Are street protests the

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - SAYS FIONA SHARPE

LAST THURS­DAY an Is­raeli owned shop closed its doors early for fear of protests from the BDS move­ment.

Just think about the sig­nif­i­cance of that. If we read that an In­dian-owned busi­ness had not opened be­cause of threats from Bri­tain First, a far-right Bri­tish na­tion­al­ist group, we would be rightly out­raged. So would the media. And yet the case of Sabon in Covent Gar­den seems to trou­ble no one.

Why not? Maybe be­cause we are be­com­ing used to the nar­ra­tive that Is­rael is re­spon­si­ble for all that is wrong in the world. Maybe we can’t find a way to ar­gue against this racist ha­tred. Maybe peo­ple are tired of fight­ing BDS. Or maybe, as was the case for Sus­sex Friends of Is­rael and many of our col­leagues, we were stunned that an Is­raeli-owned busi­ness had given in to these bul­lies.

This comes on the heels of a rally out­side Down­ing Street only last month where a large num­ber of the Jewish com­mu­nity stood up to the Is­rael haters in a way not seen for many years. We were loud and proud and while our num­bers will never match theirs, we cer­tainly matched their pas­sion. And then we heard Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu’s dec­la­ra­tion that Bri­tish Jews should fight back against the BDS. But how can we when Is­raeli busi­nesses give in so easily?

Its a dif­fi­cult line to strad­dle for the pro-Is­rael ac­tivist com­mu­nity. We try to re­spect the wishes of busi­nesses and un­der­stand that protests and coun­ter­protests aren’t good for trade.

But at a time when Is­raelis are be­ing mur­dered in the streets, when the media seems only able to em­pathise with the per­pe­tra­tors, it is down to us to use protest to en­sure that le­git­i­mate, hon­est busi­nesses are not forced to shut their doors by boy­cotters spread­ing lies and ha­tred.

And it is up to us to en­sure passersby know that there are two sides to ev­ery is­sue. If we don’t do that, who will? Fiona Sharpe is co-chair of Sus­sex Friends of Is­rael

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