The campaign to boycott Israel is absolutest. It seeks a complete economic, academic and cultural boycott of Israel, its institutions, its businesses and its people. From the boycott of Jewish refugees and immigrants in the 1930s, to the Arab League boycott of Israel, to the PSC’s Boycott Israeli Goods campaign launched in 2001, the aim has been clear.
More recently though, the boycotters have tried to hide their ultimate aim. In the last decade, Israel boycott campaigns have tended to target companies for their links to the IDF, or for working over the Green Line. These were seen as easier targets.
Sometimes the mask slips, and London Palestine Action’s campaign against Sabon is one such case.
Sabon is an international luxury soap and cosmetics chain based in Israel. It’s not accused of anything special – its only ‘sin’ is that it’s an Israeli company, owned by Israelis.
Sabon opened a shop in central London a few years ago, and has been the target of regular protests ever since. Activists harass shoppers and staff, stage stunts inside the shop, and generally try and make things difficult, all because they don’t like the nationality of the shop’s owners.
The most recent protest was last weekend, when around ten people effectively shut down the shop by unfurling banners inside and outside, chanting at staff.
London Palestine Action’s campaign against Sabon is close to being outright racist in its targeting of an Israeli-owned business. For all of the boycotters’ claims, the Sabon action just shows the maximalist aims of the Israel boycott campaign.