Tag Archives: Brighton

Multiple arrests of anti-Israel activists outside Israeli-owned Ecostream shop in Brighton.

As many as eight anti-Israel activists were arrested yesterday outside Israeli-owned Ecostream in Brighton, on England’s south coast. Ecostream belongs to Sodastream, which has a factory on the West Bank. Although Sodastream employs many Palestinians the anti-Israel lobby prefers to see the factory destroyed along with the livelihoods of Sodastream’s Israeli and Palestinian workforce.

Every Saturday anti-Israel activists flock to Ecostream to call for its boycott. They are always met by the stoical counter-protesting of Sussex Friends of Israel. Yesterday, however, the anti-Israel activists were swelled by the presence of Palestine Solidarity Campaign affiliated trade unionists from the NHS, NUT, GMB, NUJ and the University of Brighton.

But tempers rose and not before long the number of anti-Israel activists was depleted as protester after protester was led away to the back of a police van. A heartbreaking sight, indeed.

Then the police issued a “section 14″ meaning both sides were kept apart and liable to arrest should anyone step outside their own zone. The remaining anti-Israel activists were restricted to the other side of the busy road opposite Ecostream and could, therefore, hardly be heard or seen for the remainder of the protest. Ecostream’s supporters stayed close to the shop.

Ecostream itself is a magical store. You can buy products that allow you to make your own carbonated drinks and you can refill your own bottles there with anything from honey, to olive oil to washing up liquid. Basically, cut down on your use of bottles and help the environment. Refilling is also vastly cheaper when there is no bottle to pay for.

Those of us who journeyed from London and other parts of England were very warmly received by Sussex Friends of Israel. Thanks to Harvey for driving a car load of us from London. It was good to see friends and meet new people and I also bought some lovely Palestinian olive oil from Ecostream.

Meanwhile, here are photos and footage of the action and photos from inside the Ecostream shop itself.

The first clip shows two of the alleged arrests and the second shows two trade unionists explaining how the presence of so many different trade unions protesting against Israel should make those supporting Israel “question themselves”. Well, that’s certainly an unbeatable argument if ever there was one:

Trendy jacket by Reiss.

Trendy jacket by Reiss.

Jessica Nero (left) was arrested inside Ahava’s London shop 3 years ago

Jessica Nero (left) was arrested inside Ahava’s London shop 3 years ago

Some dashing anti-Israel trade unionists.

Some dashing anti-Israel trade unionists.

Journalists wanting to destroy Palestinian and Israeli livelihoods.

Journalists wanting to destroy Palestinian and Israeli livelihoods.

GMB and NHS members wanting to destroy Palestinian and Israeli jobs.

GMB and NHS members wanting to destroy Palestinian and Israeli jobs.

Outside Ecostream before a section 14 was imposed by police.

Outside Ecostream before a section 14 was imposed by police.

Across the road after the section 14 was imposed.

Across the road after the section 14 was imposed.

University of Brighton wanting to shut down Palestinian and Israeli jobs.

University of Brighton wanting to shut down Palestinian and Israeli jobs.

What a motley crew.

What a motley crew.

More of the motley crew.

More of the motley crew.

Coat on ground while being spoken to by the police.

Coat on ground while being spoken to by the police.

Self explanatory.

Self explanatory.

The stoical counter-protest.

The stoical counter-protest.

He makes a good point.

He makes a good point.

Who would you say she supports?

Who would you say she supports?

The shop.

The shop.

Refill your bottle of olive oil in Ecostream.

Refill your bottle of olive oil in Ecostream.

Extra yummy.

Extra yummy.

Refill your bottle of honey in Ecostream.

Refill your bottle of honey in Ecostream.

Refill your bottle of detergent in Ecostream.

Refill your bottle of detergent in Ecostream.

Anti-Israel Brighton activist: “Go and disrupt the Batsheva performance.”

Introducing the Batsheva Ensemble Dance Company from Israel who are currently touring the UK.

In her review of their recent performance at The Lowry in Salford Sally Cinnamon writes of Batsheva:

“The talent, maturity and complexity of the dancer’s abilities belie their tender age. Dancer, Oz Shoshan prologues the show as the audience filters to their seats. He’s dancing alone on stage. It looks improvised, it might be choreographed, either way, it’s the best opening I’ve seen in recent years and a sample of things to come.”

But, as ever, when an Israel production comes to town so do those who harbour a particular hatred towards the Jewish state and its Jewish citizens. Cinnamon writes:

“a couple of the protesters infiltrate the performance and bring proceedings to a temporary halt. It’s a sour start to the evening and although everyone has the right to protest, it seems bizarrely worthless to be hollering remonstration at young dancers.”

Cinnamon signs off her review:

“The show is on tour throughout the UK and has been harboured by protest at every venue so far. It shouldn’t put you off. There were those outside in the cold that protested and there were those of us watching that warmed to some of the very best young dancers in the world.”

This Friday the company are performing their Deca Dance at the Brighton Dome. Here’s the trailer:

There was due to be a Saturday performance, but The Dome pulled it due to concern over security. Their idea is to beef up security for the one night instead of spreading it over the two nights. This is a shame because Jews who live in Brighton who keep the Shabbat and who bought tickets for the Saturday night performance cannot go to the one on Friday night.

The usual accusation being thrown at the Batsheva Ensemble by the protesters is that it is government funded and, therefore, being used by the Israeli government to promote Israel in a good light. If this isn’t pure anti-Semitism then where were the protests interrupting British and American government funded shows when those countries went into an allegedly illegal war in Iraq?

An anti-Israel activist who recently spoke at a meeting in Brighton about disrupting the Batsheva Ensemble said:

“I do support a non-violent disruption of the Batsheva performance. I encourage everyone to go and protest there. I would support people in non-violently disrupting a performance that I don’t think should go ahead, the performance needing the funding that it does.”

Here’s the audio:

Brighton meeting part-audio.

So once again it seems people will be having their evening’s entertainment disrupted having paid good money for tickets. It happened at the Royal Albert Hall when the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra performed. It happened when Israel’s National Theatre (Habima) performed The Merchant of Venice at The Globe.

Now it is happening to the Batsheva Ensemble, a young dance group making a name for themselves on the world stage.

Incredibly, no charges were pressed against any protesters who were taken out after disrupting despite those protesters acting contrary to Section 68 (1) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which states:

“A person commits the offence of aggravated trespass if he trespasses on land and, in relation to any lawful activity which persons are engaging in or are about to engage in on that or adjoining land, does there anything which is intended by him to have the effect—

a)of intimidating those persons or any of them so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity,

(b)of obstructing that activity, or

(c)of disrupting that activity.

It is about time the venues and police acted by pressing charges.