Thursday, January 15, 2009

Starbucks in London firebombed and looted. Other "Jewish-owned" shops targeted.

Early this morning, thugs smashed their way into the coffee shop as the manager hid inside the office. As he watched on the security monitor in the office, they daubed racist graffiti and finally lobbed a molotov-cocktail through the plate-glass window. Luckily he managed to make it to the fire-escape and raise the alarm. Fire-fighters managed to stop the flames spreading to the adjacent buildings.

At Indymedia, it is being flagged up as a triumph of “peace activism” (”Smashing the Israeli war machine - Starbucks, Whitechapel firebombed ” is the headline). But sane people, see this for what it is: thoughtless terror and attempted murder. Sane people know that Whitechapel shops often have residential properties above them and that fires spread quickly through the tightly packed buildings. But then sane people know thatStarbucks isn’t an Israeli company either. Sane people know that firebombing shops because you think they’re owned by Jews… oh let’s not waffle: sane people know that firebombing shops is not legitimate political activism - for any reason. Even Spiked Online gets it.

Depressingly, the news that a shop in London was firebombed and daubed with antisemitic graffiti seems only to have been reported in the local press - and of course, crowed about at Indymedia.

So what is causing this? Who are the people hoping to incite Kristallnacht2.0? Some have pointed their finger at George Galloway, with his call to “shut down Israel shops”. The Respect machine is now in overdrive,letting it be known that he was referring to a handful of small booths that operate in shopping centres, selling cosmetics.  We take him at his word. Of course, one of these “Israel Shops” was smashed up in Belfast earlier this week.

Galloway must, of course, have been very sure that his audience knew which particular chain of shops he was taking about, and was, no doubt, very surprised to find that others thought he was encouraging action to be taken, generally, against businesses connected to Israel. His spokesman, Rob Hoveman, even went so far as explain that Galloway opposes a boycott of Marks and Spencer. But, as a socialist, does he have no regard for the safety and the livelihoods of the workers at those businesses he thinks deserve targetting? Are they to blame for the war in Gaza? Where was this ’socialist’s’ reminder to respect the staff while “shutting down” shops?

Starbucks daubed with Magen Dovid

Starbucks daubed with Magen Dovid in Beirut

And then of course there is Ken Livingstone’s chum, Dr Qaradawi, who Ken describes as one of the “most influential” Islamic scholars today. He certainly is influential. Qaradawi said five days ago:

Here in Qatar, we have a branch of Marks and Spencer, which regularly dedicates its Saturday revenue to Israel. We have a Starbucks, which serves coffee. They used to hand a sign on the doors of their shops: “We benefit our most important partner, which is Israel, we help in the education of students in Israel, we help build up the Israeli defense arsenal,” and so on. People go and drink their expensive coffee. Instead of paying 2 riyals for a cup of coffee, they pay 20 riyals. This Starbucks is Zionist. Why do we not teach the nation to make do with its own products, when possible, even if they are of lesser quality? This is the only way the nation will rise. My brothers, put the boycott against the nation’s enemies into action. Every riyal you pay turns into a bullet in the heart of your brothers in Gaza and in other Islamic countries.

This call, and other similar calls by Qaradawi to boycott shops thought to be connected to Israel, was based on a transparent lie. So naturally, they were republished on websites all over the world. One ended up on the site of the Young Muslim Organisation UK. Here is one such call, presented asthe answer to a query on what action to take against business “supporting the Israeli War Machine”.The YMO is the youth wing of the disgraced Bangladeshi fascists, Jamaat-e-Islami. They operate out of the London Muslim Centre, a wing of the Jamaati controlled East London Mosque: the institution chosen by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, for his endorsement of sharia law systems in the United Kingdom. It is within walking distance of the firebombed Starbucks.

In Kensington, London, a Starbucks is smashed, in Lebanon one is shut down. And now another London Starbucks has been bombed.

Half a mile away, a Tesco delivery van was attacked by a gang of Asian youths. The driver - a working stiff, surely no agent of Israel - was hospitalised with head injuries and needed seven stitches. In nearby Commercial Road, a Tesco supermarket was targeted this weekend, the windows smashed and “KILL JEWS” daubed on the walls in paint.

And none of this is making the national media!

Firebombed Starbucks in Whitechapel this morning
Firebombed Starbucks in Whitechapel, January 13

Starbucks in Kensington High Street
Rampage: Starbucks in Kensington High Street fared the worst of all the businesses attacked by pro-Palestinian demonstrators on January 10

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