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Italian Union Calls For Boycott of Jewish Shops Over Gaza War

Rivaling Italian politicians on the left and the right can agree on one thing: They are outraged by a recent call to boycott Jewish-owned shops in response to Israel's actions in Gaza. A trade union tied to retail and food businesses handed out flyers calling for a boycott of "shops in central Rome linked to the Israelite community" and apparently listed streets populated with Jewish shops as "sales dirtied by blood." Now Italian political leaders have called the boycott "criminal," and the Italian Jewish community plans to sue the union under antiracism laws.

The trade union defends the boycott. To see why,

. Union officials point to Israel's "military force against unarmed civilians" as reason to protest Italian businesses tied to the Middle Eastern country. Today, far from Italy, both Israel and Hamas rejected a UN call for a ceasefire as the war continued.

It's not uncommon for activists to call on consumers to stop supporting countries they believe violate human rights, such as China. But given Italy's history of anti-Semitism and the nature of the flyers, do you think this boycott amounts to criminal racism?


Join The Conversation
sikofit sikofit 8 years
Good, lets combat stupid with stupid. Ok, since jewish people in Italy (or anywhere else for that matter except the Israeli government in Israel) have nothing to do with this war I think we should boycott all Italian food shops and clothing stores and companies worldwide to pay for these stupid people in the Italy Union. Good agreed, we'll boycott and pay back all the hard working individuals who have nothing to do with the union and don't even live in Italy. Yeah everyone is an idiot...
nadiap nadiap 8 years
Jude C. noticed I said distinctly Israel's gov't. From reading Israel news sites I know there are groups in Israel who are against this. Unfortunately they're not in power. I do know the differences between the different groups. My arguments centered around The palestinians' rights to a decent life of their owns. Personally I think Israeli gov't's actions over the yrs has exacerbated hatred of jews living in other parts of the world, and That's very unfortunate. Vanilla. There is no doubt hamas shares the blame, but may I refer you to the UK independent and search Robert Fisk. The US and Israel were all for elections. However they did not anticipate the people voting for Hamas. They have been making them pay ever since. Moreadventurous. I'm talking in terms of the nazi's treatment of jews when they were taking their rights away vs their treatments of the palestinians. Gas Chambers? If someone murders you. No matter what tactics he/she used gas chamber? a bomb? the end result is the same. you're dead.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
yeah, add this to the list; nothing from china, nothing that tests on animals or uses animal products, nothing with corn in it. only free trade, recycled, organic, bulk items.
pequeña pequeña 8 years
This is not the right way to deal with the problem. As disgusted as I am with Israel's behaviour, not all Jewish people around the world are guilty for that. Many, many of them are against Israel's behaviour. Generalisations are always stupid and lead us to hate. These shop owners aren't reponsible for what's happening. I am in favour to boycott Israel (meaning to expel their ambassadors...) if they keep refusing to listen to what the rest of the world and the United Nations are saying. Israel's GovermentIsrael has so much power right now, a very powerful army (nuclear weapons included) and the USA protects them so they can pass on every resolution the UN issues. "How can Israeli's still cling to the victim status to justify committing genocide against an entirely other culture?"I couldn't agree with you more on that Ginger. It seems like the world would have learned with WWII. Israel should say the truth. This is a war agaist the civil population, not against Hamas.
Ginger Ginger 8 years
How can Israeli's still cling to the victim status to justify committing genocide against an entirely other culture? How many countries said after WW2, "Never Again". Yet it continues. Building on Jude C's comment: a simple primer to help differentiate the key players: Israel is a country (government and (frequently moving) geographical boundaries) Zionism is a political movement (worldwide, including some non-Jewish peoples) Judaism is a religion There are people who belong to one or more of those groups, but being in any of them does not guarantee you are in the others. There are actually a lot of Jewish people who are against the Israeli apartheid.
vanilla19 vanilla19 8 years
"My question is do the palestians have the right to resist being occupied, oppressed & murdered.? I say yes because essentially they've been paying for a crime they didn't commit." Hamas has refused a ceasefire twice while Israel has supported it. The reason Israel is carrying out strikes is to get rid of Hamas, which has been preventing Israel from creating an agreement with the Palestinian Liberation Organization for a two state agreement. Boycotting Jewish owned shops does not solve the problem. How do you think the Holocaust began?
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
patiwroblewski and nadiap, you are aware that not every Jewish person in the world is a Zionist, right? That not every Jewish person, or even every Israeli, supports Israel's aggression, and that many don't want anything more than peace? Of course it isn't right to go about trying to punish every Jew for Israel's actions--that's pretty much the same logic that says it's all right to go about attacking Palestinian civilians because of the actions of Hamas. It is never right to suspect or persecute a people in one land merely because of the ethnicity or religion they share with those in another land. Japanese internment camps on US soil, anyone? In any case, the failure of people to differentiate between the military actions of a nation's leadership and the people themselves is a large part of the problem in the first place.
m0readventur0us m0readventur0us 8 years
m0readventur0us m0readventur0us 8 years
ok first to "What exactly is the difference between Israel's gov't and the nazis? because I don't see any." GAS CHAMBERS .!.. and state sponsered exsperminations on live humans, like how mutch better jew skin is for making lamp shades out of than jipsee skin. and the israelis did not respond for a week wile bombs fell on there cities after the cease fire ended they did not attack anyone. and they had given gaza back to the palestinians and now they just want more. not to mention that the boycott is wrong but then again the italians have a long history of antisimitism, like the inqesition and ww2. but things can change and it maybe just an isulated groupe, but mabey they think people will support it.
Ginger Ginger 8 years
Malaysia has begun a boycott of US goods and businesses because of the US support of Israel. Coca Cola is being removed from thousands of Malay restaurants this week. "Malaysia's current Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has called for sanctions on Israel, saying the international community has a "moral duty" to save the Palestinian people. He said that Israel's "excessive deployment of military power" in its air and ground offensive on Gaza since 27 December was "absolutely immoral". In the conflict, so far 770 Palestinians and 14 Israelis have been killed, with thousands wounded." ** BBC Daily E-mail **
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Boycotting in Italy is just silly. As to the situation in Gaza, we need to also look at how long Isreal sat silent while rockets were fired into their towns, killing innocent civilians. What makes this worse is that Hamas is currently using tactics that are intentionally putting their own people in harm's way.
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 8 years
Boycotting stores in Italy won't help the situation in Gaza and its unfairly punishing Jews that have bugger all to do with the conflict. Damnit...I am so sad for those Palestinians trapped in this hellhole of a "life" that has been blown to bits around them for GENERATIONS now. What was once the most well-educated community in the Middle East, and one of the more progresive as well, has been utterly decimated with nobody willing to stand up and speak for them. If someone moved into your neighbourhood one day and said "OI, move over, this is ours now (oh it was ours 3000 years ago but yeah, anyway..)"....and just TOOK IT..then 20 or so odd years later TOOK MORE of it (and nobody stopped them)... Wouldn't you be pissed off too? The fact that most of the countries of this world won't take a harsher stance against this behaviour than "ooh, stop it, stop it RIGHT NOW, you guys" or abstaining is pretty sad. But yeah, boycotting shops in Italy - pointless and needlessly hateful towards Jews for the sake of being Jewish - not helpful.
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
i feel that if they're boycotting businesses that have ties to israel, thats one thing, but if they are using this situation as an excuse to discriminate against all jews, thats not right.
Ginger Ginger 8 years
Economic sanctions have been a useful tool to bring change for human rights. The boycott against South Africa started with a couple of US cities, and eventually grew to be a worldwide effort to condemn their apartheid policy. Why does the world enable Israel to practice apartheid? The US has donated billions of dollars every year to Israel, including military arms. While the Palestinians are the oldest and largest refugee population in the world. It's not effective to simply target Jewish owned businesses, because not all Jewish people support what Israel is doing. And there are a lot of US and European businesses who do business with Israel and can be boycotted locally. That was part of the South Africa boycott movement, and it's since been used against Shell and Chevron for their support of the brutal dictatorship Nigeria in the 90s. There is not even agreement within Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated in 1995 by a right wing Zionist who opposed signing the Oslo peace agreement.
Oh, I wanted to be sure to mention that I do not agree with the boycotting of Jewish stores.
I agree with the above statements. I have a hard time supporting a country that is killing 100 people for every one of their's killed, on the basis that they have the right to exist. Ummm... who decided Palestinians don't have the right to exist? We can't have it both ways. We cannot promote democracy throughout the world, then turn around and be upset when the citizens of a country vote in someone we don't agree with. It's their vote not ours. If they feel the need to vote a group into power they feel will protect them, that is their right. They obviously need to be protected, based on what is occurring now. Any valid response by the Israelis given to why they bombed a UN sanctioned school killing 40 women and children, rather than the Hamas group that was supposedly taking shelter there?
nadiap nadiap 8 years
I have a question. Do you think Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands, building of settlements on said lands, dictating where, when and what time paletininians can move about, cutting off food and water to starve them into submission etc amount to "criminal racism". What exactly is the difference between Israel's gov't and the nazis? because I don't see any. I have pages & pages of research on the creation of Israel and the role of British, French and Americans in it. The palestinians were expeled from their homes & villages and became refugees in their own freakin' land. The crap those people have had to live under in the past 50 years, still going through today is beyond evil. Yet noone seems to care. Middle east gov'ts just used their plights for their own prapaganda vs the west. The west because of their past guilts let Isreal do whatever the hell they want. I've been watching the so called news in this country and I hear the same things and read the same things over and over "Israel has the right to defend itself". You also get the same from the current useless administration & those sell-out politicians. Makes one wonder did Israel's lobby drill that sentence into their skulls as they handed them the checks. My question is do the palestians have the right to resist being occupied, oppressed & murdered.? I say yes because essentially they've been paying for a crime they didn't commit.
patiwroblewski patiwroblewski 8 years
i dont see anything bad in boycotting those stores for a while...Israel needs to be stopped if someone hasnt noticed yet. and since most jews as far as we can assume support their holy lands citizens I dont see anything bad in those Italians boycott. relax people. is it just me or do i have the impression that only americans are supporting our chosen people? I'm sad...lets pray for those poor civilians in Paletinensa
ally14 ally14 8 years
This is ridiculous and it saddens me, really. It's as if no one has learned anything from history. Like tiabia, I'm also glad that the government is actually showing some initiative because in some countries (even fully civilized countries) they just ignore discrimination.
tiabia tiabia 8 years
This is outrageous. I'm glad that the Italian government is trying to put a stop to this outright hatred.
Myst Myst 8 years
Absolutely outrageous but I'm not surprised. I'm living in South Florida and last week pro-Israel and Pro-Palestine supporters have come to blows.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
(completely off topic) Jude and make me want to change my avatar to a picture of my tabby!
jenks88 jenks88 8 years
A bit unnecessary. Seems like the trade union is trying to pander to someone, i just cant work out who. And of course, every Jewish person or supports the Israeli action in gaza. Seems very reminiscent of something that happened about 70 years ago in Germany...
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
That is completely awful and horrible and should not be tolerated. It's only a short tumble down the slippery slope before open attacks against Jewish businesses are encouraged.
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