Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

Oyster can go to England to “de-flower” Israelis

Posted by jlifer on February 18, 2007


Article cross-posted from the Jerusalem Post.

I was disheartened to learn about Oyster’s deep resentment for the international day of love. But Oyster should not feel alone in his abhorrence of the delectable holiday that brings millions of people joy, flowers and chocolate. Some Brits joined in on the V-Day bash this year.

Check out this story about a group of bumbling idiots in the U.K. who feel like “causing a lot of disturbance” rather than doing anything (re-)productive. When I got the story assignment from the J’lem Post, I wanted to steer clear of the whole thing because I just don’t enjoy hearing some self-proclaimed liberal group’s disillusions about Israel. This was juicer though. It just kept getting better and better. Every reason the anti-Israel group had for their pittance of a protest was shot down by reality. Read on, read on… (Article from www.jpost.com)

Protesters try to take bloom off UK’s love affair with Israeli Valentine’s Day flowers

By Laura Rheinheimer and Ellis Weintraub

To hurt the high-volume sales of Israeli flowers on Valentine’s Day in the United Kingdom, three anti-Israel protesters chained themselves to a fence over the weekend outside the distribution site of Carmel-Agrexco in Middlesex. Police arrested them.

The UK-based Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign launched the protest on Saturday as part of a five-day campaign against the sale of Israeli flowers.

According to Abraham Daniel, director of the Flower Growers’ Association in Israel, Valentine’s Day should bring in NIS 11.5 million in sales. This amounts to 10 percent of the NIS 115m. Israel expects to export to England this year.

The boycott group hopes to diminish these sales, according to group spokesman Tom Hayes. They aim to damage Carmel-Agrexco’s reputation, negatively impact profits and lobby supermarkets to not sell Israeli flowers, he said.

No stores have agreed to the boycott yet, Hayes told The Jerusalem Post in a telephone interview. But his group remained in contact with several stores, he added.

Saturday afternoon, some 90 demonstrators blocked trucks from leaving Carmel-Agrexco’s Middlesex site. According to Amos Or, Agrexco-UK’s general manager, the protest lasted from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and caused a 30-minute delay.

“It’s a small, noisy group, but the police were well prepared,” he told the Post. Most of the trucks carried Coral strawberries grown by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, he added.

But according to Hayes, the protesters stopped operations for the whole afternoon. His said his group opposed all Israeli companies, but had specifically targeted those with farms in the Jordan Valley, believing they exploit cheap Palestinian labor. He said Palestinians could not develop their own farms in the area because of security checkpoints.

Hayes said his group did not distinguish between flowers grown in the Jordan Valley with those grown elsewhere in Israel.

“We are the Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign, so we are against all Israeli flowers,” he said.

Hayes said his group was against Agrexco for several reasons: It is partially owned by the Israeli government, it operates farms on settlements in the Jordan Valley “at the Palestinians’ expense,” and it “profits from the apartheid.”

He said he based his information on a recent visit to Israel in which he met with workers in the Jordan Valley.

Daniel said only 1%-2% of the flowers grown in the Jordan Valley were exported.

“Most of the flowers from the Jordan Valley are sold in local markets,” he said.

Jordan Valley Regional Council head Dubi Tal said although Palestinians needed permission to enter the area, they were free to work wherever they want. There were “no complaints from outside [organizations] or the Palestinian side,” he said. Palestinians were free to establish farms in the valley, he added.

According to B’Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli, only Palestinians who are prepared to work on a settlement in the Jordan Valley or those who live there may enter the area.

Michaeli said Palestinians from outside the Jordan Valley sometimes encountered problems accessing land they own in the region.

According Atzmon Meltzer, the general manager of a flower distributor called Aviv, the Jordan Valley exports only 5% of Israel’s total flower exports. Israel grows most of its flowers in the Arava, around Beersheba, the North and the Jezreel Valley, he said. Aviv and a European company hope to buy Agrexco from the government, he added.


2 Responses to “Oyster can go to England to “de-flower” Israelis”

  1. Oyster said

    “V-Day” has a totally-different meaning for the Brits, me’thinks. That’s their celebration of the Allied Forces victory over the Axis in WWII.

    C’mon, what’s there to like about VD? 😉

  2. lchaimlover said

    The things people will do for their cause never fails to amuse me…

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