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Saturday, 2 April 2011

A Sweet Victory – Ahava Driven Out of Covent Garden

Total Victory over Israel’s ‘Beauty’ Thieves

It was little more than a year ago that Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods launched a campaign of pickets against the Israel’s Ahava shop in London’s prestigious Covent Garden. After a fortnightly picket and much direct action Ahava’s landlords have had enough of complaints by Ahava’s neighbouring businesses.

Admittedly Ahava was a unique shop. Most businesses try to prevent theft, not least of their own stock. Ahava sold stolen goods! Because the Metropolitan Police refused to do their duty we had to step in.

During its short existence the pickets have revealed the true face of Zionism in Britain today. We had poor Jonathan Hoffman, recently suspended by the Zionist Federation which he chairs, making a complete fool of him when he was caught on camera dancing down the street with the leader of the Jewish Division of the fascist English Defence League, Roberta Moore. The EDL was an example of how anti-Semites through the ages have supported Zionism. Hapless Jonathan made matters even worse when he described the evidence as ‘photoshopped’ and had to make a grovelling apology to the photographer.

Then we had Ahava employing anti-Semites with one member staff openly stating that the Jews are responsible for the killing of Christ. Both Hoffie and Richard Millett defended the woman.
So let us celebrate this victory and Mad Hoffie for helping both galvaise the protestors and deterring people from shopping there.

Tony GreensteinJewish Chronicle, Robyn Rosen, March 31, 2011

The UK branch of Israeli cosmetics store, Ahava, is moving from its central London shop after years of pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

Protesters claim that the products sold in the store are manufactured in a factory in Israeli settlement, Mitzpe Shalom in the West Bank but are "misleadingly" labelled as produced in Israel.

The owner of the shop, currently in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, is looking for other sites after owners of neighbouring stores complained to the landlord following protests.

Supporters claim it has been "chased out" of its location by regular "noisy and intimidating" demonstrations.

A spokeswoman for Shaftesbury PLC, which owns the property as well as several others in the Seven Dials area, said: "When Ahava's lease expires in September, we will not offer them a new one."

Pro-Palestinian protesters have been demonstrating fortnightly outside the shop, which opened in April 2007, for more than two years. A counter group of pro-Israeli supporters also demonstrate outside.

Police were drafted in to control the protests and set up a meeting last October between the protesters and other shop managers.

Last week, four demonstrators stood trial for aggravated trespass after they chained themselves to a concrete block inside the store last year.

Colin George, manager of clothes shop The Loft, next door to Ahava, said: "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.

"Protesters are just going to follow them around, wherever they go. Maybe they should be an online business instead."
Ahava UK's accounts up until the end of 2009 show a total loss of more than £250,000, despite receiving more than £300,000 from its Israeli parent company, with no repayment plan.

Odelia Haroush, director of the UK branch of Ahava, Dead Sea Laboratories UK, said: "We are now in the process of looking for another location."

She said that she was looking in several places, including sites in north-west London.

"Shaftesbury PLC own most of Covent Garden and some of the other properties in our street belong to them," she said. "Other retailers are very upset with what's going on and Shaftesbury PLC doesn't want to inflame the situation.

"It's very important to the Israeli company to have a presence in the UK. It's not just about making money. It has a big cosmetic market and we want to be a player."
Richard Millett, who attends the counter-demonstrations, said: "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."


joe90 kane said...

Important incoming communication from Palestine solidarity bunker HQ as follows -

"Agent Hoffman. Mission Accomplished.
Return To Base."

Anonymous said...

I had a week's suspension from the Board of Deputies - not the ZF - but since when did brain-dead Trots ever care about factual accuracy?

So the shop relocates somewhere better and more secure .... only a desperate Communist could call that a "victory! Bit like the Russians who were calling it a "victory" during World War Two when the Germans invaded them.


Anonymous said...

"Then we had Ahava employing anti-Semites with one member staff openly stating that the Jews are responsible for the killing of Christ."

Is Gilad Atzmon on staff?

Tony Greenstein said...

Nope, Gilad Atzmon isn't on the staff of Ahava, but he might as well be!

As for my old but somewhat fractious friend Jonathan Hoffman, my sincere apologies. I did initially wonder how someone from the Board of Deputies could suspend someone from the Zionist Federation but of course all these organisations are undemocratic anyway.

And I also wondered how, since the Board calls itself a democratically elected body (albeit with rotten boroughs that would make residents of Old Sarum blush) it could remove representatives without recourse to the nominating body and on the say so of one man. Again I assumed that it adhered to some democratic principles. Obviously not.

Who knows whether Ahava will relocate somewhere more secure. You assume we will let them be secure! Obviously it is a victory that we have forced Ahava to move and one Jonathan Hoffman and his EDL friends did their best to prevent.

So the stupid and absurd analogy between Ahava and the Nazi invasion of Russia can be dismissed as the last resort of someone who is a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

joe90 kane said...

So the shop relocates somewhere better and more secure ....
- Secure, but who from JH?

Haven't you and the EDL done enough damage to poor Ahava and mainstream zionism in Britian?

Just a point of logic really, but I see JH refers to the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, and the Russkies mistakenly calling it a victory, but so were the Nazis too. Who was right JH?

It's just that, if the huge effort JH put into keeping Ahava open and profitable was such a great success, then how come it lost money and closed?

I remember Hitler calling his retreat to more supposedly secure frontlines, during the Soviet counter-offensive, great victories. He was 'secure' all the way back to Berlin, I seem to remember.

I'm sure it won't be long before Ahava finds itself back where it started, 'secure' in Israel, especially if JH is involved.