23 January 2013
The new owners of South Africa’s major toy retailer, “Reggies“, Mr. Christian Larsen and Mr. Mohsin Mia, have gone on record confirming that Reggies Toy Stores have ended and no more have a relationship with the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an Israeli para-statal directly involved in Israeli human rights abuses against the Palestinian people. Reggies Toy Stores had previously endorsed, partnered and financially-contributed to Israel’s JNF (see, for example, this joint Reggies/JNF 2012 campaign: http://tinyurl.com/bg9k2tk)
Larsen, speaking to a community radio station, noted that the new Reggies Toy Stores owners (represented by himself and Mia) have nothing to do with any affiliates of the previous owners, he said: “there is nothing that we are hiding; there is nothing that we are doing that we are ashamed of”.
This decision by Reggies Toy Stores follows nationwide protests and other activism against Reggies Toy Stores. Making headlines late last year, hundreds of South Africans of all races and religions protested against the South African company’s support for the JNF and its complicity in Israel’s forced removals of the Palestinians.
The JNF, in close conjunction with the Israeli government and the implementation of its “Prawer Plan”, is currently involved in the expulsion of 30 000 Bedouin Palestinians because, as non-Jews, they are considered a demographic threat. In turn, the Israeli government and the JNF plan to move 250 000 Jews into Jewish settlements in this area – even building these Israeli Jewish settlements on top of the recently removed and destroyed Palestinian Bedouin villages (see:http://tinyurl.com/cc2dtub)
The campaign against Reggies Toy Stores and their relationship with the Jewish National Fund (JNF), is led by the South African chapter of the global StopTheJNF campaign. The StopTheJNF South Africa chapter was initiated in 2012 by a group of concerned Jewish South Africans, representing a growing number of Jews from around the world who are increasingly opposed to Israel’s discriminatory policies and the JNF’s complicity in Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians.
Shereen Usdin, from the StopTheJNF South Africa chapter, has welcomed the decision by Reggies Toy Stores to drop the JNF: “We warmly welcome the position taken by Reggies to end its endorsement and financial support to the Jewish National Fund (JNF). Reggies has chosen to stand on the right side of history by taking this ethical position and should be commended. However, the larger StopTheJNF campaign will continue for as long as the JNF operates in South Africa. We are in the process of approaching other South African organisations and companies with ties to the JNF to highlight and inform them of the human rights violations that they are linked to by way of the JNF.”
Press statement issued by Allan Horwitz, spokesperson for the StopTheJNF South Africa.
Alan Horwitz, national spokesperson of StopTheJNF South Africa: