UK activists boycott Israel

UK will import many of its Valentines flowers from Israel
UK will import many of its Valentines flowers from Israel

By Laura Miller

Demonstrators are planning nationwide protests today to boycott the sale of Israeli goods on UK high-streets.

The national Boycott Israeli Goods (BIG) campaign, led by a coalition of pro-Palestine and anti-war groups, aims to impact on Valentines Day sales of flowers, many of which Israel exports to the UK.

David Wilson, spokesperson for Stop the War, one of the groups supporting the campaign, told "Valentines Day is the perfect day for love to all, and for people to remember those suffering abroad."

He compared the action to the boycott of South African goods during apartied.

"Apartied herded one people into a caged area of the country. What is Gaza if it's not comparable to that?" he said.

The largest protest is expected in Middlesex at Carmel-Agrexco, the Israeli national exporter of fruit and vegetables and importer of large quantities of flowers to the UK.

All the large supermarket chains will be targeted, as well as Barlays bank and Marks and Spencers, which has incurred heavy criticism in the past from pro-Palestine campaigners over claims the company's owner, Phillip Green, supports Israel through business deals and investments.

Speaking to a spokesperson for M & S denied claims the chain has a political interest in importing goods from Israel.

"We don't have a special relationship with Israel, we have a relationship with individual farmers," she said.

"At the moment we don't even source very much from Israel, maybe ten out of 500 lines."

Palestine Solidarity Campaign, one of the main organisers of today's protests, is also backed in the BIG campaign by the Jewish Boycott Israeli Goods group.

Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust, an organisation that acts to prevent and record violence against British Jews, said that while Jewish participation in the BIG campaign helped represent the community's diversity, it also added to the negative affect such campaigns have on British Jews.

"British Jews have no control or influence over what's happening in the Middle East. Campaigns like this can have the best motives in the world but it doesn't change the negative impact of the Jewish community," he told

"The involvement of a small number of vocal Jews allows others to point the finger at the large silent, blameless majority. This affects Jewish morale, because it encourages people to regard Jews as moral reprobabtes."

Outside No 10 Downing Street on Sunday a separate protest, "Children for the Children of Gaza", has been organised to show solidarity with the children in Gaza and Palestine on the whole.


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