Julie Burchill (5 May) makes an offensive, unfounded and absurd analogy when she accuses human-rights campaigners picketing Ahava of "carrying on Hitler's work".There's another letter criticising Burchill for helping the case for the growth of Tesco, but that's another story.
The "little Ahava shop" in Covent Garden promises "beauty secrets from the Dead Sea". The real secrets it keeps are an ugly truth – its products come from stolen Palestinian natural resources in occupied Palestinian territory, and are produced in the settlement of Mitzpe Shalem. Israeli settlements on Palestinian land were declared illegal in a 2004 ruling of the International Court of Justice.Ahava seeks to profit from violations of international law and receives Israeli government subsidies for its role in whitewashing Israeli oppression. That two years of pickets and direct action have forced a landlord to refuse to renew Ahava's lease and to end their relationship with this criminal enterprise should be celebrated and be seen as part of the broader movement for Palestinian rights.Israel systematically denies Palestinians their basic rights and the international community has failed to hold it accountable. In response, Palestinian civil society calls for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law. Heeding this call, electronica band Faithless, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and scores of other artists have vowed not to play in Israel. Tower Hamlets council recently passed a policy excluding Veolia, a company that runs infrastructure projects for Israel's illegal settlements, from bidding on future service provision contracts in the borough.Boycotts helped to end apartheid in South Africa and have an important role to play if we are to bring an end to Israeli apartheid.Bruce Levy BDS London;Deborah Fink Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods;Sarah Colborne, Tim HicksPalestine Solidarity Campaign;Pete Jones International Solidarity Movement London; Michael KalmanovitzInternational Jewish anti-Zionist Network,London n7
May 10, 2011
Here's a letter in today's Independent protesting Julie Burchill's "absurd analogy" between a boycott of Israel and the nazis anti-Jewish boycott: