Protesters accuse Zara of supporting Israel
A group of pro-Palestine activists staged a protest outside a Zara store in Glasgow on Monday, forcing the shop to close its doors. The protesters claimed that Zara, a Spanish clothing retailer, was supporting Israel’s military aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza. They held banners and chanted slogans such as “Boycott Zara” and “Free Palestine”.
The protest was part of a wider campaign by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC), which has been calling for a boycott of Israeli goods and companies that do business with Israel. The SPSC said that Zara was one of the targets because of its alleged links to the Israeli government and military. According to the SPSC, Zara’s founder, Amancio Ortega, is a close friend of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and has donated millions of dollars to the Israeli Defense Forces.
Zara has denied any political affiliation or support for Israel. In a statement, the company said that it was “a global brand with no political or religious alignment”. It also said that it had “a diverse and multicultural team” and that it respected “the diversity of opinions and freedom of expression of all people”.
Zara faces backlash over controversial campaign
This is not the first time that Zara has faced criticism and controversy over its involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2014, the company launched a campaign featuring Israeli model Bar Refaeli, who had served in the Israeli army and had expressed support for the Israeli soldiers during the Gaza war. The campaign sparked outrage and boycott calls from pro-Palestinian activists and customers, who accused Zara of being insensitive and complicit in the oppression of the Palestinians.
Zara later withdrew the campaign, saying that it regretted the misunderstanding and that it had no intention of offending anyone. However, the damage was already done, as many people vowed to stop buying from Zara and to support Palestinian rights.
Glasgow shows solidarity with Palestine
The protest outside Zara was one of several demonstrations that took place in Glasgow and other cities across the UK and Ireland in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Hundreds of people gathered in Glasgow’s George Square on Sunday, waving Palestinian flags and placards and denouncing Israel’s actions. They also condemned the BBC for its alleged bias and lack of coverage of the Palestinian plight. Some protesters blocked the entrance to the BBC’s studio in Glasgow, chanting “Shame on you BBC” and “Free, free Palestine”.
The demonstrations were organised in response to the escalating violence and humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where more than 180 people, including 55 children and 33 women, have been killed by Israeli airstrikes since last Monday. Israel says it is targeting Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, which has fired more than 2,000 rockets at Israel, killing 10 people, including two children. The conflict was triggered by the Israeli decision to evict several Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, which sparked protests and clashes in the holy city.
The protesters in Glasgow and elsewhere called for an end to the Israeli occupation and siege of Gaza, and for the international community to intervene and protect the Palestinian people. They also expressed their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which aims to pressure Israel to comply with international law and respect the human rights of the Palestinians.