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Jewish community angered as MP backs anti-Israel protest
3:00pm Wednesday 10th October 2012 in News
An MP has been labelled an “anti- Zionist” for supporting protests outside a business.
Members of We Believe in Israel claim that Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas is favouring Palestinians over her own constituents by backing a group holding protests outside the EcoStream store in Western Road, Brighton.
Protestors and counter-protestors have gathered outside the recycling store on Saturday afternoons over the controversial site of the shop’s owners SodaStream’s factory.
Activists say the company behind the shop has a factory in a part of Jerusalem where Palestinians are denied equal rights with Israelis.
Ms Lucas wrote on her blog yesterday that by having their headquarters there, the company is “implicated in the widely condemned occupation of Palestine”.
She also wrote that the company had faced criticism from campaigners, including Israeli NGOs, for turning a blind eye to the everyday abuse of Palestinian human rights.
Simon Cobbs, from We Believe in Israel, said: “I can’t believe that rather than support a green company in her city, she would rather support the Palestinians. She should be ashamed of herself.
“Her comments will make a lot of people unhappy in the Jewish community.”
He added that the number of counter protestors were expected to grow significantly for the next expected protest on Saturday.
Ms Lucas said that as a supporter of the retail sector and green businesses, she didn’t want the store to close but said she thought it was right that local people are able to take a principled stand.
She added: “A number of constituents have contacted me to express support for the protests at the Ecostream store and it’s my view that those people have a right to demonstrate peacefully in the hope of persuading the company to think about moving their manufacturing plant elsewhere.”