Israeli products boycott goes nationwide

10:34pm Wednesday 8th September 2010

A nationwide boycott of Israeli goods has been launched across Scotland as activists target Muslim-owned shops in an attempt to stop them selling produce from the Jewish state.

The boycott, which started in the south side of Glasgow last weekend, was deemed so successful that campaigners decided to expand it. Campaigners from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) are now targeting shops run by Muslims in the rest of Glasgow and in Fife, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.

In Glasgow, the protesters asked shop owners to take Israeli goods off their shelves and warned they would “name and shame” any store that did not do so. The SPSC says every shop it approached on the south side of the city backed the boycott.

The pressure we bring to bear is moral. We use the threat of publicity. There is no threat of strong-arming. Mick Napier, chairman, SPSC Mick Napier, chairman of the SPSC, oversaw a “clean sweep” of all Muslim-owned shops near the Nicholson Street mosque in Edinburgh on Friday. About 40 protesters went door to door, asking store owners to support the campaign.

“All the shops we visited backed the boycott and are now displaying posters to that effect,” he said. “The support we received from customers and passers-by was overwhelming.”

He added: “It’s been 100% successful. We often met with a response immediately, with people saying they would not dream of stocking Israeli goods.

“The pressure we bring to bear is moral. We use the threat of publicity. There is no threat of strong-arming.

“The reality is that Israel makes it impossible for Palestinian farmers to export almost anything. Palestinians were kicked off their land to make way for the illegal settlements, but the good news is that the boycott is kicking back. It’s great to see small shops in Scotland standing up for human rights.”

Napier also added that every shop visited in Dundee backed the boycott. Shopkeepers backing the boycott have put up a poster in their stores saying: “This shop supports the Palestinians. No Israeli produce sold here.”

Khalid Bashir, owner of the Red Sea Food Store in Nicholson Square, Edinburgh, is already boycotting Israeli goods and has agreed to display a poster. He said: “People ask about it all the time, but I am able to tell them I have been boycotting Israel for years. It should be easier now that I can display this poster.”

In Dundee, protesters targeted shops in the city centre. In Kirkcaldy, the three largest Muslim-owned shops all agreed to take part in the boycott. Shops in Glasgow’s West End are taking part; in Aberdeen, campaigners are preparing to talk to shops in the coming days.

Dianna Wolfson, a prominent member of Glasgow’s Jewish community and a former convener of the Interfaith Council, which promotes dialogue between religions, warned that boycotts could derail the relations between communities.

She said: “There are people on both sides who would like to see peaceful settlements. This boycotting is not helpful. More needs to be done to explore how we can have peace with each other, rather than emphasising the warring aspect and divisive aspect of it.”

She added: “If people of different faiths were getting to know each other, they would be more likely to listen and hear the other side of the argument … to emphasis what is good on both sides, and come together.”

Wolfson said she would not consider boycotting goods from a country “that didn’t like Israel. It’s just not my thinking and I find it hurtful.”

From The Herald

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