Activists to Disrupt Celebration at Israeli-Owned British Shop
Anti-Israel activists are threatening to disrupt the birthday celebration of an Israeli-owned shop in Britain, and local police are preparing themselves accordingly.
The Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday that Sussex police are preparing for potential trouble as hundreds of anti-Israel activists and members of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) are expected to picket outside the Israeli-owned EcoStream store in Brighton.
EcoStream sells SodaStream recyclable bottles made in Mishor Adumim, an industrial park located in the industrial zone of Maaleh Adumim, about 10 minutes from Jerusalem. Maaleh Adumim is considered “occupied territory” by the Palestinian Authority and it condemns any planned construction in the area or in the area known as E1, which connects Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim.
Around 100 members of Sussex Friends of Israel (SFI) are expected to mount a counter-protest, reported the Jewish Chronicle.
A police spokesperson said that officers would be present and the situation would be monitored in the days leading up to the anniversary on Saturday. Extra police would be deployed if needed.
Over the past year, the shop has become the focus for regular boycott protests, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
“We are trying to dissuade customers from using the store,” said a spokesman for Brighton and Hove PSC.
Last Saturday, EcoStream staff arrived at the shop to find the front door lock filled with superglue, the report said. They also found a gate leading to the shop’s side entrance had been chained up.
That afternoon, after managing to get access to the shop, an unidentified man verbally abused a member of staff. He is believed to have called the employee a “Nazi”. Police are investigating the incidents.
EcoStream manager Steve Bannatyne felt that the local force had not done enough to protect the shop and its staff, telling the Jewish Chronicle, “It’s not acceptable that these people can continue to do this. Something more needs to be done.”
A police spokesperson said, “People have the right to peaceful protest. Officers will balance this right against those of other members of our community to go about their lawful business.”
Those who have called for boycotts and bans on products from “settlements” ignore or are not aware of the fact that boycotting Israeli products from these regions will directly affect Palestinian Authority Arabs, many of whom are employed by Israeli companies in Judea and Samaria.
SodaStream itself provides employment for some 160 PA Arabs.