Die-in and leafleting inside the store
Attempting to deliver the petitions to the duty manager
Die-in outside the main entrance
Victory to the Intifada!
“Marks and Spencer have a long history of support for Israel. There have been M&S directors active in support of Israel since its foundation. Today they not only sell a large number of Israeli goods, but lobby on Israel’s behalf through the British-Israel Chamber of Commerce and other forums. M&S say they are celebrating 125 years in business this year, but they have been backing 60 years of misery and occupation for the Palestinian people. M&S are a British company and an important symbol of British corporate support for Israel, and that’s why we’re targeting them today.”
Campaigners say the protests were timed to mark the 42nd anniversary of Israel’s acts of occupation in June 1967, which resulted in the displacement of over 200,000 Palestinians from their homes, many of them already refugees from the 1948 displacements brought about by the establishment of the Israeli state. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights continue to the present. The occupation of Gaza ended formally in 2005, but has been followed by repeated incursions by Israeli military forces, most seriously in the summer of 2006 and in January this year, resulting in substantial civilian deaths and injuries and destruction of vital civilian infrastructure, leaving 90,000 homeless and many without electricity or clean drinking water. Campaigners say that the population of Gaza is also suffering under a crippling blockade imposed by Israel since the summer of 2007.
A video of the actions is being produced and will follow shortly
Pickets continue weekly in Newcastle, Thursdays from 5-7pm on Northumberland St
* Local press report of the January protest: http://www.sundaysun.co.uk/news/north-east-news/2009/01/18/gaza-protest-brings-city-centre-to-a-halt-79310-22717429/
In Britain pickets of Marks and Spencer were first reported in Manchester in autumn 2000 following the start of the second Intifada (uprising). They quickly spread to cities around Britain, with a weekly picket of the company’s flagship store on Oxford Street in London continuing from 2000 to the present.
M&S sales of Israeli imports in 2000 amounted to £240 million (Jewish Chronicle, 8 December 2000)
As early as the 1940s M&S Chairman Israel Sieff openly advocated ethnic cleansing in Palestine: “large sections of the Arab population of Palestine should be transplanted to Iraq and other Middle-Eastern Arab States” (Jewish Chronicle, 21/09/1941)
M&S received the Jubilee Award, Israel’s highest tribute, from Israeli PM Netanyahu in 1998, for its services to Israel. In Nov 2000 the Israeli ambassador to London honoured M&S for their economic support to Israel (Jewish Chronicle, 24 November 2000).
M&S today is one of the core members of the British-Israel Chamber of Commerce (B-ICC). CEO Stuart Rose was guest speaker at the annual dinner of the B-ICC on 09/12/04, alongside the Israeli ambassador and the British ambassador to Israel (www.b-icc.org.uk).
M&S’ Political and Ideological support for the racist Zionist regime continued when Stuart Rose spoke alongside the Israeli Ambassador at a meeting in support of British ORT, an organisation actively building support for Israel in Britain, whose chairman David Sieff is also a director of M&S (08/04/08)
M&S’ consistent support for Israel can be explained by what CEO Stuart Rose described on 8th April 2008 as a management policy of “internal succession, to nurture managerial talent that was already imbued with the values, goals and strategy of Marks & Spencer.” Part of those values and goals has always been – and continues to be – support for Israel.