Israel’s Sodastream decided to set up shop in Brighton, in an attempt to exploit
our Green credentials, the local Palestine Solidarity Campaign took up the
challenge and began a weekly picket with others on week days. Local Zionist and
Kach/EDL thug, Simon Cobbs, vowed that this would not be another Ahava. Ahava was
the Israeli ‘beauty shop’ in London’s Covent Garden which we closed down two
Picture from the early days of demonstrations
From the early days
At the beginning the Zionists confined themselves to the opposite side. When they mixed it with us, they managed to successfully deter any doubting shoppers
Zionists, with the complicity of the Police, left no stone unturned in order to
defeat the PSC campaigners. They were the usual mixture of hypocrites. They said they supported a 2 states solution at
the same time as they supported the confiscation and theft of Palestinian land
by Israeli settlements vulture companies like Sodastream. Like most Zionists, ‘Peace’ was a weapon to be branded against the Palestinians, it had no substance in itself. Although on some occasions the Police attempted to be even handed, the number of arrests of those of us who were the victims of harassment were far higher than the Zionist abusers.
Julie Burchill –The racist bigot and cokehead who doesn’t like Arabs or Transexuals – supported Sodastream
said they supported equality even as the Christian Zionist fundamentalists, who often made up the bulk of the Zionist counter-demonstrators, argued that there
is no such thing as the Palestinians. Every one who opposed them was anti-Semitic
despite the fact that at the annual invasion of Brighton by the EDL/March 4
England, there wasn’t a Zionist in sight. Wanting Jews to burn in their millions in the Christian Rapture, so the Palestinian Jesus could be with us once again, was not anti-Semitic!
after week, a hardy band of PSC campaigners braved the insults and taunts of
the Zionists, with the Police interested solely in arresting pro-Palestinian demonstrators
whilst turning their eyes from the naked racism of the Zionists. Many of us were subject to physical assault by these peaceniks and when, on one occasion, I defended myself, I was the person charged.
whilst the Zionists occasionally managed to mobilise
about the same numbers as ourselves, their ‘in your face’
counterdemonstration and comparison of all and sundry as ‘anti-Semitic’ which involved following and abusing anyone who was
sympathetic to the Palestinians, slowly but surely alienated the vast majority
of those who live in Brighton & Hove. T he more they mobilised the fewer people went into the shop! Something the limited intellects of people like Cobb never got.
business editor (long since departed from
the Argus) John Keenan allowed Sodastream to fund an all expenses paid trip to the factory in Mishor Adumim and
in return he provided sympathetic copy about how, without the factory, the Palestinians
would not have a job. It was yellow journalism at its worst and reminiscent of the apologists for Apartheid in South Africa. What
Keenan didn’t mention was that an anti-racist workers organisation, consisting of Palestinians and Israelis, Kav La’Oved, was refused access, as have Palestinian trade unions. We wonder why?
by on days when there were no demonstrations,
the shop still stubbornly
refused to attract any custom. The only question is how it managed to stay
open for 2 years? The only answer is that the central company was heavily subsidising it, but the damage to its reputation, reflected in a declining share price, made a shop that doesn’t make money a luxury too far.
Unfortunately I became seriously ill during the protests
and had to retire from the weekly counter-demonstrators. However Brighton PSC,
which has grown enormously as a result of the campaign, fielded people, young
and old, to make clear their opposition to the ‘green’ Apartheid shop on Western
good example of Police bias was when I was forced to defend myself against a violent Israeli by punching him once. He is a well known nasty piece of work, as you can see from the videos, who had advanced towards me with the clear intent (based on previous experiences) of attacking
me. The Police prosecuted me (though as I’ve pleaded not guilty they may be in for a surprise). Unsurprisingly the ‘green’ administration of Brighton & Hove Council
was conspicuous by its absence, except for leader Jason Kitkat, who participated
in the shop’s opening party. Others like Deputy Leader Phelim McCafferty, who had turned up on Palestinian protests before being elected, kept their distance. To be fair, Green MP Caroline Lucas has been more supportive.
are some videos and pictures from the different phases of the demonstrations and also below is the report fromBrighton PSC’s Website
two years of regular street protests by pro-Palestine campaigners outside the
Eco-Stream store in central Brighton, the shop has announced that it has ceased
have held regular demonstrations outside the store since it opened in the
summer of 2012. The protests have raised awareness about the role of the shop’s
parent company SodaStream in Israel’s programme of ethnic cleansing and human
rights abuses in the occupied Palestinian territory. SodaStream’s main factory
is located on an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian West
Bank, where Palestinian villages have been destroyed and the population removed
to make room for Israeli colonists and businesses. The SodaStream company
enjoys numerous financial incentives from the Israeli government to operate
there in order to consolidate the illegal occupation of Palestine.
people of Brighton and Hove have been asked to boycott the EcoStream shop to
show their disapproval of Israel’s illegal settlements and their violations of
human rights, and to put pressure on the Israeli government to comply with
international law. The people of Brighton & Hove have responded by refusing
to buy into the shop’s alleged ‘green’ image. The shop’s profits declined
steadily over the two years of the protests. Today’s announcement of the shop’s
closure is the result.
regular protests outside the EcoStream store in Western Road have attracted
huge support from local residents and from human rights campaigners all over
the country and internationally. The campaign has featured regularly in the
local, national and international media – including coverage in the Times and
the Guardian. The campaign is now a national one, with stockists of SodaStream
products being targeted for protests in local areas across the UK.
Shaker, Director of Israeli Security Firm at Gatwick seems embarrassed
& Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign today issued the following statement:
campaign has taken the message about human rights abuses in occupied Palestine
to the people of Brighton, and their response has been fantastic. They have
made it clear that they do not want businesses from illegal Israeli settlements
trading in their town. The closure of SodaStream’s so-called flagship UK store
in Brighton is just one step in a campaign to send a clear message to the
Israeli government and the international community that, at the grassroots
level, people of conscience are taking action to force Israel to comply with
international law and to bring about justice for the Palestinian people. We
give notice to the other stockists of SodaStream products in the city that we
will continue to take the message about SodaStream to the people of Brighton on
behalf of the Palestinian people. Congratulations to the people of Brighton and
Hove, who can tell the difference between ethical and unethical.’
protests are part of a wider international movement for Boycott, Divestment and
Sanctions (BDS), following a call in 2005 by over 130 civil society
organisations in Palestine.
The BDS Call urges a boycott of all Israeli companies until Israel complies
with international humanitarian law, recognizes the fundamental rights of the
Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality, the rights of return of
refugees and ends the siege of Gaza and the occupation of all lands occupied in
1967. The EcoStream protest has focused specifically on the Israeli programme
of illegal settlement expansion, and the presence in the store of products
manufactured on a key illegal settlement in the West Bank.