Ahava staff carry on under pressure

staff looking out from Ahava

staff looking out from Ahava

Imagine your journey into work worrying about what you might find when you arrive or whether your office might be violently stormed with you in it.

This is the daily fate of the Ahava staff who work in the shop on Monmouth Street in London’s Covent Garden.

As we all know by now Ahava lost two days of business when late last year the shop was invaded by activists who locked themselves inside while petrified staff looked on. Then last week the shop front was coated in red paint by a couple of “brave” souls who had covered their faces so as not to be picked out by CCTV.

Ahava after last week's paint attack

Ahava after last week's paint attack

Yesterday the usual mob of anti-Israel activists turned up en masse with an array of Palestinian and Communist flags and the usual “Boycott Israel” and “Free Palestine” paraphernalia. They were allowed to position themselves a couple of metres from Ahava’s shop door and hand out anti-Israel leaflets to passers-by.

Sadly, one can forget any solidarity from neighbouring shop-keepers for now; Ahava is being told by some to shut up shop and go online.

By yesterday the red paint had been mostly removed at great expense to Ahava. Remnants could still be seen above the shop.

And if you had ever wondered where all the money comes from to fund both the attacks and legal representation, they hold fundraisers:

On September 11th we are putting on a fundraising party to raise money to fund direct actions in support of Palestine, such as blockades of Ahava or Carmel Agrexco. Come on down, with a banging line up and an amazing space to have a party in (the Ratstar comes with 2 rooms of music, a cinema room and even a roof terrace, oh yes), there has never been a funner way to support a great cause. The day kicks off at 4pm, with workshops on direct action, …Palestine related film screenings and a Palestinian cafe. Music starts at 8pm. The night is free before 8pm, £5 suggested donation afterwards, but pay what you can afford. All money raised will go to pay for actions like this; http://london.indymedia.org/articles/2955

No chance of any of that money making it to the starving or malaria-ridden of Africa then, nor the the flood victims in Pakistan nor even to the Palestinians themselves who the activists claim to care so much about.

Meanwhile, here is Channel 10 of Israel’s interesting video clip about the boycott Israel movement. Look out for insightful comment from Lauren Booth.


left-over red paint after midweek attack

left-over red paint after midweek attack

small pro-Israel counter-demo.

small pro-Israel counter-demo.

22 responses to “Ahava staff carry on under pressure

  1. so “they” are in with the communists – did the communists just show up unbidden or were there loving embraces?

    ooops, forgot the Antis are an “all-inclusive” movement

    and thanks for informing on their have-fun-by-hate fund raiser

  2. We threw the red paint. Malcolm drove the car, Nick was there too. Before we left Edgware we made up an alibi, in the unlikely event of the police stopping us, searching the car and finding the paint. Someone said that we could say that we were going, or coming back from, a house painting party. I’d never heard of such events, but apparently they exist.

    It was about 2:00am when we arrived. Nobody was in the neighborhood and very few cars passed by. We figured that even if someone saw us, he probably wouldn’t want to get involved. Anyway, throwing the paint only took a few seconds and we were back in the car. We hadn’t expected too much trouble and it all went very smoothly.

    Then guess what. Driving back home, feeling quite relieved that it was all over the car got stopped. A policeman held out his hand and ordered us to halt. How could he know? What’s going to happen now? As Malcolm braked everyone was trying to remember the details of the absurd fictitious party. There was no paint in the car and supposedly no evidence. Why mention paint at all?

    The policeman was young and looked tired. “Are you aware that one of your headlights is not working, sir?” He asked. Malcolm was the best man for the job. He apologized sincerely and promised to take care of the matter in the morning, which he did. As we drove off it occurred to all of us that, it could have been a scene from a movie.”

    We threw the red paint. The year was 1979 and the workers of Aeroflot discovered it the next day. It was part of our struggle for the opening of the gates of the Soviet Union. We left pictures of Nathan Sharansky at the scene so they would know why their window was red. I was reminded of that night when I read about the red paint thrown over the Ahava window last week. Somebody called the perpetrators of the Ahava incident vandals, this of course is nonsense. Assuming that he was not referring to the Germanic people who sacked Rome in 455 CE and he meant that they are people who “.. willfully or ignorantly destroys or mar something beautiful or valuable”.

    They are not vandals. These people are political activists carrying out what they consider to be an ideological struggle. When they throw red paint, or chain themselves inside private buildings, they are following in the footsteps of every serious political campaign from the Suffragettes to the Blacks’ Civil Rights Struggle to the anti-Vietnam war campaign to the Jewish struggle for the right of Soviet Jews to leave the USSR. I disagree categorically with the anti-Ahava activists’ cause, but I identify more closely with the means that they are adopting than those of the Zionist Federation etc who appear to be running the campaign as if they were advertising a jumble sale. Put out some flyers, make some posters, write a letter to the paper, have a word with the local MP etc.

    The “vandals” were not ignorantly destroying something valuable or throwing paint for the joy seeing it hit the window. They intentionally broke the law and by doing show incurred some small personal risk to their liberty. By doing so, they demonstrated the importance of the matter in their eyes and shall rightly earn the respect of many undecided members of the public.

    As a youth two friends and I were arrested for a similar “crime” and prosecuted the next day in court. We pleaded guilty and explained our motivations. The judge expressed understanding and even admiration for our aims, but explained that he could not find us innocent as we had admitted to the crime. He thus imposed upon us a fine of five pounds each. I remember the tears of pride in my father’s (Za”sal) eyes as he forked out the fiver. Later that morning I received a call from Herut London offering to reimburse me. My father would not hear of it, “That is my mitzvah!” he protested.

    When I first met the wonderful Zionist Ahava activists I suggested a plan for the coming demonstration. It was wholly legal but a tad more imaginative (IMHO) than standing there and chanting slogans. I was amazed to hear that it was to be pitched to the ZF.

    More than three decades ago there was a historical argument between the Zionist Federation and other establishment bodies, on the one hand, and a handful of tiny “activist” organizations on the other. The latter argued for using classical methods of passive resistance, being prepared to break minor laws and if need be to pay the price. The former argued for “quiet-diplomacy” which was usually a code word for doing “bugger all”. There was also an occasional mass demonstration carried out with police escort that on a Sunday when there was absolutely no news might get 7 seconds of news time.

    Years later I met Sharansky and asked him to adjudicate as to who had been right. He told me that in his opinion the “active” demonstrations had not only been a key driver in the opening of the Soviet gates, but were in his opinion a cause in collapse of the USSR altogether. I recently encountered an acquaintance from that period and he told me that he had met a refusenik from that period who had recognized him from a photograph. “I was being interrogated by the KGB and my questioner threw a picture of you and other activists being arrested on the table, ‘Look at how you make us look around the world. It’s a disgrace!’. From that moment I knew that we were not alone. At that moment I knew that we would win.”

    After more than three decades I thought that maybe the ZF had changed, but no such thing. They are and by definition must remain a law abiding establishment body and thus by the same definition are totally unsuited to organize a campaign against creative, political activists who are prepared to take risks in the name of an ideology in which they believe.

    Finally, I once read that the first nail in the coffin of the US involvement in Vietnam was when American soldiers began to feel a sneaking sympathy and admiration for the badly armed but ideologically charged Viet Cong as opposed to the corrupt North Vietnamese with whom they were allied. Rather than calling them vandals, give the anti-Ahava activists the respect they deserve. Even better, let’s beat them at their own game.

    Let’s throw some paint!

  3. It’s quite obvious from the videos that these are unreconstructed aging commies who have been looking for some action after the disillusionment of the old anti-imperialist project. So they rediscovered their Jewish ancestry (which they had never had cause to remember before) just in time to throw acid on the Jewish state. Oh, and they recruited their grandchildren to lend a semblance of with-it-ness.

  4. The picture showing paint on the store looks like it’s been photoshopped!

  5. It is impossible to have an honest discussion with Gert. He gets away with his zio hate rants because like a centrifugal dirty sock in the washing machine he clings for dear life just within the warped borders of political correctness. That is why the editor of this fine blog is forced to remove any claims of Bridlington’s record-breaking unemployed benefit scrounger, being an anti-Semite.

    I would only wish that Richard would exercise the same moral or litigious judgment to remove the handles of those contributors that deliberately mock the names of holocaust victims.

    Admittedly Gert’s assaults are slightly more refined. Nachman recalls an earlier Gert posting well worth again recalling:

    “Blimey, ungrateful brats in Sderot, aren’t they? Not only have they been provided with bomb shelters, but simply put, during OCL about 1,400 Palestinians were killed in their honour! If that’s not a pledge of undying love then I don’t know what is!”

    Can you spot the difference?

    “Blimey, ungrateful brats in Auschwitz aren’t they? Not only have they been provided with communal showers, but simply put, during WW2, about 25,000 Dresdonians were killed in their honour! If that’s not a pledge of undying love then I don’t know what is!”

  6. Daniel Marks

    I would strongly advise the ever eloquent Nick not to mention that four-lettered name. With little else on his mind and the Bridlington (Gala) bingo halls still closed he monitors this blog like a frustrated perv outside a public WC, waiting for any excuse to offer his learned opinion.

    Though he has never further east than Flanborough, there is little about the Arab-Israeli conflict that he does not know and what he lacks in knowledge and experience he makes up for with foul language.

    In defending the terrorist, sexist, fundamentalist, anti-democratic regime of Gaza; I can’t help feeling that Gert may have “married up”. My only question is, what did they do to deserve him?

  7. Blacklisted Dictator

    So the fundraiser is on Sep 11th. Will any of the proceeds be going to al Qaeda?

  8. Richard, whatever you do

    please keep in mind that if you delete Mr. G’s stuff it will leave his door wide open to the claim that he is suffering unprovoked attacks.
    My guess is that he is aiming at attacking this site via official channels

    I know too little about web-presences to predict the trap he is aiming for, but I know enough of his thinking and operating to feel sure that he is working at finding a side-door through which to do real damage.

  9. Dad saw me wearing lipstick last night. He made me show him the packing before he believed it wasn’t that “filthy Jew war-paint”.

    Lucky I didn’t tell him about my Shomer Negiah panties.

  10. If this proves little else, it is that violent idiocy (and useful idiocy for the Palestinian “cause”) is infectious. And they look quite normal, don’t they?

    ebrrr34 are you a vandal? Well, you can read, can’t you, but given that question it’s debatable whether you can understand or retain what you have read. Permit me :

    A definition of vandalism: “the malicious and deliberate defacement or destruction of somebody else’s property.”

    So let’s spell this out, shall we?

    Was the throwing of paint malicious? Well, given that in the tiny challenged, one-track brains of you and your partners in stupidity – you remember and probably sang, “From the river to the sea…” etc etc, you wouldn’t lose any sleep if Israel was obliterated and her people. For all I know you probably wish every night for that to happen. That is malicious.

    Was the paint incident deliberate? Obviously. Unless you were sleepwalking. It was cowardly, too. You knew you were breaking the law so you hid your faces much as the stone-throwing lunatics hide theirs in Gaza and on the West Bank.

    And you damaged someone else’s property didn’t you?

    So, Einstein, according to the widely accepted definition, you perpetrated vandalism and it matters little for what reason – sensible grown ups don’t act like thwarted toddlers who break their own toys – you broke the law.

    Oh, you can argue on your blog about semantics (although I doubt that you know what that means) but you broke the law. And to compare yourself with the suffragettes is an insult to their memories and the good work they did. Read their history again – they did not want to destroy others, they were protesting in favour of inclusion. Low lives like you, on the other hand, want to exclude Israel from the family of nations and for her to cease to exist.

    And you may think you will get away with it again – but not for long.

    Mostly, how do we know that your persona is not the equivalent of a photoshop?

  11. Serendipity
    could it be that you read a first line and then think you got it?

    if so, then better try again

  12. Clearly this is wrong – what legal recourse do we have against this group of thugs?

  13. Ebrrr makes some very interesting points. There is indeed a noble tradition of non violent non co-operation, of breaking unjust laws to support a political cause with which one is aligned. One thinks of the black (and white) civil rights campaigners who engaged in the bus boycotts, freedom rides and sit ins in the late 195os and 1960s in the Deep South. Like him, I think the anti Ahava cause is not remotely comparable. But a big difference is that today’s anti Israel law breakers are not suffering the consequences of their admitted illegality. If you take the EDO case, the people who smashed up a factory and caused £180,000 of damage got off scot free. They carried out an act of vandalism, albeit within the context of their ideological cause, and should have faced the consequences – they did not. This is extremely troubling.

  14. To be clear, it is preposterous to sully the memory of the Civil Rights campaigners, or any of the other genuinely noble causes of the last century, by comparing them to the thuggery associated with today’s pro Palestinian cause.

    The law must take its course – whatever the cause you engage in, you must accept the consequences of law breaking. That is the price always paid by every generation of protestors, and they knew it. Bottom line – the Hove Crown Court case has set a dangerous precedent because it suggests that damage to Israeli interests should be treated in a different way to other forms of vandalism just because of the noble lustre associated (wrongly) with the cause. Very worrying.

  15. “No chance of any of that money making it to the starving or malaria-ridden of Africa then, nor the the flood victims in Pakistan nor even to the Palestinians themselves who the activists claim to care so much about.”

    Nobody is forced to give money, and the reason for the fund raiser is explicitly stated (unlike those NGOs who suggest you’re giving to the poor when really you’re funding fancy offices and ridiculous admin costs).

    And you’ve invented the violent storming …..

  16. Jeremy
    just a thought experiment what would happen if somebody vandalized a shop of the guys/denomination asking for this

    Incitement to Murder Muslims in Surrey

    A local Surrey newspaper has reported that extremists are disseminating leaflets in the local area, urging Muslims to kill the Ahmadiyya.

  17. Serendipity

    I have lived in Israel in the West Bank for three decades. I served in the IDF for two decades both as a soldier and reservist. I’ve seen a lot and heard a lot and it takes a lot to offend me, but you’ve managed to do that.

    You write:
    “…you wouldn’t lose any sleep if Israel was obliterated and her people. For all I know you probably wish every night for that to happen.”

    You know nothing of my days, and nothing of my nights. I have brought up a family in Israel. My children are proud Jews who have studied and study in yeshivot, midrashot, Bar Ilan Law School and the Techion and have served in the IDF too. I teach in a top Israeli Yeshiva high school and the largest business school in Jerusalem. You know nothing about me – you ignoramus.

    You were right about one single thing. I did, and do occasionally still sing “From the river to the sea…” I sing the song that I learned as a member of Betar

    There are two side to the Jordan! That is ours and the other is too”
    I believe in our right to the river to the sea and much more too. I just don’t think that now is the time to realize that right.

    Now you idiot, read what I wrote again. I was talking about the paint I threw as a17-year-old as part of the struggle for the opening of the gates of the Soviet Union. I was arrested at the time twice and prosecuted once.
    The sentencing judge showed understanding a respect for our actions, but you call it vandalism. Either you are wholly illiterate or you are a disgrace to the Jewish people. Take your choice.

    Jeremy Havardi
    “To be clear, it is preposterous to sully the memory of the Civil Rights campaigners, or any of the other genuinely noble causes of the last century, by comparing them to the thuggery associated with today’s pro Palestinian cause.”
    This reminds me a little of the late 18th century British philosophers claiming that one can’t compare the French Revolution to the American Revolution. They forgot that a couple of generations ago their ancestors had condemned the vandals of the Boston Tea Party too.

    Basically, the argument that all law breaking in the name of a political cause throughout history was legitimate except for what’s happening today is always used. Moses, Jesus, Cromwell, Menachem Begin, Yitshak Shamir, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela were all called vandals and worse by their opponents. They all broke the law.

    “The law must take its course – whatever the cause you engage in, you must accept the consequences of law breaking…. ”
    I agree and as I was punished three decades ago so should they today. How much is a five pound fine of thirty years ago worth today?

    “..the Hove Crown Court case has set a dangerous precedent because it suggests that damage to Israeli interests should be treated in a different way..”

    In my opinion, the danger is in the fact that the bad guys are both motivated and innovative and they’re running a very sexy anti-Israel campaign . You, on the other hand, sound like a Letter to the Editor from the JC (that was not meant to be a compliment).

    You are both welcome to check out our blog. Serendipity might want to take reading lessons first.



  18. Judah
    one thought

    as the other side has come up with law-breaking first

    “our” side either has to enter a law-breaking competition or come up with a sexy campaign themselves like woeing the police by bringing roses to them etc.

    This may be a stupid idea but if one side is challenging public order and state authority shouldn’t the other side just as ingeniously and with real wit support public order and state authority by praising them wildly.

  19. I’d far rather be a ‘letter to the JC’ than a ‘blog on Comment is free’

  20. And no, that’s not meant as a compliment either…