threat doesn't scare
By RICHARD ALLEN GREENE
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
December 14, 2000
British store shrugs off boycott threat from
LONDONA British department store chain is vowing not to be
swayed by Muslim calls to boycott the company because it does business
"We are a global player and we support many countries, including
Israel," a Marks & Spencer spokeswoman told JTA.
"We have a history and a background with Israel that we are
very proud of," Cheryl Kuczynski said.
Two groups, the Islamic Human Rights Commission and Action Alert,
staged small protests outside two of the chain's stores recently.
The groups plan to continue picketing every Saturday, a commission
Nafeez Ahmed described the protests as "an example to other
companies that are doing business with Israel."
The IHRC has over 2,000 members in the United Kingdom. Action Alert
is a loose, new group of activists who work mostly via the Internet.
The protests to date have been very small, Kuczynski said.
"We were anticipating protests at six stores last weekend
and only had two," including at the chain's flagship store
at London's Marble Arch, Kuczynski said. But Ahmed said the protests
had "only just started."
The protesters passed out leaflets saying "M&S Supports
Israel. Boycott M&S."
A spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in London said the protests
were not constructive.
"You cannot resolve issues or promote peaceful understanding
or enhance Palestinian welfare through boycotts," D.J. Schneeweis
The Israeli ambassador to England recently honored Marks &
Spencer for the company's continued support of Israel.
The clothier bought about $325 million worth of merchandise from
Israel last year. That figure includes products produced in Jordan
and exported via Israel, Kuczynski pointed out.
Marks & Spencer, probably the U.K.'s most venerable mid-range
department store, was founded in 1884 by Russian Jewish refugee