Sussex Friends of Israel Celebrate Bagels Against Bigotry Party

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(Brighton, 28 Sept. 2013) — Gathering outside Brighton’s environmentally friendly refill store EcoStream supporters of Israel held a ‘Bagels Against Bigotry’ celebration at the shop on Western Road. The event was held as a counter-demonstration to a planned day of protest by BDS, the anti-Israel, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions group.

The bagel-themed party started at 11.30am outside the Ecostream store on Western Road Brighton, with participants offering home baked cakes and filled bagels for passers-by to enjoy as they visited Ecostream.

Police estimates put at 45 the number of those joining the anti-Israel ‘BDS’ Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions group attending the event, which had been billed by the BDS as a ‘national day of action’.
Twenty minutes after their arrival Sussex Police moved the protesters to the opposite side of Western Road, where their shouts were diluted by passing traffic and obscured by the passage of red double decker buses.

Despite the protests, Ecostream recorded its highest week of sales since opening in Brighton 13 months ago. During Saturday’s activities the store exhibited a steady flow of customers refilling their Sussex-sourced oils, vinegars and green detergents, stocking up with dry goods and purchasing Sodastream machines.

Sussex Friends of Israel organiser Simon Cobbs said: “The turnout from supporters of Israel, from across the country today has been superb, we outnumbered the anti-Israeli groups by at least two to one, and at the same time we had a party. I want to thank everyone for their support today, it just shows what can be achieved when the community comes together to counter bigotry.

“Our cross-denominational supporters have been baking cakes, filling bagels and, most importantly, at the same time supporting the trade of Ecostream, one of Brighton’s greenest and most environmentally friendly shops.

“We were really surprised that the ‘national day of action’ only generated 45 protesters, and despite their shouting and screaming, they didn’t interrupt our ‘Bagels Against Bigotry’ party, while Ecostream reported brisk trade throughout the day, which capped a record breaking week of sales”.

According to the Argus, Daniel Birnbaum, boss at the company in Mishor Adumin, has previously insisted the store will not been driven out of Brighton.

He told the Argus: “No one is going to stop us. We do not seek confrontation but we will not close the shop in Brighton.

“The best thing I could do for SodaStream’s bottom line is move production to China. I won’t do that. We pay our workers three times the Palestinian national average. We give them healthcare.

“Unemployment in the Palestine Authority region is around 30 per cent. Why would anyone want us to stop employing Palestinian workers?”

With so much food on hand, the organisers were able to donate a sizeable food parcel to a local Church soup kitchen in central Brighton.

Sussex Friends of Israel is dedicated to developing greater support, awareness and understanding of Israel through education, communication and community partnership.