demo pickets M&S
By Chris Bunting
10 December 2000
Marks And Spencer has denied close links with the Israeli authorities
after Muslim and anti-Israel groups staged demonstrations outside
its stores yesterday and called for a boycott of the chain by British
The Islamic Human Rights Commission, which has 2,300 members in
the UK, and Action Alert, a small group of anti-Israel campaigners
set up only two months ago, are calling for shoppers to shun the
store because of what they believe are its close links with Israel.
A group of 15 protesters gathered outside the flagship Marks and
Spencer's store in Oxford Street yesterday, accusing the store of
supporting Israeli killings of children in the occupied territories.
Peaceful protests were also planned for four other London stores
and in Manchester and St Albans.
Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of Islamic Human Rights Commission,
said: "Marks and Spencer have made it quite clear that they
are supporting Israel, both historically and currently. We believe
they are supporting a system that justifies killing children and
that this is morally wrong."
He said reports in the Israeli press indicated that the store bought
$233m (£166m) of goods from the country annually. "That
is significant support and it is really British consumers who are
paying for that support," he said.
Jane Lowe, a Marks and Spencer spokeswoman, said: "We are
not supporting any country. We do not support Israel. We just support
good clothes." She said the company bought half a billion pounds
worth of clothes from the Middle East every year; its Israeli trade
was only a fraction of that total. "Historically we have had
links with Israel but they have been much more on a personal basis.
The people that founded us were Jewish," she said.
For Details on the M&S Boycott :