Israeli-owned businesses harassed by customers

Published Sep 25, 2014


Siyavuya Mzantsi

TWO Israeli-owned businesses say their staff have been harassed by customers who support the Palestinian cause – and some have received threats.

Micabella Cosmetics and Premier Dead Sea Cosmetic Products have had outlets in Cavendish Square.

A director of Dead Sea Products South Africa, who did not want his identity disclosed, said: “Our staff have been racially abused because of the products we sell. But I don’t want to talk about this. It’s been happening for a while.”

The employees had not reported the matter to the police, the director said.

Micabella closed two weeks ago, but its owner, Eli Frenkel, says this was not because of the harassment.

A Micabella employee, who asked not to be named, said: “Our staff sometimes received threats about the products we sell.”

The employee would not give details of the threats.

“This happened on a regular basis. The sad thing is that we have been harassed over something we have no knowledge of.”

The campaign, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel in South Africa (BDS), said it was not aware these companies had been harassed. However, customers had told it they had been harassed by employees of these companies.

BDS national co-ordinator Muhammed Desai said that in one case, a woman reported that she had approached an Israeli Dead Sea Cosmetic stand in the Killarney Mall in Johannesburg, wanting to know whether the products were from.

When the saleswoman told her the products were from Israel, the woman said Israel was occupying Palestine illegally.

The saleswoman had then become aggressive and told the customer to “get her hands off the counter”, Desai said.

He urged employees at these companies to report incidents of harassment.

“If they have complaints they must report this to authorities like the police,” Desai said.

BDS has held marches and pickets across the country opposing the importing of Israeli products.

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