Early this morning, thugs smashed their way into the coffee shop as the manager hid inside the office. As he watched on the security monitor in the office, they daubed racist graffiti and finally lobbed a molotov-cocktail through the plate-glass window. Luckily he managed to make it to the fire-escape and raise the alarm. Fire-fighters managed to stop the flames spreading to the adjacent buildings.
At Indymedia, it is being flagged up as a triumph of “peace activism” (”Smashing the Israeli war machine - Starbucks, Whitechapel firebombed ” is the headline). But sane people, see this for what it is: thoughtless terror and attempted murder. Sane people know that Whitechapel shops often have residential properties above them and that fires spread quickly through the tightly packed buildings. But then sane people know that Starbucks isn’t an Israeli company either. Sane people know that firebombing shops because you think they’re owned by Jews… oh let’s not waffle: sane people know that firebombing shops is not legitimate political activism - for any reason. Even Spiked Online gets it.
Depressingly, the news that a shop in London was firebombed and daubed with antisemitic graffiti seems only to have been reported in the local press - and of course, crowed about at Indymedia.
So what is causing this? Who are the people hoping to incite Kristallnacht 2.0? Some have pointed their finger at George Galloway, with his call to “shut down Israel shops”. The Respect machine is now in overdrive, letting it be known that he was referring to a handful of small booths that operate in shopping centres, selling cosmetics. We take him at his word. Of course, one of these “Israel Shops” was smashed up in Belfast earlier this week.
Galloway must, of course, have been very sure that his audience knew which particular chain of shops he was taking about, and was, no doubt, very surprised to find that others thought he was encouraging action to be taken, generally, against businesses connected to Israel. His spokesman, Rob Hoveman, even went so far as explain that Galloway opposes a boycott of Marks and Spencer. But, as a socialist, does he have no regard for the safety and the livelihoods of the workers at those businesses he thinks deserve targetting? Are they to blame for the war in Gaza? Where was this ’socialist’s’ reminder to respect the staff while “shutting down” shops?
UPDATE: Molotov latte to go, please Melanie Phillips