- Created: Saturday, 09 August 2014 20:35
- Written by London FRFI
On Thursday 7 August, supporters of FRFI campaign Victory to the Intifada blockaded the doors of Marks & Spencer (M&S) on Oxford Street in response to M&S' support for Israel. The doors were blocked with banners reading, 'Israeli Apartheid – Leave the Shop' and 'End the Siege of Gaza' attracting a good response from passing shoppers. There was a great turnout expressing the popular anger at Israel's massacre and blockade of Gaza, and Britain's continuing complicity.
Hundreds of people participated over the course of the demonstration, making this picket one of the loudest and most powerful yet. There was an open microphone with constant speeches and chanting supporting the struggle of the Palestinian people, and attacking British support for Israel. Demonstrators declared their solidarity with the activists from London Palestine Action who were recently arrested for closing down the Elbit arms factory near Birmingham, which produces engines for Israel's murderous drones. Hundreds more people signed our long-running petition calling for a boycott of M&S.
M&S is one Britain's biggest corporate sponsors of Israel, and a symbol of Britain's long history of support for Zionism. We cannot forget that the colonial settler state of Israel was conceived by the British ruling class in London, with the Balfour declaration of 1917 leading to the founding of Israel (out of 'British Mandate Palestine') in 1948. Since then, British businesses like M&S have legitimised the occupation and genocide of the Palestinian people with their political and economic support for Israel. On 8 August ex-M&S chairman Stuart Rose was made a Conservative peer. In 2008, he proclaimed to Zionist charity World Ort: 'we share the same values', and in 2010 he signed a letter to the Telegraph supporting the austerity measures. Today, he is working on privatising the NHS, appointed by the government to 'advise on NHS leadership' whilst sitting on the board of a major shareholder of private health company Care UK. Support for Zionism and austerity go hand in hand as they serve the interests of Britain's imperialist economy. Rose's seat in the House of Lords is his handsome reward from the British ruling class.
FRFI and Victory to the Intifada have been picketing M&S since in October 2000, soon after the beginning of the First Intifada - when Palestinian people rose up against the occupation. These pickets have been Britain's most consistent and longest lasting boycott action against Israel. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) released a statement on 6 August praising and encouraging direct action such as the LPA occupation of Elbit, and other civil disobedience in the heart of Israel's political and economic support - Britain, the US, and the rest of Europe. In a message to Palestine Solidarity organisations around the world, Khaled Barakat stated:
“These actions are part of thePalestinian, Arab and international resistance to the Israeli massacresagainst our people. They illustrate that the people of the world are fed up with the images they have seen for the past month – of children tornapart and innocent Palestinians besieged and bombarded. This has beenthe Palestinian reality for over 66 years – and the people of the worldare saying, ‘Enough!’ We want to see more of these direct actions, suchas occupying Israeli and U.S. embassies and consulates, shutting down
war profiteers and occupation corporations, and civil disobedienceactions in cities around the world. These actions make clear thatPalestinians are not alone, and that the people of the world are puttingtheir own bodies on the line because they will no longer tolerate the illegitimate occupation state’s actions.”
Support the call to action!
Join us for the next picket:
Thursday 14 August, 6-8pm
M&S, Oxford Street
(Marble Arch end)
Victory to the Intifada!
More information on M&S support for Israel and Victory to the Intifada: