks for speaking the truth.
    I just wanted to clarify to all who read your blog that despite that lies you hear in the media, the EDL is not racist or fascist.
    Many of the people who are not in the Jewish Division support us and also attend rallies with us. There are many Jewish people in the EDL, and these people are also Zionists like me.

    We love and support Israel. Full stop.

    When I found out about the Ahava protests I wrote to the ZF asking them for their support in coming to counter-protest those morons with us, and it was then that I was told the counter-protests had already been organized by them (ZF)and they usually go every 2 weeks. (I had no idea someone was already counter-protesting, and when I was told, my respect increased for the ZF, because until then I had thought they were not doing enough for us Jews in the UK).

    It is true that Jonathan did not want us there and told me so,)perhaps because of the EDL reputation from the deceitful media lies) but I flatly rejected his pleas. Why? Because I am Jewish and Zionist, and I have as much right as he has to protest against these evil people. So I got the group together and we went.

    We are not being opportunist, we are not doing anything wrong. We fully support the Zionist Federation in their endevours and we will help them EVEN IF THEY DO NOT WANT IT. It's our right and our duty to defend the Jewish people, and we will not be told by anyone what we can or cannot do. We believe in unity and hopefully we will make the ZF see that we are not what the media portrays us to be.

    I appreciate that some organizations do not want to be seen being involved with the EDL, but we know this is because media is a powerful thing and it can smear innocent people as much as the guilty ones. We care NOTHING for media lies. Let them speak what they want. Let them say their crap. Our actions speak louder than words and we all know that "when you see someone attacked from all sides, by all sorts of people, you can be sure it's someone of great value".

    So we say: "Speak badly if you want, but speak of us".
    Bad propaganda is good propaganda for us too.

    Once again, thank you for your article above. It was nice to see someone not insulting us for a change! :)
    Am Israel chai!! We will win this battle.
    No surrender to Islamo-fascism!

    Roberta - EDL Jewish Division

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  6. Thank you for your interesting comment, Roberta.
    I hope you look at my blog from time to time - it hasn't been going for very long, and I greatly appreciate the visitors I have, and the feedback.

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  7. Hi Daphne,

    I will surely look at it. I bookmarked it now!
    Thanks again for the great work! xx

    Roberta - EDL Jewish Division

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