Lush hit with backlash after displaying anti-Israel sign in shop window after Hamas attacks

11 October 2023, 15:33

Lush has come under fire for the sign
Lush has come under fire for the sign. Picture: Google/Twitter

By Kit Heren

A backlash has erupted against cosmetics retailer Lush after one of its shops displayed an anti-Israel sign in its window following the Hamas attack.

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The framed sign, which called on passers-by to boycott Israel, appeared in the window of a Dublin store of the British chain.

Some onlookers reacted with fury online. One person commented: "What the hell is this"?

Addressing Lush, they added: "This is disgusting can you please comment." Author Julie Bindel was among those who called for a boycott of the store itself.

But others reacted positively to the sign, which was in the store's Henry Street branch.

Over 2,000 people have been killed in Israel and Gaza since Hamas launched a brutal attack on the south of the country on Saturday.

Some 17 Britons are dead or missing, including children.

Israel responded with a bombardment of Gaza, and is preparing for a full-scale ground invasion to remove Hamas.

The conflict has sparked reactions across the world, with some in London appearing to celebrate the Hamas attacks over the weekend.

A vigil was held outside Downing Street to mourn the deaths in Israel on Monday evening.

A pro-Palestine event took palce outside the Israeli embassy in west London on the same night.

Lush said: "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."

Lush was accused of being anti-Israel when the company backed a music single called "Freedom for Palestine" in 2011.

Fears have been raised of a spike in anti-semitic activity in the UK against the backdrop of the conflict. Police have said they are stepping up patrols in response.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said that waving the Palestinian flag "may not be legitimate". She told police officers they should use the "full force of the law" to prevent harassment of the UK's Jewish community.

In a letter to police chiefs, she said: "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 added in an earlier statement there was "no place for demonstrations, convoys, or flag-waving on British streets that glorifies terrorism or harasses the Jewish community."

She added: "The barbaric attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists who have massacred civilians and kidnapped the most vulnerable - including the elderly, women, and children - is truly sickening. The UK stands unequivocally with Israel in her fight against this evil.

“There can be zero tolerance for antisemitism. 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 crackdown 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 antisemitism and joined the Metropolitan Police Service officers on patrol as they provide reassurance to neighbourhoods in north London.

“There can be no equivocation. It is incumbent upon all of us to confront the evil of antisemitism whenever and wherever we encounter it."