Daily Archives: March 31, 2011

Anti-Semitic protests finally force Ahava to close in Covent Garden.

Bloodied but unbowed: Ahava after a recent attack.

Bloodied but unbowed: Ahava after a recent attack.

What a shame that Ahava’s landlords have finally succumbed to pressure from Ahava’s neighbours not to extend Ahava’s lease due to the regular noisy protests in the vicinity of Ahava.

And for anyone in doubt as to the true nature of the anti-Ahava protests one only has to glance at the website that promotes them to find rhetoric and images that equate the plight of the Palestinians with the plight of the Jews under the Nazis.

If anyone really think that these protests are simply about Israel’s so-called occupation and Ahava’s production plant being located on the “West Bank”, then they are seriously deluded.

For example, the said website reads:

“John played a very appropriate tune on his saxophone, sung in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 and later made famous by Paul Robeson, a voice for the oppressed, who can be heard singing the song here. Images of Nazi Germany in the video are similar to what Palestinians are experiencing today under Israeli occupation. Here’s a link to a comparison of some very graphic images of Nazi Germany and Palestine and I’m certain that you’ll find the similarities striking.”

And the protests call for a boycott of Israel, not just Ahava (see end photo).

The reason that the lease was not extended has nothing to do with the landlord disagreeing with Israeli policy, but all to do with the noisy anti-Ahava protests, which some of Ahava’s neighbours ran to the landlord, like squealing little schoolboys, to complain about.

According to the Jewish Chronicle, Colin George of The Loft, which is next door to Ahava, commented:

“I’m pleased Ahava is leaving. It’s brought the street down. I’ve complained to the landlords, as has everyone here. Everyone would like them to leave. I wish they had left two years ago.”

That last comment does not ring at all true. The anti-Ahava protests have been taking place for around about 15 or 16 months at the most and relations between the shops were very friendly before the protests started.

Now, instead of condemning the anti-Israel protests for causing the nuisance, quite incredibly, Mr George has condemned Ahava!

I stand by my comment in the JC:

“Maybe the neighbours could have had a more positive role and spoken to the protesters, rather than take it out on Ahava. It’s sad that this country will allow a lawfully trading shop to be chased out because of the politics of people who disagree with Israel’s basic existence.”

One might disagree with the legality of the “settlements”, but that is just conjecture, opinion and a matter of interpretation. There is no law anywhere that states the “settlements” are illegal.

We could debate their legality and morality until the cows come home (and have a very interesting discussion over it).

Therefore, the protests outside Ahava really come down to one thing; the existence of the Jewish state.

If I am wrong and the protests are simply about Ahava and so-called Israeli oppression of the Palestinians then virtually every shop in London should have a regular protest outside it for breaching some form of morality or law. Sweat shops in China, anyone?

And if the anti-Ahava protests are simply anti-Ahava then surely they have achieved their purpose. They have managed to shut down Ahava and so will not need to take place anymore.

My bet is that the protests will continue. They are more about defaming the Jewish state than anything else, and that says all you need to know about the nature of the beast we are dealing with here; anti-Semitism.

And in this specific instance I am not playing, what some call, “the anti-Semitism card”.

Are these protests really about Ahava?

Are these protests really about Ahava?

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Syrian Ambassador to UK: “Israel behind Syrian Revolution.”

Sami Khiyami: "Israel could be behind any bad thing in world."

Sami Khiyami: "Israel could be behind any bad thing in world."

It was an almost comic exchange on BBC’s Newsnight (the exchange begins at 17 minutes) last night when Jeremy Paxman interviewed Sami Khiyami, the Syrian Ambassador to the UK, over who was behind the plot to destabilise Syria.

It went like this:

“Ambassador: Syria is not a one party state, it is not a one family state. It is the nicest and most beautiful state in the Middle East.

Paxo: Ok, now you’ve got that off your chest, tell us about this plot, who’s behind it?

Amb.: I think all those who thought Syria is at a time when it will cash in on the result of the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. The changes that occured in the Arab world were about to help the Syrian position a lot towards Israel and the expansionist policies of Israel.

Paxo.: Basically, it’s the Israelis behind it, is it?

Amb.: I’m sorry?

Paxo.: Is it the Israelis behind it, is that what you’re saying?

Amb.: Well, the Israelis could be behind it. They could be behind any bad thing in the world.”

As ever, Paxman looked in on disbelief.

Then again Khiyami was only parroting the line of President Assad of Syria who spoke of an “Israeli agenda” in his speech yesterday about the violence currently taking place in Syria.

The Times reports that a 14 year-old boy was yesterday shot in the head while carrying an olive branch. And many dozens so far have been murdered in cold blood at the hands of Assad’s forces (has anyone seen Judge Richard Goldstone lately?).

Some claim that Assad is basically a reformist President, but one who is kept in a straightjacket by hardline conservative elements in his Ba’athist administration.

Nevertheless, Syria hosts Hamas, supports Hezbollah in Lebanon and will do anything that Iran commands it to, especially considering that the Assads are Alawite, an offshoot of Shia Islam. The majority of Syria are Sunni Muslims.

I would have liked to have seen Paxman ask Khiyami whether there could be a repeat of events in Hama in 1982 when Assad’s father massacred up to 20,000 of his own people the last time they were impertinent enough to attempt a revolt against Assad totalitarian rule (Here is Robert Fisk reporting on his visit to Hama in June 2000).

But then we know what Khiyami would probably have replied: “Israel slaughtered them!”