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Friday, 6 February 2015

The Sad Demise of Sussex Friends of Israel

How a Good Man Was Laid So Low
Sussex Friends of Israel''s dead site
It really couldn't have happened to a nice man.  Simon Cobbs, whose sole concern was anti-Semitism, helped lead his fellow crusaders into a battle in defence of Israeli soft drinks firm, Soda Stream.  It was he imagined a re-run of 1933 when the SA Stormtroopers had boycotted or laid siege to Jewish shops.  1933 was around the corner, Hitler was putting the last touches to his toothbrush moustache and Cobbs saw himself as all that stood between civilisation and the Moslem hordes.

Unfortunately for Cobbs, Israeli companies are much like all capitalist companies.  The bottom line is most important and unfortunately their bottom line had reached the bottom.  In short no one was buying their drinks and their loss leading operation in Brighton had proved to be a crown of thorns (pardon the Christian metaphor!).  Led by Simon Cobbs, although every Christian fundamentalist loony and one or two Jewish ones as well had mounted a weekly counter-demonstration, their only success was in persuading potential customers to give them a wide birth.
Cobbs - none too pleased

At one time I had seriously thought of suggesting to the manager that  perhaps they might consider branching out and becoming a wing of Brighton's reading library, since you were unlikely to be disturbed inside the shop.  However it was not to me as Sodastream decided to pull the plug on the fun and Cobbs wasn't even told.  Left without a purpose this Sussex Friends of Israel could only do things like put on as a speaker an Israeli Arabist who suggested that the Israeli Military employ the weapon of rape (well they've tried everything else).  So on December 8th 2014 the Zionist Federation and SFI invited one Prof. Mordechai Kedar of the Bar Ilan Religious University of Bigotry to speak on the finer points of his thesis.   
Cobbs with Christian Fundie friends
Today all that stands between Cobbs and oblivion is his twitter account.  The day when the Jewish Chronicle mistook a group of bedraggled members of the English Defence League for Sussex Friends of Israel was the day any sane member of SFI gave up. Jewish Chronicle 'mistakes' English Defence League for Sussex Friends of Israel

The result is that there is only Cobbs left.
Beginning to get worked up

The anguish is showing
For those who are interested in what our friendly local Zionists are up to, as gleaned from their social media here's a little update. 
The snarling beast we know best
They really seem to have lost all momentum since the  closure of Ecostream.
'I can't take it any more'
Firstly, their website seems to have virtually withered away . There has been only one post since last autumn (that's about the Greek election!). Under "Campaigns" there is only one - Ecostream - there's no mention of it being closed & they're still asking for support on Saturdays! . . . Incidentally for a laugh look at their "Code of Conduct" under "About"
Deep personal pain
The reason for this is probably that there is only one person actively doing their social media - a certain Mr Simon Cobbs. Admittedly Facebook & Twitter seems to be his preferred vehicle & he is pretty prolific (not surprising as it seems this is how he spends his days) but he has resorted to endless posts about Anti-Semitism, slagging off liberal Jews/the Board of Deputies and how the UN, EU, BBC etc etc are in some giant conspiracy against Israel. This is mainly because the SFOI don't actually do anything to report on, other than pointlessly standing outside the Qatar embassy or trying to "beat the boycotts" by donating to food banks.

It has got to the point where practically all of the tweets by @SussexFriends are Cobbs duplicating his own tweets @Simon Cobbs1 or vice versa. Of course his personal Twitter account is still trying to make up the followers he lost after his previous account was suspended after he threatened to "slaughter" someone from the Jewish community who was a bit too liberal for him. Amusingly, he seemed to spend most of yesterday posting videos of Galloway on Question Time & then felt he had to personally answer the most pressing issue resulting - namely why the studio heating wasn't working! (Tweet attached).
Cobbs concerned about the fault with the Finchley boiler
One gets the impression that if Cobbs wasn't able to spend 8 hours a day at his keyboard SFOI would pretty much disappear from view.  They have created this image that they are one of the foremost "grassroots" pro-Israel groups in the UK, to the point where they were invited to discussions at the Israeli embassy last year. However, unlike their Manchester cousins NorthWest Friends of Israel, they really don't seem able to politically galvanize the local Jewish community (perhaps because it is more resistant to SFOI 's (read Cobb's)  increasingly strident Zionist outpourings).


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