Ahava: My 5 favourite moments.

Ahava’s last day of trading in London’s Covent Garden is tomorrow (Tuesday).

It has suffered two years of racist, abusive and, at times, violent protests while Camden Council and our politicians looked away.

Not once did a politician of any rank stand up for Ahava’s right to trade or come to join the pro-Ahava counter-protest.

It is shameful that a shop that was trading 100% lawfully was forced to shut like this. It’s a stain on Britain’s democratic credentials.

Ahava’s all female staff were repeatedly bullied, not knowing whether they would arrive at work to find the locks glued, the shop front daubed in red paint or whether anti-Israel activists would invade the shop with heavy concrete blocks to lock themselves onto so making their removal from the shop virtually impossible.

After each invasion Ahava was forced to close for up to three hours, harming business and the ability of the staff to earn commission.

Israel’s flag was continuously denigrated outside Ahava by the anti-Israel activists. The most popular ways were cutting out the Star of David or replacing it with the word “apartheid”.

Three trials in all took place involving eight defendants. The first trial involving four anti-Israel activists collapsed when Ahava failed to show up, which was a great shame especially in light of the second, combined trial, involving another four activists which led to four convictions for aggravated trespass.

The defendants received conditional discharges of 18 months which means that should Gwendolen Wilkinson, Matthew Richardson, Jessica Nero or Christopher Osmond transgress again within that time then they could well end up detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Court costs of £250 were awarded against each defendant with one defendant pleading poverty to the extent that he claimed he had to wade through supermarket bins for food. The hard life of anti-Israel activists these days and I thought they were mainly well-soaked Champagne Socialists!

Incidentally, the Judge declared that Ahava was “trading lawfully”.

The good news is that Ahava will reopen somewhere else and along the way many good friends have been made and an unofficial group of intelligent, hardworking, passionate activists with a variety of skills has bonded which bodes well for the future in fighting the rising tide of Israel-hate/anti-Semitism in Britain.

So, here are Ahava’s best bits. Please vote for your favourite clip at the end.

Whichever clip wins it might be worth awarding a special gift to the pro or anti-Israel activists involved; maybe a spa day at the new Ahava shop when it opens.

(If you have problems viewing try to switch to another internet browser)

1. ARE YOU FROM MOSSAD?

Introducing Seymour Alexander, the chief photographer of the anti-Israel movement. He slinks around silently with his camera, but occasionally pops up to ask: “Are you from the Mossad?”

2. THE PRE-CHRISTMAS ARREST

This was hilarious. They were trying to harm Ahava’s pre-Christmas trade and this activist thought I was just taking photos, not filming. So when he threatened to knock my camera out of my hand the police arrested him on the basis of this footage and took him to the police station to interview him while I went off to see Oliver in the West End. I understand he was later released without charge, but still must have had a bit of a shock.

3. THE SINGING ISRAELI TOURISTS

This was brilliant. A group of Israeli tourists accidently stumbled upon the anti-Israel protest outside Ahava and for twenty minutes passionately belted out a medley of Israeli songs drowning out the chants of the stunned anti-Israel activists.

4. MARTYRMAN

This guy is determined to be arrested for the cause and enjoys nothing more than being dramatically dragged away by the police. At a recent “Nakba Day” protest he was photographed being hauled away in a similar fashion (see photo).

and

Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it's Martyrman

Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it's Martyrman

5. SWORDSWOMAN

The Respect Party’s Carol Swords enjoys nothing more than telling a Jew to go back to Russia (which she did outside Ahava recently) and she is currently awaiting trial for allegedly assaulting a pro-Israel activist. Read more about her here.

In this clip you will see her demanding that I don’t take her photo. It’s a bit surprising as she isn’t usually that camera-shy, especially when it comes to photos with the Jew-killers of Hamas (see photo).

Good luck at your trial, Carol!

Swords with Hamas' Ismail Haniya and Mahmoud Zahar (hurryupharry.org)

Swords with Hamas' Ismail Haniya and Mahmoud Zahar (hurryupharry.org)

Swords having a laugh with Hamas (hurryupharry.org)

Swords having a laugh with Hamas (hurryupharry.org)

Now vote for your favourite clip:

19 responses to “Ahava: My 5 favourite moments.

  1. The Israeli tourists were by far the best because they so eloquently illustrate the point that you don’t have to be abusive or obnoxious in order to be heard. People are much more receptive to a smile and a catchy tune, even in a language they can’t understand, than they are to abuse.

    I’ve been “accused” of being polite or friendly to our opponents more than once on this blog, but believe that it is the only way to really influence them, though I’m not naive and know that there is rarely much hope anyway.

    Look carefully. Interestingly, the anti-Zionists themselves who begin to shout less and listen to the singing (1 minute 38). It’s a classic battle of love against hate. Hatred brings out the worst in us, the foul language, the ugly frowns, the angry eyes. Love produces music and smiles and dance and energy.

    Those who love Israel are pitched against those who despise her, and like all good stories the lovers prevail.

  2. The Israeli singers win by far. They are happy, non violent, have a purpose, know who they are, belong somewhere safe and secure in love, have a future, don’t scrounge off others, don’t hate anyone, don’t earn a living off other peoples’ problems, know history, refute propaganda…and some.

  3. BTW Ahava is the loser, not for being forced to shut down by unscrupulous fools and fair weather politicians (guess who will knock on your door with a smile next election) who failed to witness this first forced closure of a Jewish owned shop in Europe since Hitler’s Nazi regime (and we all know what happened next), but for refusing as they said to “become involved”. How they were uninvolved us a mystery!!

    • My best guess supported by a peripheral bit of professional knowledge is that the US-branch stopped them because they feared a door might be opened into an attack on the brand name.

      The law seeming pretty unpredictable to them they opted for keeping their property safe.

      As I see it it is a hell of a decision but if their fears were justified, how much worse it would have been, if they had lost the use of the name compared to just losing the location of a shop in decadent ol’ Europe.

      (Do I think management didn’t evaluate its possibilities carefully enough, you bet I do. But the above is the only rational explanation for their behaviour I have been able to find. i.e. for the “greater good” they have thrown the AHAVA supporters under the bus.)

  4. The Israeli tourists – the perfect foil to the hatred, bigotry and misery-faced self-righteousness of the anti-Israel activists. But, oh the guilt that we weren’t there with them to sing along! Hindsight is a terrible thing but maybe the Ahava shop could have been promoted as a destination for Israeli tourists – come to London, do some shopping and sing your lungs out for the country you love!

  5. OT
    the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra scandal has gotten a wright-up at Terrorism-Info. My favourite member Bruce Levy was not profiled.🙂

    Premeditated heckling attempts to disrupt a performance of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in London. It was organized by the PSC, a radical leftist British network, which is a prominent factor in the campaign to boycott Israel in Britain (BDS).

    http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/h_e001.htm

    Last night I listened to an old IQ2-debate which made me feel better. If in October 2007 Brits still proved themselves to be unimpressed by the siren songs of Tariq Ramadan, there still must be considerable pockets of lusty resistance left.

    http://www.intelligencesquared.com/events/we-should-not-be-reluctant-to-assert-the-superiority-of-western-values

  6. Be a sport Richard and post up some classic Jonathan Kkkkhoffman moments. My personal fave is the one where he goes a bit doolally calling someone the queen of renegade jews.

  7. Just check the slime drain coming from seymours nose . Repulsive or what ?

  8. Richard, did you get the email I sent you on 12/9 asking about some of the regular characters and other info as not being a regular, I wanted to check some things before I blog on the last demo. I have worked out most of it from looking at your invaluable archive video footage, but am still wondering if you get my mail.

  9. Just in case Marksy Boy is not fulfilling his role in life, here is something to occupy the “Israel-only bashers” (btw, is Gertie still with us?!) . . .

    http://melchettmike.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/better-a-manyak-than-a-sheep-some-historical-perspective-re-the-situation/

  10. My favourite is the one with the Israeli tourists. In fact, I think this is a tactic you should adopt on a permanent basis. You need to gather some good singers and form your own choir, so that whenever that strident female who fondly imagines herself to be a soprano and whose name I can’t recall (should it be Tony Soprano?) opens her mouth, you can drown her out with strains of Hava Nagila, Tzena Tzena, David Melech Yisrael, Am Yisrael Chai and anything else that you can think of. I have plenty of sheet music for lesser known Hebrew songs which I would be happy to share with you:-)

  11. Good choice of favourite moments! You’ve got to admit it, these consumed-with-hatred-of-Israel protesters gave us a laugh! BTW, I agree that the Israel-tourist clip is the best (closely followed by the pre-Christmas arrest).

  12. “It’s a stain on Britain’s democratic credentials”

    What democratic credentials? Britain has become an appeaser of today’s neo-Nazis. Jews and gays are thrown under the bus to appease these scum. Women next, I suppose.

  13. I agree that The Israeli Tourists was the most inspirational event at the CounterDemonstrations – it was very moving to see the Anti-Israel hatred defeated by the Ahavat-Israel of ordinary Israelis .

    Everybody Who defended Israel & Democracy at AHAVA should feel proud that We stood together for the values we believe in – it was a privilige to have been there with You all .

  14. Shame you haven’t got some footage of it – but there were 2 very special non-Jewish Australians who regularly turned up to counter-demo, especially Warwick who is amazing and verbally tasseled with many of the unwashed lot on the other side.

    Rhiannon, his daughter, wrote a great blog piece about the demo – and closes it on a moment I enjoyed (as it was me who did it) of giving a rousing ironic speech to the protesters, holding a Palestinian flag – thanking them for being there on a sunny day, when they could have been at the Iranian embassy on many other places chanting against REAL human rights crimes are perpetuated!

    http://rhiannonpatriciastacey.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/boycotting-love-in-london/