Saturday September 28 marked a national day of action to highlight the scandal of high street stores marketing Sodastream – fizzy drink-making products for the home produced by an Israeli company operating out of an illegal settlement on Palestinian land. There were protests in many cities around the UK.
J-BIG made a point of supporting the campaigners in Brighton and Hove who have steadfastedly maintained weekly protests since the Ecostream store opened just over a year ago. They have faced vicious attacks from Zionists, supported by the Brighton Argus newspaper in attacking them as anti-semites. One of those they have vilified is Jewish PSC member Terry Yason who addressed the protest on Saturday to put the record straight.
Here’s what he said.
Over 2000 years ago Hillel, the most famous of all Jewish Rabbis, said when asked What is Judaism? – “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary.”
Since Hillel Jews have consistently supported the underdog – at The Battle of Cable Street against the Fascists in Brick Lane, London in 1936 , in the International Brigades in Spain fighting Franco for the democratically elected Republican Government, in the Civil Rights Movement riding and dying with the Freedom Riders in Mississippi in the 60s and fighting in the ANC against Apartheid South Africa. We have an honourable history.
But today the Government of the “Jewish State” of Israel defy Hillel in their inhumane treatment of the Palestinians. For the first time in Jewish history, to their shame, they have created their own Underdog.
SodaStream, the parent of the Brighton shop Eco Stream, manufacture their products in a factory situated in the illegal settlement of MISHOR ADUMIN. In the Sodastream corporate video their CEO… claims they are one big happy family. Here is what one Palestinian worker says about working for Sodastream.
“I feel humiliated and I am also disgraced as a Palestinian, as the claims in the corporate video are all lies. We Palestinian workers in this factory always feel like we are enslaved . . . “
Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign is a universal movement, made up of ordinary people of all colours, religions , politics, nationalities and back grounds. Together we oppose the savage treatment meted out to the Palestinians by the Israeli government.
As a cornerstone of their propaganda , the Israeli Government continually label those who oppose her as anti Semitic.
Today I am here as a Jew, with my Jewish and non Jewish comrades, to destroy once and for all that insidious claim , and to proclaim that Anti Zionism is a call not for the destruction of the State of Israel but for its emancipation . When we opposed Apartheid in South Africa the result was the Rainbow Nation.
Like South Africa, Israel can become the democracy it so mistakenly calls itself, if it also abandons Apartheid.
To make even more of a nonsense of their lies; today we are joined by members of the two national Jewish organisations, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods .
We also have support from two Jewish artists who have sent these emails.
From actress Miriam Margolyes:
‘ A great wrong is being done in Israel & decent Palestinian people are having their lives destroyed. Brighton should emphatically NOT patronise the ECO shop. It is a fraud & a disgrace. ‘
From comedian and author Alexei Sayle:
‘I wish all the best to the demonstrators, Sodastream drinks taste like creosote anyway and the fact that they’re produced in an illegal settlement makes them doubly repulsive’
Israel was created in my name, exclusively for Jews by Jews, and as a Jew I feel a special responsibility to protest at the racist actions of the Israeli government towards the Palestinians – their colonial land grab , the relentless building of settlements on Palestinian land, their diversion of priceless water to the settlements, the constant confiscation of Palestinian land , the thousands of Palestinians in Israeli jails and to the shooting by the IDF of Palestinian children. In their their relentless and murderous pursuit of a land devoid of Palestinians they destroy the dream of Hillel.
Today I ask the Jews of the Diaspora to remember your history in supporting the underdog, and support us in withdrawing your support for Israeli Government policies towards the Palestinians.
To all the people of Brighton and Hove I ask you to boycott the EcoStream shop , refuse to buy SodaStream products and send them packing out of our beautiful city .
See also Tony Greenstein’s blog for a detailed report and more pictures.