London cafe removes sign banning Israeli products

Cafe owner Chris Boddington: We all know Israel keeps 1.5 million Palestinians in a prison-camp called Gaza.

anti israel protest 248 88 (photo credit: )
anti israel protest 248 88
(photo credit: )
A cafe owner in the British capital has removed a sign which said his cafe does not use any Israeli products. Cafe Crema in New Cross, around 11 km. southeast of central London, had a sign stating: "We do not use any Israeli products. We are not anti-Semitic but anti-fascist. Jews are as welcome here as anyone else." Owner Chris Boddington supports a trade boycott. The sign replaced one saying: "Please boycott Israeli goods." In a subsequent discussion on the "Bob from Brockley" blog and on the Engage Web site, the cafe owner explained the motivation behind the sign. "Cafe Crema is my cafe. In response to a couple of other postings: Yes, Israel is fascist in terms of its treatment of the Palestinians. It is an occupying force which does not carry out its responsibilities under the Geneva Convention. "Added to this, we all know that they keep a million and a half Palestinians in a prison-camp called Gaza and proceed to exterminate them at will in the name of self-defense; the Germans also had to defend themselves against the French Resistance, and the Apartheid regime of South Africa against the ANC." Last week the owner admitted he had made a mistake and apologized. In a statement posted on the Bob from Brockley blog Boddington said: "Fair enough, I can now see that it was a mistake to write 'Jews are as welcome here as anyone else' in that it has been taken, by many people, in exactly the opposite way that it was intended, but perhaps I should have foreseen that - I apologize. I wanted to also state what is obvious to me: that that doesn't mean we're anti-Semitic. I only felt that needed stating because certain people, such as Israeli politicians and pro-Israeli journalists, deliberately try to muddy the water by conflating anti-Israeli sentiment with anti-Semitism." However, Boddington said he would continue to avoid Israeli goods. "Once again, to anyone I've offended, or made feel unwelcome, I apologize. However, the boycott remains. I'm genuinely sorry if this means we'll lose certain customers; that's obviously not our intention." "The anti-Israel boycotts leave Jews vulnerable and isolated, despite whatever the boycotters' feelings towards Jews may actually be," said Mark Gardiner, communications director of CST, a community charity that provides security and represents British Jewry to police, government and media on anti-Semitism and security issues. "This was summed up by this case, where the owner seemed to have felt he was doing the right thing by publicly stating that Jews were welcome in his cafe, yet this sparked the opposite emotion from politically aware anti-racists in the Engage Web site group," Gardiner said.