Pushing Back Against the BDS Bullies

Mark Tapson, a Hollywood-based writer and screenwriter, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He focuses on the politics of popular culture.


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Too often the media focus on – or even actively promote – the pro-Palestinian narrative that demonizes Israel. They report on the highly mobilized, relentless efforts to isolate and economically weaken the state of Israel. Much less often, if ever, do the media highlight stories of successful Israeli resistance to that onslaught.

Shanie Bar-Oz is the dynamic owner of a Vancouver bath-and-body boutique called Lavan Canada that sells unique Dead Sea-based products with natural scents. Prominently displayed both outside and inside the store are signs reading “Products Made in Israel.” Very enthusiastic about those Israeli-made products, Shanie, 33, unexpectedly came under fire from aggressive protesters from the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions bullies. Check out this video which depicts protesters chanting and carrying signs with ludicrous claims such as “Lavan Soap Whitewashes Israeli Occupation.”

The repeated protests became not only obstructive to her business, but more frightening to Shanie and her employees as well. “I really feel all alone here,” said Shanie. “I’m a sitting duck and I don’t feel safe.” But when word got out about her being targeted, the supportive response was more overwhelming than the protests. Pro-Israel customers flocked to the store. Lavan Canada’s online orders increased as well. A Cambridge University student named Gili Brenner established a Facebook group called “We Are All Shani Bar Oz,” in support of the store owner:

I launched the group on Facebook because first we must show moral support and also buy the products. Yet beyond that, we need people in Israel to wake up and think about the steps needed in order to put an end to this madness.

Indeed, Israel’s supporters everywhere need to wake up and actively support businesses like Shanie’s. Her story is an instructive and inspirational one of ongoing, street-level resistance to the Israel-hating bullies – resistance from her, her customers and her supporters. They refused to be bullied and they banded together to help the store prosper, to stand in defense of Israelis and Israel, and to outnumber her enemies.

I talked to Shanie Bar-Oz about the empowering experience.

Mark Tapson: How exactly did this controversy begin? What happened outside your store, Lavan Canada?

Shanie Bar-Oz: About three or four days prior to the first picket, I received an email from The Jewish Federation warning me of an impending demonstration against my store. The first picket was quite small, totaling about ten or twelve protesters carrying white signs, Palestinian flags and inciting chants. Thankfully, due to the prior warning, many local Jews and Israelis came out to support me and my store. This was not the case for the next two protests, which they intentionally kept secret until they were outside the store.

MT: Who was behind the protests and why did they target your store?

SB:  A local group that calls themselves the “Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign.” They have targeted Lavan as an Israeli brand (all of my products are manufactured in Israel). They claim in their brochure that by manufacturing Dead Sea Mineral products, we support the alleged “mistreatment and oppression” of the Palestinian people in the area.

MT: What were the protests like? Were you concerned about your safety and your shop?

SB:  As each protest comes and goes, they get larger in size and more organized. The number of protesters, signs, and props increase. They have a ten-foot-tall effigy of [controversial Israeli Foreign Minister] Avigdor Lieberman, and images of Israelis as “apartheid vultures.” These vulture images, to me personally, are no different from the Nazis drawing Jews as pigs in the 1930′s.

They also brought a six-foot-tall wall that they use to block my display and divert pedestrians on the sidewalk away from my store. They also distribute vicious and slanderous pamphlets to the pedestrians and Lavan’s customers containing false claims about Lavan, as well as an edited version of our logo from “Body, Mind, and Soap” to “Bomb, Mine and Sell.”

Safety is always a concern during any protest. My employees are upset and scared, which is understandable considering there are people outside protesting our homeland’s existence. One protester said “Heil Hitler!” to one of Lavan’s supporters during the first protest. As a new immigrant to Canada and a business owner, I try to keep a lid on the tense emotions involved. Thankfully the police and a few of my best friends showed up when they were called, to discourage violence.

MT: How did the word start to get out that you were under assault? What was the response, when people learned you were being harassed?

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  • Nakba1948

    Wow. Projection that would make even Freud blush. Nearly the entire world views Israel and the Zionists as "bullies." Why? Because they are. Nonviolent resistance in the form of boycotts is not only legitimate, it's the obligation of everyone who supports peace and justice. If the shopkeeper in the article doesn't wanted to be targeted by the boycott, she should cease selling products made at the expense of the Palestinian people.

    Israel is always the victim to you Zionazis. You see Muslim and left-wing conspiracies everywhere. If Israel is the victim of anything, it is its own racist, expansionist roots. I am heartened that many of the leaders of the BDS movement are Jewish; they recognize that Zionism and Judaism are completely antithetical.

    • Goemon

      Israel makes technology that benefits the world. Your ideological brothers just think of new ways to lie and justify evil. If i had my way, i’d have you and these protestors picked up by bulldozers and turned into soylent green for the palestinians enduring israel’s “brutality”

    • Bartimaeus

      It is amazing how the Arab world with its unending rejection of and aggression against the Jews can continue callously in that attitude and still blame Israel for the lack of peace and justice. What an amazing inversion of the truth. I think that attitude is the real catastrophe of the Middle East. No doubt it will continue until the great tribulation that the Lord spoke of and then it will be brought to an abrupt end.

    • Zionista

      They are JINOS – Jews in name only and leftists first – if you had any brains you'd know that and if you had any credibility, you'd admit it. What have the arabs contributed to society?? oh yeah, the suicide belt. You must be so proud. Meanwhile, Israel will continue with its many technological advances – you're probably using a computer that has some parts created and designed in ISRAEL – ha ha jealous loser!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Here's a joke for you:

      Man gets out of the plane in Riyadh, walks through the airport terminal to the street outside, goes to the taxi area, gets in a cab, says to the driver:

      "Take me to the Jewish neighborhood."

      Get it, anus face?

    • Robert

      Nakba1948, you are an a-hole

    • old white guy

      anti-semetic ahole.

    • bernoulli

      Nutbar1948 and his "people" don't have a homeland, because his "people" aren't an historical people. He's been fed the lie in his mother's milk, but that's his problem. His is an invented "people" whose cultural uniqueness and historical presence is NIL, the existence of books published in politically-correct imbecilic academia claiming otherwise notwithstanding.

      Jews in Israel are in their historical homeland, are not planning to leave, and its just too bad for Nutbar1948 that he has been fed with a sewage pipe of lies all his life. An Arab he is, a "palestinian" he is not. Solly cholly.

      All this hot air from him is tedious, and it REALLY DOESN'T MATTER. We've struggled against MUCH more powerful enemies than him, and won.

      Here's a fun fact for anyone amused by Nutbar1948. There has thus far been precisely 1 (i.e, ONE!!!) Muslim Nobel Laureate in Physics in history, with a world population of more than 1.2 billion Muslims. In contrast, there have been 47 Jewish Nobel Laureates in Physics with a world population of 14 million Jews.
      If you work out the simple proportionality, you will see that, assuming Muslims were equally productive as Jews, the fact that 14 million Jews have produced 47 Nobel Laureates in Physics implies that 1.2 Billion Muslims should have produced approximately 4030 Nobel Laureates in Physics. BUT THEY HAVE ONLY PRODUCED ONE. O – N – E.

      On the other hand, they ARE good at blowing up civilians at pizza parlors and ice cream stands…

    • pagegl

      The only supporters of apartheid and fascism in this issue are your Muslim brethren and their supporters.

    • Obama's Banana

      Oh, you Muslim Left-Wing Conspirator™, you!
      We found you!
      The Worldwide Zionist Expansion League™ have been alerted to your presence and they have chosen to ignore your inconsequential ass.

    • Ted G

      Nope!

    • Ghostwriter

      Nakba1948,the only peace your people want are dead Jews.

    • William R Nicholson

      Your hatred that pours from you in every manner speaks to the poor stock of your ancestors. I hope you have no children . Every real parent wishes that their child will have a better life than they did ; You however , have made it far too easy , for your children to be better than you ! Ask God with every beat of your heart , to forgive the many errors of your life and pray that someday you'll be led by a Holy Spirit ……….. to become a truly worthy person ………… please quit making it so darn easy for your children to be better than you !

    • SpiritOf1683

      Off you go back to Pakistan, brain-dead savage.

    • guest

      Your muzzie hate blinds you to the truth. I know what awards the Jews have for science, what has the 7th century muzzies ever created? Nothing!

    • aspacia

      Nakba,

      Blame your brethren for your situation and remember it is they who more severely discriminate against you than any other group. Also, 650,000 were driven from Arab land without compensation, and were absorbed into Israel. You should have been absorbed by your brethren as well

      Your situation is your fault, and Arab Muslims' doing, not Israel.

      Go Rot.

      Muslims are totalitarian, tyrants, and this stems from the Qu'ran calling for subjugation of all nonMuslims.

  • Snorbak

    In our obligation to support peace & justice maybe the West should shut down the mosques for starters thereby limiting the spread of that vile religion you call Islam. Given that muslims demand equality its only fair when Islamic states dont allow freedom of worship or the building of church's of synagogues.

    "Zionism and Judaism are completely antithetical", a follewer of Islam calling Judaism unethical, a bit rich when your "religion" calls for the murder on non believers & millions of muslims scream for death to the Jews!

    Maybe you should tell your brothers in Hamas et al to protest Israels existance in a peacfull manner as in your own words;
    "Nonviolent resistance in the form of boycotts is not only legitimate, it's the obligation of everyone who supports peace and justice"!

    • Snorbak

      Opps, "antithetical", mis read as anti-ethical.

  • sdsali

    As anyone who has red the Bible knows, Judaism's roots in Israel go back more than 4000 years. The only "invasion" in this area is the Arabs. The places described in the Old Testament/Torah are still there. The "palestinians" are an invented people. They are Arabs who happened to move to and settle in Judea. The Muslims refuse to allow archaeological digs in areas under their control for a reason– they know that their claim that Jews are invaders and colonialists is a lie. They don't want any more archaeology confirming the presence of Jewish antecedents in that whole area than already exists. See for example http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/01/13/world/m….

  • maturin20

    This hearkens back to the oppression of German-Canadian soap stores in 1935.

    • stern

      Nope, sorry. Even in 20 years, I don't think you'll have matured.

      • maturin20

        I'd make a damn fine single malt by then.

  • Jcz

    While not a Jew, I have still just found a new on-line store to buy gifts from. Thank you for this article, and to those vile ignorant and violent haters of Jews…sink into your own morass -oh, sorry, you already have..

    • maturin20

      How did you become not a Jew for a little while? Did you read Gilad Atzmon?

  • Rifleman

    Back when I was in the Army skinheads would mistake me for one of them on occasion, and give me a seig heil. I'd give 'em one back, with just the middle finger extended.

  • kentatwater

    Funny how BDS also means "Bush Derangement Syndrome." A Venn diagram of both populations would likely make you think your seeing double.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      "Brain Dead Stooge" comes to mind also…………………………….William

  • Supreme_Galooty

    This is a most gratifying story. I eagerly await the sequel where hundreds of gentiles picket the so-called "Palestinian" front groups – complete with signs that depict Mohammed wearing a suicide belt.

  • Gorsky

    I’m so sick of Muslims already.

    Them and their so called sympathizers.

    Wherever these people are present, notice the problems they cause.

    It’s the Muslims that’s the problem. It needs to be said because it’s the truth.

    • Snorbak

      Careful thowing aroundthat word "truth", its tends to offend these days just like the "F" word, "fact".
      (Sarcasm intended)

      • ksandra

        The problem is, the political left does not deal in quaint notions such as "truth" or "facts". To it, the whole thing is the narrative. As their narrative becomes widely accepted (e.g., Israel is an oppressive apartheid state), THAT becomes, for them, the new fact and they work to have their narrative even more wide accepted as fact by others. It doesn't matter that this objectively false. They have so deconstructed the idea of objective reality and "fact" that this is of no consequence to the left. It's a variation of the old Communist Russian idea of "truth." The "truth" is what serves the revolution. So we argue facts and they create narratives.

  • Anamah

    Dear Shanie Bar-Oz I stand with you. I will ask my friends in Canada to be there too.

  • Brujo Blanco

    In keep hearing Antisemites ranking about Israel. They insist that the Jews are engaging in behavior that is actually the behavior of their Arab advesaries. We must not allow any group of people to be terrorized in the USA or Canada.

  • BS77

    Buy goods made in the USA and Israel. Face it, Israel is NOT the problem in the Middle East….just take a clear look at Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Iran or Afghanistan and tell us Israel is the trouble in the region!!! Give me a break. Leftists are robotic disgorging lies and baseless propaganda at every turn.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    "Buy goods made in the USA and Israel" good idea if I could find it, eveything seems to be made in
    China, what do the Palestinians make other than false claims, bold lies and revisionist history?
    Well if you really want to know you can buy the latest and most elegant suicide belt, Fat, skinny and
    child sizes available, no problem, no qualification unless stupid is important………….William

  • seeing the obvious

    Were is our wonderful human rights commisson. They are always ready to prosecute hate speech. OOps I goofed, its always ok to hate Israel. Canada's HRC is no-where to be found if the attack is hate speech against Israel. The good news is that Israel has God's protection. If you don't believe the Bible then just check out the results of the wars Israel has fought since 1948. One Israeli soldier can make a thousand Islamics run like scared rabbits. If Israel approached the Islamics in the same way the Islamics harass Israel the Islamics would just be an ugly memory. But Israel is to human and kind to sink to the depravity of the Muslim world.

  • Captain America

    Nakba1948, you have a homeland; it's called 'Jordan".

  • Mickey Oberman

    Shanie,

    Did you call the police?
    If so, what was their response?

    Mickey Oberman, Toronto

  • Lancel sont de pédés

    The only thing "rigid and lacking ingenuity" are palestinians and their violent insistence they are not an invented people.
    You think the market for those fancy purses has decreased, it is nothing compared to how the market for palestinian propaganda has decreased and will continue to do so as the world gets sick of their genocidal claims against Israel.