'Libya threatened investors in 'Zionist' Marks & Spencer'

WikiLeaks: Libyan gov't "adopted repugnant anti-Semitic tactics," said it may murder investor in faked car accident.

December 21, 2010 10:52
1 minute read.
Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer 311. (photo credit: AP)


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Senior Libyan officials attempted to close the Tripoli branch of UK department store Marks & Spencer and threatened those involved in opening the store,  because it is a "'Zionist entity' with Jewish origins that supports Israel and 'the killing of Palestinians,'" according to a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.

The cable, sent in June 2008, explained that the Libyan government "adopt[ed] repugnant anti-Semitic tactics," with an embassy contact warning that "state security officials may visit personal harm" on the store's investors. "They then noted darkly that if those methods proved insufficient, they would see to it that [name redacted] was involved in a fatal car accident."

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"Some Libyan observers have expressed concern that M&S was allowed to open in the first place if the government's position was that it was a 'Jewish-owned company' and therefore should not be allowed to operate in Libya," the cable explained.

The cable asks "how did it come to this?" answering that, "in typical fashion, while the government of Libya's public criticism has comprised pseudo-populist rhetoric against 'the forces of Zionism'...the ongoing drama of M&S illustrates the confluence of the personal and the political in a commercial climate in which senior regime officials have a direct stake in virtually anything worth owning or selling."

Months after the store was opened, Libyan Prime Minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi demanded that the store be sold to government officials or be closed permanently.

Marks & Spencer had been on the Arab League's "list of companies to be boycotted because of Jewish ownership or Israeli equities," until 2007.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of the latest Wikileaks

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