Anti-Israel protesters had stepped up their activities prior to last week’s Israel Apartheid Campaign, whose organizers worked hard to cripple Israeli establishments worldwide.
One of the cities plagued by such activities is Vancouver, Canada. Israeli Shani Bar-Oz, who owns a store carrying Israeli-made toiletries in down-town Vancouver, says the alarmingly growing rate of protests by anti-Israel activists, has her fearing for her safety.
Bar-Oz, 33, said her store is often targeted by anti-Israel protesters shouting anti-Semitic slogans.
During the last bout of rallies, she recalled, people arrived at the store to target her personally: “They were shouting anti-Semitic slogans like ‘Heil Hitler.’
“On the first day (of the protests) one of my employees called me in tears – there were dozens of people standing outside the store and shouting. They had a doll in the image of Lieberman and one of a vulture. It was horrible.”
The protesters, she added, do more than just block the entrance to her store – they distribute flyers of anti-Israeli propaganda: “It wreaks havoc on my business reputation. I have to explain to my clients and my investors why I’m under attack.
“I’m very proud of being an Israeli, but it’s not easy” she told Ynet. “I’ve become an ambassador of sorts – I keep having to explain Israel to people, but all I do is sell soap.”
Bar-Oz contacted the Jewish leadership in Vancouver and informed them of her plight. “I asked for their help because I’m all alone here. I have no one else to turn to. I told them I feel like I’m exposed on the front line.
“I really feel all alone here. I’m a sitting duck and I don’t feel safe,” she added. “I don’t know what this week will bring, and I also worry about reaching out to the Jewish community. I don’t want this to spin out of control.”
Bar-Oz explained that the head of the anti-Israel group in Vancouver is a woman named Charlotte Keats, an American married to a Palestinian. “She’s extremely radical in her opinions – she’s practically a neo-Nazi.”
Canada’s Immigration Minister Jason Kenney recently visited the store as a show of support: “He heard about my case through the Jewish community. He told me that the group that’s attacking me makes up a very small percentage of the Canadian people and that he was hounded because of his support for Israel too,” she said.
“Vancouver”, she continued, “is a diverse and special city. Canada really is a wonderful democracy, but at the end of the day I fear for my life and the lives of those I’m responsible for.”
Bar Oz’s Story Elicits Enormous Support
The story of Shani Bar-Oz elicited a huge wave of support and generated new business, the shop owner told Ynet.
“I received a huge embrace and plenty of support,” Bar-Oz said, after an article about her plight appeared on the news. The boycott campaign against Bar-Oz has backfired, with new orders pouring in as result of the story.
“There were Israelis who came into the store and said they saw the article and want to support and help me; I expressed my heartfelt thanks to them,” she said. “People won’t stop calling and ordering products on the phone and online, and this is truly touching and making me stronger.”
Bar-Oz praised Israelis for being there for each other at times of need, as evidenced by her own story. “There’s something apparently entrenched in us – at a time of crisis we all enlist for the cause,” she said.
Israeli Public Diplomacy Minister Speaks Out
Israel’s Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein, also expressed his support for Bar-Oz.
“I read the article and the story is truly shocking. I’m urging her not to give up, and the fact remains that she’s not hiding Israeli products,” he said. “This is important because these loud protestors wish to scare businesses and prompt them to shut down. As long as she’s not doing it, I think she’s winning.”
The minister also vowed to speak with Canadian government officials and share the story with them.
“As we know, Canada is a very important and close friend of Israel. This is clearly not a mass phenomenon,” the minister said. “Yet these groups, although small, are very dedicated, well-funded and focused on their objective.”
ACT NOW FOR ISRAEL (ANI)
We urge you to join United with Israel’s ANI Initiative in taking action for Israel. ANI is the acronym for “Act Now for Israel” and in Hebrew the word “ANI” means “I”. It is up to each one of us to take a stand for Israel. We cannot rely on others. Every individual must realize and say that it is “I” who can make a real difference for Israel!
We ask you to contact the Mayor of Vancouver and insist that this hateful and unjustified protesting STOP immediately. Canada is a very strong supporter of Israel, which makes it very surprising that this type of activity can take place.
It will just take a few moments of your time to email Vancouver’s Mayor Gregor Robertson to express your protest of this despicable anti-Israel activity.
You can copy & paste the following:
Honorable Mayor Robertson:
Canada has been a strong ally of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. We strongly protest hateful, inciteful anti-Israel boycott campaigns in Vancouver. We urge you to take action to ensure that these activities cease immediately.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
His email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
‘SHARE’ this Action Item with your friends so they can also make a difference for Israel!