For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Have you noticed something about the Israel haters who are constantly pushing for boycotts of Israeli products? They never protest against a product they personally would be unhappy to do without, such as their computer, their cell phone or cancer treatments, all of which are “tainted” with Israeli technology and creative invention. No, these hypocrites only protest against products they don’t actually need, or that are in abundant supply from other sources, like beauty products and shoes.
Case in point: Boutique Le Marcheur, a shoe store on St. Denis Street in Montreal, has since October been the scene of a weekly political performance. Every Saturday, activists from the group Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU) amass at the store to protest owner Yves Archambault and Ginette Auger’s inclusion of Israel-made shoes – the brand is Beautifeel – amongst their stock.
The protesters assumed Le Marcheur would be easy pickings in advancing their anti-Israel Boycott Divestment Sanction (BDS) campaign, as it nestles in the heart of the “Plateau,” Montreal’s very hip, artistic and leftwing, largely francophone enclave. To their surprise, Archambault and Auger stood firm. They are not political types, and they are in the business of selling the nicest shoes they can find.
Beautifeel fits that bill. They have been supported in their decision by a dedicated group of pro-Israel Jews and non-Jews who come out every Saturday to challenge the BDS people and, more important, to buy shoes at Le Marcheur.
Things got especially ugly when MNA Amir Khadir, co-leader of the hyper-nationalist party, Québec Solidaire, whose riding is in the area, joined the BDA crowd on December 11 to lend his authority to the harassment. His presence reminded some Quebecers of the 1920s, and the calls of ultra-nationalist anti-Semitic canon Lionel Groulx to “acheter chez nous” (shop at “our” stores, i.e. don’t patronize Jewish merchants). The campaign didn’t work then – Quebecers shopped where they got the best deals, which often meant patronizing Jewish stores – and it is not working now.
Pundits and other politicians reacted swiftly and angrily to Khadir’s intervention. A motion was brought forward in the National Assembly on February 9, condemning the boycott of Le Marcheur. Khadir was the sole MNA to vote against it and prevent its being debated (unanimity is required for such a motion to go to debate).
Khadir and his Québec Solidaire co-leader, radical feminist Françoise David, backed away from his participation in the harassment of Le Marcheur when it became clear that they had no political or public support. Khadir then pusillanimously stated that he was unaware of the nature of the project (demonstrably untrue), and smarmily “wish[ed] all possible success to Boutique Le Marcheur.”
That wasn’t enough for other politicians. Members of the National Assembly’s other three parties: François Bonnardel of the Action Démocratique du Québec, Parti Québécois MNA Martin Lemay and Liberal Lawrence Bergman visited the store to lend their support.
This is a historic moment for Quebec and Canada. It is the first time that any government in Canada – possibly in the world – has clearly rejected the BDS campaign. As Luciano Del Negro, executive director of the Quebec-Israel Committee (QIC), said: People always say the situation is more difficult in Quebec, but it is the National Assembly that has set a new benchmark on the issue that we hope will inspire other legislatures. There is now a consensus among the political class in Quebec that BDS is not acceptable. You don’t have that elsewhere in Canada.”
So kudos to Quebec and its political leadership for doing the right thing, and for so decisively standing against the anti-Semitism, which anyone with common sense can see is at the heart of the BDS campaign.
PAJU is planning to move on to their next target, a store that sells exclusively Israeli shoes. This odious group is relentless and won’t be happy until they have driven some honest merchant out of business. If and when that happens, they will strut and crow at their supposed triumph in having done their part to bring Israel to heel. They will have done nothing of the kind. Israel’s massive international trade will continue. PAJU is a flea on a lion’s back. What they will do is bring misery to an innocent individual and his or her family in a meaningless, intellectually and morally corrupt cause.
If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page. .
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"