A wave of controversy has hit the cosmetics retailer, Lush, as one of its stores faced backlash for displaying an anti-Israel sign in its shop window following the recent Hamas attack.
In a Dublin branch of the British chain, a framed sign emerged, urging passers-by to boycott Israel. This move ignited a strong reaction, with some individuals expressing outrage online. One person questioned, “What the hell is this?”
Addressing Lush, they implored, “This is disgusting; can you please comment?” Author Julie Bindel joined those who called for a boycott of the store.
However, there were contrasting opinions on the sign, with some individuals reacting positively to its presence in the Henry Street branch.
The recent Hamas attack in southern Israel has led to a tragic toll of over 2,000 casualties in both Israel and Gaza. Among the victims are 17 Britons, including children.
In response, Israel initiated a bombardment of Gaza and is preparing for a full-scale ground invasion to eliminate the threat posed by Hamas.
This conflict has triggered diverse reactions worldwide, with some in London seemingly celebrating the Hamas attacks over the weekend. A vigil was held outside Downing Street to commemorate the lives lost in Israel on Monday evening, while a pro-Palestine event took place outside the Israeli embassy in west London on the same night.
Lush issued a statement, saying, “We are a diverse company with staff of all ethnicities and religions whose personal views and opinions may vary; however, the following is our Company position: Lush deplores all violence and all injustice. Our wish is for peace and safety for all Israeli and Palestinian people. We support the upholding of international law and the human rights of all peoples.”
This is not the first time Lush has been accused of taking an anti-Israel stance, as the company previously supported a music single called “Freedom for Palestine” in 2011.
In the midst of this conflict, concerns have arisen about a surge in anti-Semitic activity in the UK. In response, the police have announced heightened patrols.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman emphasized that waving the Palestinian flag “may not be legitimate.” She encouraged police officers to use the “full force of the law” to prevent harassment of the UK’s Jewish community.
In a letter to police chiefs, she expressed, “It is not just explicit pro-Hamas symbols and chants that are cause for concern. I would encourage police to consider whether chants such as ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ should be understood as an expression of a violent desire to see Israel erased from the world and whether its use in certain contexts may amount to a racially aggravated Section 5 public order offence.”
Ms. Braverman further stated that there is “no place for demonstrations, convoys, or flag-waving on British streets that glorifies terrorism or harasses the Jewish community.”
She concluded, “The UK stands unequivocally with Israel in her fight against this evil. There can be zero tolerance for anti-Semitism. Sadly, we have seen in recent years how events in the Middle East are used as an excuse to stir up hatred against British Jewish communities.”
“I am writing to police chiefs in England and Wales to urge them to step up patrols and use all available powers to prevent disorder and distress to our communities. I have been clear officers should act immediately to crack down on criminality—both in our streets and online.”
“I have visited staff at the Community Security Trust who work hard to protect British Jews from anti-Semitism and joined the Metropolitan Police Service officers on patrol as they provide reassurance to neighborhoods in north London.”
“There can be no equivocation. It is incumbent upon all of us to confront the evil of anti-Semitism whenever and wherever we encounter it.”