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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ahava store chased out of London location

From TheJC:
The UK branch of Israeli cosmetics store, Ahava, is moving from its central London shop after years of pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

Protesters claim that the products sold in the store are manufactured in a factory in Israeli settlement, Mitzpe Shalom in the West Bank but are "misleadingly" labelled as produced in Israel.

The owner of the shop, currently in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, is looking for other sites after owners of neighbouring stores complained to the landlord following protests.

Supporters claim it has been "chased out" of its location by regular "noisy and intimidating" demonstrations.

A spokeswoman for Shaftesbury PLC, which owns the property as well as several others in the Seven Dials area, said: "When Ahava's lease expires in September, we will not offer them a new one."

Pro-Palestinian protesters have been demonstrating fortnightly outside the shop, which opened in April 2007, for more than two years. A counter group of pro-Israeli supporters also demonstrate outside.
The owner of the store next door shows the spinelessness we can expect from much of the UK:
Colin George, manager of clothes shop The Loft, next door to Ahava, said: "I'm pleased Ahava is leaving. It's brought the street down. I've complained to the landlords, as has everyone here. Everyone would like them to leave. I wish they had left two years ago.

"Protesters are just going to follow them around, wherever they go. Maybe they should be an online business instead."
Perhaps it is time to stage noisy protests outside The Loft? Then Mr. George can follow his own advice!

After all, he believes that any group can shut down any shop they want to, just by acting obnoxious.