Saturday 29 November 2014

Smyths in U-turn on plan to take Israeli toys off shelves

Claire McCormack

Published 05/08/2014 | 02:30

Israeli reserve soldiers are seen on the top of an armored personnel carrier retunring to Israel from Gaza Strip, southern Israel, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. A brief cease-fire declared by Israel and troop withdrawals slowed violence in the Gaza war Monday, but an attack on an Israeli bus that killed one person in Jerusalem underscored the tensions still simmering in the region as Israeli airstrikes resumed late in the day. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
Israeli reserve soldiers are seen on the top of an armored personnel carrier retunring to Israel from Gaza Strip, southern Israel

MANAGEMENT at Smyths Toys have ordered staff at a Dublin branch to remove a sign saying it had taken all Israeli products from its shelves.

The sign, misspelling the name of the store, said: "Smythys (sic) Toys Jervis St have removed Amav products and other products made in Israel from our shelves."

Amav is a leading global manufacturer of arts and crafts. Its line - produced and exported from Israel - includes art kits, easels, play kitchens and fashion accessories design kits.

A spokesperson for the chain said that just one of its 30 stores had removed products but this decision had been reversed.

"Smyths Toys sell products for children in 30 stores across the world. We do not engage in national or international political affairs.

"One store last week took products for one country off its shelves, this decision has now been reversed and customers should be free to make their own decision," the company said.

However, elsewhere around the country other retailers are taking a product stance in protest at the ongoing trouble in Gaza.

Several stores in the Galway town of Kinvara have organised a boycott against all Israeli products.

Vicki Donnelly, one of the organisers who has been protesting since last Friday, said the community of about 30 small businesses believe their boycott is an effective way of confronting situation.

"We have all felt helpless and despair at children and schools being targeted," she said.

"We're under no illusions that this isn't a big gesture but the idea is about catching people's imaginations and hopefully other communities will try to do something similar."

Ms Donnelly said she has already received praise from people around Ireland and the UK.

The products currently off the shelves in Kinvara's cafés, beauticians, hardware stores and pharmacy are salt, carrots, potatoes, avocados, citrus fruits, skincare products, toolboxes and toys.

Ms Donnelly said Israeli toys in particular should be withdrawn from stores around the country.

"It takes so little imagination to put your own child in the situation where you have to pull them out of the rubble," she said.

"We are looking for a peaceful solution and we won't stop until it's over," she said.

Irish Independent

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