British Jews have spoken of their fear after a pro-Palestine group supported by Jeremy Corbyn forced Jewish-owned shops to close by staging aggressive rallies outside them.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), of which Mr Corbyn is patron, targeted shops selling Israeli products in Brighton, London and Manchester, forcing two businesses to fold.
Earlier this month, it organised a rally in London which saw ‘open anti-Semitism from attendees’, according to the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism. A statement from the Labour leader was read out to the crowd.
It comes as Labour became the only party after the BNP to be formally investigated for racism by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
A new film, Hounded, has been released today by anti-racism campaigners to draw attention to the harassment of Jews who sell goods from Israel, highlighting a ‘campaign of intimidation’ that has been going on for years.
It focuses on the case of a British Jewish businessman who fled the country with his family after he was hounded for five years by the Scottish PSC and the Republican Network for Unity, neither of which are officially endorsed by Mr Corbyn.
Nissan Ayalon, 33, relocated three times to escape the activists but each time they found him, attacking his shop with paint bombs because he sold Israeli cosmetics.
The revelations about the PSC will increase the pressure on the Labour leader – who was officially saluted by Hamas last week – as he struggles to contain his party’s anti-Semitism crisis.
The PSC’s campaign against Jewish shops saw Ecostream in Brighton and Ahava in London close their doors in 2014 and 2011 respectively, with other shops narrowly surviving.
According to activists, both outlets sold products made on the disputed West Bank.
But the PSC also targeted shops like Manchester-based Kedem, which sells cosmetics from undisputed Israeli territory. That outlet narrowly avoided closure by gaining a court order that forced activists away from the entrance.
Kedem’s owner, Avishai Ludel, 41, said he was hit by a mob of 1,000 demonstrators for four months in 2014. He had to use £10,000 of his own savings to keep his business afloat, he said.
‘It was a tough period. Other shops closed down and I was weeks away from closing,’ he told MailOnline. ‘My staff resigned and I was afraid. Activists phoned me every day telling me they would bomb me and kill me. They also told me this to my face.
‘I had police protection for a long time. I would have to drive round the block three times every day before going home.’
The father-of-one added: ‘It is so sad that Corbyn is patron of this group. I live in a Jewish community and people are beaten in the streets and pelted with eggs. With Corbyn’s support, people feel free to do these things.’
The PSC has waged a prominent ‘boycott, divestment and sanctions’ (BDS) campaign against Israel since 2001.
Its activists have targeted the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, an Israeli theatre company at Shakespeare’s Globe and an Israeli LGBT event in London.
A Labour spokesman said: ‘Jeremy is a patron of PSC, the UK’s foremost organisation campaigning for the rights of Palestinian people. He is not involved with its decision making or operations.’
The new film highlights how Mr Ayalon, a cosmetics salesman, was forced to flee to different cities three times, setting up his business from scratch each time only to be pursued and hounded by activists.
He eventually gave in and fled the country with his family this year, MailOnline can reveal.
The father-of-one, who was born in Kyrgystan but holds joint British and Israeli citizenship, ran a business called Jericho Skin Care which sold cosmetics made in undisputed territory that was handed to Israel by the UN in 1947.
Protesters were filmed hurling red paint bombs at his staff and pelting them with mutilated dolls. Mr Ayalon was chased from Belfast to Glasgow and then to Aberdeen before he decided to emigrate.
‘I had 50 people surrounding my stall every Saturday, shouting abuse at my staff and throwing things at us,’ the salesman said.
‘There were protests every week. The shopping centres begged the police for help but police said they were protesting lawfully.’
Other shops, including Boots and M&S, offered the same products as Mr Ayalon but were not targeted by the protesters.
The entrepreneur wrote to the activists to make clear that his products were not from disputed territory, but this made no difference.
‘Eventually, I lost faith in being able to make a life once again in Britain,’ he said. ‘I just couldn’t keep moving to a new city every two years. I had a family to look after.’
A spokesman for Jewish Human Rights Watch (JHRW), which produced the film, said: ‘It is unbelievable that in this day and age, a Jewish shop owner can be hounded from city to city in a sick game of chase the Jew. It’s a terrifying echo of Nazi Germany.
‘It’s a campaign of intimidation. Jeremy Corbyn should hang his head in shame to be patron of one of the groups that targets Jewish businesses.’
A spokesman for the PSC said: ‘PSC is a firm supporter of Boycott Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) campaigns which are totally non-violent and have been called for by the Palestinian people as a means of exerting pressure on Israel until they comply with international law.
‘We would strongly condemn any business being targeted because of the race or religion of its owners, however all of these companies were targeted by campaigners because of their complicity in Israel’s human rights violations.
‘We vigorously oppose attempts to redefine this peaceful form of protest as anything other than a legitimate response to injustice.’
The Scottish PSC did not respond to requests for comment.
Source: Daily Mail