Union Terrace Gardens, Aberdeen, Scotland.
(photo credit: RAGAZZI99 / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
An Israeli man living and working in Aberdeen, Scotland, said he is being hounded by pro-Palestinian activists in what he described as a “game of chase the Jew.”
His story has gone viral after BBC Scotland reported on it last Thursday. Nissan Ayalon is the owner of Jericho Skin Care, which sells Dead Sea products and said he faces weekly protests at his stall.
“It’s like I don’t have the right to exist,” he told BBC Scotland. “I have to justify my existence. I have to ask for permission to live, to walk to work. We were accused of murdering, mass murdering, slaughter, criminals, we were called criminal enterprise. We were called baby killers. There is nowhere else for me to go. I love it here. Where is my equal opportunity?”
Ayalon’s business has been targeted in the past when he sold his products in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where a video was filmed showing anti-Israel activists throwing red paint and dolls at his stall. Incidents of this kind continued when he moved to Glasgow, and followed him again to Aberdeen.
The Jewish Human Rights Watch group accused the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) of targeting Ayalon and, in July, welcomed a Scottish court ruling which found Mick Napier of the campaign guilty of aggravated trespass and ignoring a police order.
He was not convicted of a racially motivated crime, which he highlighted in his comment to BBC Scotland in response to claims that the campaign’s actions are antisemitic.
“It’s ludicrous,” he said. “We hate the sin, not the sinner. It’s the company that’s being targeted; the individual is irrelevant. We talk to people, we try to persuade people to shop elsewhere. He is selling the proceeds of crime.”
Two other members of the campaign were previously convicted, one of racially abusing Ayalon and another of ignoring police while targeting the business.
Robert Festenstein of Jewish Human Rights Watch said: “If you target a Jewish man and drive him from Belfast to Glasgow, and then from Glasgow to Aberdeen, and then try and drive them from there, however you claim you might not be antisemitic, it’s impossible not to acknowledge the truth. And it’s not enough for them to say we’re only interested in the product he’s selling.”
The BBC Scotland report was shared on social media by pro-Israel advocacy group Stand With Us as well as Christians United for Israel-UK.
"PSC claim they are not antisemitic, but they fail to see the hatred they are displaying," the latter wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. "This is an individual businessman who is selling a product he loves from his own country. He is being targeted by a large and aggressive organization whose only goal is to put him out of business because he is Israeli. This is despicable behaviour. Let's hope this man's business thrives! And if we're ever in Aberdeen we will be stopping by this store to buy some Dead Sea products."