Anti-Israel activists taunt Covent Garden shoppers

Around 30 anti-Israel protesters stood outside Ahava’s Covent Garden shop on saturday taunting Ahava’s shoppers with repeated cries of “Shame on you” during the Palestine Solidarity Campaign sponsored fortnightly protest against the Jewish state.

The usual “Boycott Ahava” placards were supplemented by “Free Gaza” ones, which gives lie to the claim that this is just an anti-Ahava protest.

It is one of the many protests in this country that discriminate against just one country; Israel.

In addition, the protesters continuously called for the ending of Israel; the anthem “From the River to the sea, Palestine will be free”, was sung over and over again.

The surrounding shops are suffering and the manager of The Loft told me how the shop opposite to his, Miss Lala’s Boudoir, had closed down due to the disruptive anti-Israel protests.

He was also very concerned for his own business, a secondhand designer clothes shop where you can buy and sell the likes of Paul Smith, Joseph, Jimmy Choo, Prada, D&G etc.

The anti-Israel protests are causing adjacent businesses to close

The anti-Israel protests are causing adjacent businesses to close

All shoppers coming and going from the Ahava shop were booed and taunted with a chorus of “shame on you”.

There were about 12 pro-Israel counter-demonstrators in all, one of which was from Turkey, which goes to show that not all Turks are following the Islamist line of Prime Minister Erdogan. Erdogan has, of course, allowed highly anti-Semitic programmes to be broadcast on Turkish television and sees great benefit to himself and his Islamist party, AKP, in stoking hatred of Israel in Turkey.

The counter-demonstrators were also joined by someone who had recently chosen to do charity work in Deheishe, a Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem on the West Bank, but was subjected to quite a terrifying ordeal during her short stay there.

It does seem, however, that as more and more neighbouring shops feel the effects of the noisy anti-Israel protests it is Ahava that is being blamed, with the possible knock-on consequence of Ahava’s landlord refusing to renew the lease at the end of its current term.

The police have no powers to limit the numbers or noise of the anti-Israel protesters or their taunting of innocent shoppers. If these protesters are so concerned about Israel’s policies they should do what other people do when they have issues, speak to their local MP.

Taunting innocent bystanders and causing nearby businesses to close down is not the way we do things in democratic Britain.

46 responses to “Anti-Israel activists taunt Covent Garden shoppers

  1. JonathanHoffman

    Thanks Rich. The agreement with the Police limited either side to 14. I shall be complaining that the boycotters violated this. It has the status of a police Operational Order.

  2. richardmillett

    Not according to the sergeant in charge. He said 12 was the normal allowable number in each pen but he could vary it if he felt it necessary. The problem is that it is a different sergeant on duty at every protest and no one has been properly briefed. Their only concern is to prohibit a breach of the peace.

  3. Have the protestors ever mounted a defence of the fact they are driving unrelated shop owners out of business?

  4. JonathanHoffman

    It’s 12 plus 2 outside the pen leafletting. It’s an Operational Order and was supposed to be available to all police at every demo.

  5. richardmillett

    I know but i don’t know how it is enforceable. How can you stop them turning up en masse? The police just want an easy life, it seems.

  6. Yvetta Bagel

    As always, Richard, you’re posts and pictures on this subject are heartbreaking.
    I feel so tearful when I think of those shopkeepers.
    Is there really no legal recourse for stopping these cowardly thugs from intimidating people going about their lawful business – harassment legislation? Invoking “Breach of the peace?”

  7. Yvetta Bagel

    btw, who is the leather-clad man in the photo and his smiling friend? They look familiar.

    • richardmillett

      leather? Do you mean the two guys wearing glasses? They are from IJAN. Or should i say, they are IJAN.

  8. JonathanHoffman

    The one on the right is American/Canadian-born. The other is Brit-born.

    They are holding the AGM of IJAN.

  9. Sanda Abramovici

    “From the River to the sea, THE UK, THE COMMONWEALTH will be the slaves. Pity it is too late now, hope you choke on them and with them for good !! by the way, while doing it, please give us THE MALVINAS BACK, NOT THE FAULKLANDS, THE MALVINAS BACK !!, along with so many territories you still retain !!

  10. Sanda Abramovici

    Indeed, Richard, you aare so right, fanatics and extremists are but in the case of many countries i am very sad that the muslims indirectly or directly are the problem cause they want to impose a mind system a religions system a way of life we do not want, they are not a part of any given society they keep to themselves etc etc etc so in a way they are also part of the problem, of course you are right, the islamists aare dangerous but sometimes the silent ones are also so

  11. I wonder how many of the anti Israel protesters know that a new shopping mall was recently opened in Gaza and that some Gaza residents drive around in cars?

  12. Daniel Marks

    ” …If these protesters are so concerned about Israel’s policies they should do what other people do when they have issues, speak to their local MP.”

    – I was trying to remember who that reminded me of. I looked through some of Sir Humphrey Appleby’s quotes but was unable to find it – Monty Python perhaps?

    I haven’t lived in England for three decades but I know that the Suffragettes would have said you’re out-of-date 100 years ago.

    Either way I’m pretty sure that you know that it’s nonsense. I support all your counter-demonstrations and admire you and all the other pro-Israel activists immensely, however, you are dead wrong this time. Do you really expect these anti-Semites (yes, no less so than any Turkish TV show) to pack in their highly successful campaign and to go and have a word with their local MP instead?

    “Taunting innocent bystanders and causing nearby businesses to close down is not the way we do things in democratic Britain.”
    – Is that supposed to be Major Gowen of Fawlty Towers fame?

    It breaks my heart every time you post clips of the demonstrations outside Ahava. The impression I get is that they’re taking all the initiatives and calling all the shots. I heard, “Dead Sea mud, Palestinian blood!” last time and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” this time. They are both extremely catchy. What exactly are you chanting back? It’s not a rhetorical question. You need a catchy slogan too and it can’t be:

    “Taunting innocent bystanders and causing nearby businesses to close down is not the way we do things in democratic Britain.” – For one thing it doesn’t rhyme.

    Thirty five years ago we shouted, “We are Jew, we couldn’t be prouder, and if you can’t hear us, we’ll shout a little louder.”

    Richard, in the first Intifada I was put with five other guys on a military vehicle. Our job was to driver around Rafiah, “Demonstrating our presence”. In other words we were there to have stones thrown at us. That was because Israel had no plan, was only reacting, and a few years later we had reached Oslo. Today the Hamas are in Rafiah.

    That is what happens when you have no plan but you just turn up to counter-demonstrate. That is why you need a plan.

    1. The first stage must be establishing a bank of about 200 political activists. You should recruit them from Jewish schools, student societies, youth movements, synagogues – use your imaginations. If you have 200 activists, you’ll have 40 each week when you need them. You should make it into a trendy thing to do – Jewish activism should be sexy again.

    2. You should brain-storm slogans in exactly the same way as an advertising agency does. Use focus groups, poll people by phone and ask them which slogans work.

    3. Learn from your successes and mistakes. Don’t get mad, get even.
    Analyze after every demonstration what went wrong, what went right and why.

    4. Think out of the Box.
    Standing there with banners is cool. It’s what people have been doing since we left Egypt. Keep an open mind to other ideas too.

    Everything I’ve said ought to be obvious. I and many others like me have many specific ideas too – use us, abuse us! We’re not going to relocate back to the galut to fight for Ahava, but short of that we’ll do whatever we can.

    Again, we hardly know each other, but we are all brothers and sisters. Today is the 9th of Av and its message is unquestioning love of one Jew to another.

    We all love you very much!

  13. Yvetta Bagel

    Yes, those are the two – I realise now that one’s in denim, not leather. And there was me thinking IJAN criss-crossed oceans.

  14. TomLloyd – If you wish to post a defamatory comment I am sure there are plenty of other places you can do that.

  15. could side-stepping the issue be a strategy?

    let’s assume I were a casual shopper knowing nothing of the issue would I refuse carrying the shop’s bag around at least where I could sure the police prevented my coming to harm?
    Not as a demonstration of pro-Israel necessarily (which I might not know enough about or about which for whatever reason I might be reluctant to make a stance for one side or the other) but as a demonstration that I want civil behaviour to be the norm i.e. to be allowed to shop without being molested and that I want shop-owners to get their business back?
    when the flotilla was on I started chats with what kind of people would saw a ship to pieces? Abhorrence of vandalism, random destruction of something that had cost money seemed to open common ground in casual talks more than a head-on approach might have.

    and yes of course a catchy slogan would be great …
    We are hip and give you lip
    decency is our motto
    hurry back into your grotto
    when you lived still in the dark
    we already sailed the ark
    off with you where you belong
    to all those who get it wrong
    Israel is here to stay
    no matter how you boo and bray


    Daniel and dear Silke, I have good stuff to tell you about this away from prying ears and eyes!

    And ease off Richard! He is doing the reporting and we’re here to shoulder the responsibility with him as are some other sexy young Zionists who I can ASSURE you were out in force on Saturday. Many comments from the public of “well you certainly are the better looking demonstration” reinforced this and I must say that I agree. After all, Zionism is pretty sexy so the publics ruling is quite fitting. And to add to that on our side we wash. We do not dodge soap. Soap is our friend.

    We love are brothers and sisters and friends very much too, more than soap even.

    Am yisrael chai (remember that one Silke? People like the deplorable TomLloyd above would say it in a regretful way but we would say it in a celebratory way, see you soon warrior sister 😉

    Those hypocrites outside Ahava
    Don’t use soap that lathers
    They bleat and bray
    In their stinky sheep way
    It’s best that we call quick the farmer

    Pass me a peg for my nose
    The smells coming from them I suppose?
    Can they not wash?
    I mean, golly gosh
    Somebody wash them down with a hose

    A surname rhyming with Floyd
    Israels existence got him annoyed
    He danced an Irish jig
    And took another swig
    Whilst slurring along to Danny Boy

  17. JonathanHoffman

    Daniel Marks

    Here are some of the chants we use:

    “Ahva from the Holy Land
    ISM should be banned”

    “Hamas, PSC, WantTo Kill Jews Like Me”

    “We Want Peace, You Want Terror”

    1-2-3-4 We want Peace, You Want War
    5-6-7-8 Stop The Terror, Stop The Hate

    Feel free to email me offline if you have ideas


  18. JonathanHoffman

    And #1 – #4 are cool and we are doing them

  19. Daniel Marks


    Maybe it’s an optical allusion and because the camera is usually focused on the anti-Ahava demonstration I’m getting an inaccurate impression of the balance of forces?


    If anyone can make Zionism sexy, I’m sure it’s you.

    BTW “…Daniel and dear Silke,,” – Am I not dear?


    “Israel is here to stay
    no matter how you boo and bray” – Sounds great.


    I bet:

    1-2-3-4 We want Peace, You Want War
    5-6-7-8 Stop The Terror, Stop The Hate

    works the best.

    I assume that one person shouts the numbers and the crowd responds. How about?

    1-2-3-4 We want Peace, You Want War
    5-6-7-8 Stop The Terror, Stop The Hate
    6-7-8-9-10 Didn’t hear us? We’ll say it again

    That way you can start relatively quietly and then get louder and louder.

    I tried it out in shul this morning, it was quite successful and that was Tisha Ba’Av – just kidding.


    Sorry Daniel, yes you are even dearest.

    Zionism is ALREADY sexy I’m just happy to remind the public of that. To be honest I think this is why so many unsexy people are drawn to the demonstration on the other side. They might not be able to point to Israel on the map but many of them know a thing or two about unsexiness.

    Next time with the chanting I will bring my pom poms and do a little cheerleading to get the crowd going. I’m not sure I can still do backflips and my high kicks might now be medium kicks but I’m willing to give it a go for the sake of my country.

  21. Daniel Marks

    Silke has Greta Garbo legs. Might they be of any help?

  22. Friends, we need to worry about stopping the protests. No change to chanting or having an ageing, slightly tubby woman doing cheerleading is going to stop the current of the other side. Let’s face it, the reaction of the public is extremely worrying and skewed towards the other side.

  23. Daniel
    you are so dear that no word of a mere mortal can describe it

    thanks for the “award”
    – on second reading I’d switch lines, so that by the time Israel comes around the chorus is really in synch i.e.
    no matter how you boo and bray
    ISRAEL is here to stay

    Garbo was a legs-gal?
    but never mind I am a feted belly dancer in the style of Greek males mocking their one time occupiers

  24. Tom
    … but “WE” can out-funny them any time, anywhere and on any subject
    and the “public” right now probably is still willing to pony up at lot more money for comedy than for screaming foaming at the mouth idiots.

    As to chubby women:
    real men have told me that once it’s private, bones hitting bones isn’t “it”

    which btw applies to belly dancing also, there must be some flesh for it to become sufficiently disturbing.

  25. Daniel Marks

    Tom Lloyd,

    Am I to understand that the “ageing, slightly tubby woman” to whom you refer is NONAZIBOYCOTTS? If so, you are a cad, sir!

  26. Someone left a comment on my blog on a related post, with a very true point:

    “Why don’t these people ever do anything solid and practical to help the Palestinians? I’ve got a son doing the Gap year thing. The plight of the small children begging on the streets in Cambodia affected him deeply. He hasn’t gone yelling and screeching about the unscrupulous people behind this outside some irrelevant building in London ; he’s now in Australia and running the half-marathon in Melbourne for them this coming Sunday.”


      I was impressed when I read that on your blog CNB and I’m still impressed now. Very touching and not remotely comparable to the bizarre actions of this lot.


    Indeed Silke meat on the bones is the order of the day! Belly dancing is rather wonderful and as you say hypnotically disturbing. I remember being blissfully disturbed with entertainment involving smashing plates while some beautiful girls shook it all about in between the smashed plates. Isn’t this combined Greek tradition fantastic? I rather enjoy shaking my own hips here and there when the mood takes me. Shakira shakira.

    Thank you to you dearest Silke and Daniel rushing to my defence but you need not worry. Mr Lloyd is rather partial to a wee drink here and there (hey who isn’t?) which as you can imagine this can skew his view and causes what we might call “fog of the mind” which is not too dissimilar to “wool for a brain” as stated below. (Or it could be just SWWS*)

    I think he is mixing me up the girl with the slightly wobbly bum bum with a lisp and the big gob who chants “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be three”. This is then her followers cue to join in. The way big bum bum girl commands her crowd is quite remarkable. She is the shepherd and they are the sheep bleating with their little woolly brains in perfect unison. Although she is inconsistent as I’m pretty sure they say they want one terrorist state controlled by Palestinians and not three. I think they should make their minds up and get with the program. Who’s got time for all these inconsistencies?

    Still, I think big bum bum girl would make a wonderful belly dancer too and is perhaps more suited to belly dancing than the hooliganism she subscribes to. I will come and shake my hips at her and see if we can dance together a little belly dance jig and by doing so make peace in the Middle East. We’ll shake our way to peace.

    I’ve dusted off my blue and white pom poms and had a little practise run this morning and I’m pleased to say I’ve still got it.

    I will ask the World Zionist Conspircy if they can now remove the road works they set up to obstruct the haters to enable me to perform backflips up and down the street. I can also do cartwheels and have my girlfriends throw me in the air while I do a triple back tuck whilst offering a quick prayer to heaven that they will catch me when I land.

    Right. Back to work.

    (*Small Willie Wonker Syndrome )

  28. Jonathan Hoffman

    “Friends, we need to worry about stopping the protests…”

    You ain’t no friend boychick. More like the egg the cuckoo laid. Full of old cant.

  29. May I suggest that Ahava does not trade on Shabbat. That way the protestors will have to either come on Sunday when religious supporters can add their considerable clout to the counter demonstrators, or during the week which will mean them having to skip work to protest.

  30. NoNaziBoycott
    sorry I can’t see your video – Sony be d…ned

    as to belly dancing – I am addicted to the kind you probably see only off season on my preferred Greek isles – I would tell you, which they are, but I want to spare Gert the expense of travelling there immediately and trying to find out whether I have also a feature as off-turning as his combined odour problem.

    My best of the best Greek belly dance I ever saw performed by one of my teachers was on New Year’s day on a table full of glasses swinging his hips in the most suggestive manner for gals and boys alike while smoking a huge cigar which when he had us all properly heated up (all locals except for me) he took the burning cigar fixed it upright in his just a bit unbuttoned fly and then got really mean and sexy at the same time
    – I thought I’d die from delight in the sheer uppityness of that cigar smoking out of his fly while his hips where telling of delights 72 Virgins could never provide.
    Just imagine that a crude joke that seemed to me to have originated from mocking the Ottomans had staid alive through all the intervening time
    – and nothing bad happened to or with any of the glasses on the table, his feet remained firmly in place.
    I’ve searched youtube for Tsiftendeli but found nothing that remotely resembles the real thing only cheap shady looking stuff.

    and here’s a reminder for Gert: another tightly knit group of people who immediately took to me and invited me to play ;-)))
    Gert there is salvation for you, take the job Daniel offered. In that profession one meets a lot of people and can practice the art of

  31. What have I done to deserve this sort of treatment, guys? I care deeply about the same things you care deeply about, and although I might be a bit rugged around the edges, surely you must see that my heart is in the right place?

  32. Tom

    You’re not a bit rugged around the edges (so your edges are round, interesting! very interesting!! – so maybe it’s out of control tubbyness which makes it hard to locate your heart? – had many too many of these? come to think of it there was a very learned discussion on another thread how undue projection can play havoc with a guys vision

  33. Tom
    oh so sorry I should have remembered earlier that you had been to Dimona – how could I ever forget – it must have been a life changing event for you

    when x-raying you for security reasons they must have realized you had a hairy heart of the kind reported by Beedle the Bard and operated on you accordingly.

    Pity you didn’t follow their advice for afterwards and now you got this terrible terrible affliction, a depilated (de-haired in case you are long-word impaired) heart but with no content because you “forgot” to take those pills.

    Has nobody ever told you that Israelis are top of the tops in medicine? May be if you go back and let them experiment with you for a while to their hearts’ delight they find something to give you your vision back

    Once you’ve got that, your attempts at flirting with a grown-up woman with a capital W may be less clumsy and end in something else than rebuke, maybe she’ll even consent to give you for a fleeting second one of her smiles that easily outradiates the sun and that you have seen others receive over and over again and which has so consistently been denied to you.
    There’s still time to change all that and learn how to be man instead of a boychick. (I hope you don’t mind my appropriating it Jonathan I think it’s wonderfully apt)

  34. Jonathan

    too much “equalizing” in the linked text for my taste. If the “antis” weren’t there, the “pros” would prefer to do other stuff with their saturdays.

    now doesn’t that THAT remind me of something?

  35. Surely if enough individuals complain to the police that they feel threatened and harassed then action could be taken. that was certainly the case in Manchester with the M & S protests.Also can you take the details of the police on duty who fail to enforce the police order or at least have a contact number for someone who has been a party to making the order

  36. just updating things

  37. Jonathan Hoffman

    Court case coming up:

    “The demonstration was the final one prior to a court case between activists and Ahava due to take place on the 9th, 10th and 11th of August. In september 2009, activists blockaded the shop to prevent it from trading with the public, in December 2009 the action was repeated. ”

  38. Did they collect money for the victims of the last “work”-accident in Gaza also?

  39. childrens compensation

    You say that this is one of many protests that “discriminate” against israel. The protest is there because they belive israel has done something wrong. Not because they are discriminating they would be protest if any country was doing the same. Rather than just protesting though people should be going out and doing something if they feel that deeply.


    Childrens compensation I dare you to go near these unwashed species with their hatred of Israel and soap, smell how stinky poo they are and then defend them.

    I reckon if you understood the severe collective smell they bring to Monmouth street you would not be so quick to fight their corner.

    However if you are indeed one of them I would urge you as a matter of urgency to have a good wash for the good of mankind .

    Good shabbos.

  41. childrens compensation

    now this is an interesting point they would be protest if any country was doing the same.

    one that beloved by me GertieBaby keeps making over and over again but maybe you are smarter and better informed than Gert – if so you will surely tell us where they protest where other countries do wrong?
    or are you implying that no other country is doing anything wrong worth protesting against?
    although the connection between face cream and politics eludes me a bit I am willing to bear with you if you back your claim by examples.

    just asking about the biggest example I can think of: any demolition of a shopping area going on because of Chinese behaviour towards Tibetans, Uighurs and who knows who else?

    Even if there should be no shops in London which are recognizably Chinese surely loads and loads of shelves maybe found where one can chain oneself to.