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April 9, 2014 2:54 pm

Iconic Zabar’s Market Rejects BDS Protesters at Shop Door; Will Continue Selling SodaStream

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Zabar's, on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Photo: WikiCommons.

Zabar's, on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Photo: WikiCommons.

Saul Zabar, the co-owner of Zabar’s, New York City’s iconic Upper West Side market, told a group of protesters outside his store on Sunday that he didn’t bother responding to their requests for him to join their movement to boycott Israeli companies because he “didn’t think [they] were worth it.”

News of his rejection came from the protesters, themselves, according to their website, as flagged by blogger Elder of Ziyon on Wednesday.

“On Sunday, April 6, our first day of flyering outside Zabar’s, 94 people signed our petition asking Zabar’s to de-shelve SodaStream, including at least one Israeli who signed in Hebrew,” they wrote on their website. “At one point, owner Saul Zabar came out of the store. When asked why he did not respond to our request for a meeting, he responded, ‘I didn’t think you were worth it.’  He informed us that he will not be de-shelving SodaStream.”

The protesters were organized to leaflet Zabar’s by the international BDS movement, which argues for the boycott, divestment and sanctioning of Israeli companies, including SodaStream, which makes a home water carbonation system at a factory that employs hundreds of Palestinian Arabs.

The BDS movement targets Israeli-owned stores, university endowments that invest in Israel, or in companies that operate in Israel, and academics who disagree with their logic.

The original founder of Zabar’s, Louis Zabar, father of co-owners Saul and Stanley Zabar, emigrated to the U.S. from the Ukraine in the 1920s. His father, also a merchant, was brutally murdered in a pogrom, the type of vicious, causeless attacks fueled by anti-Semitism that were endured for generations by Jews, particularly shopkeepers who were easy targets of the violent gangs.

On Wednesday, Elder of Ziyon wrote: “Saul is about 85 years old now, gives to Jewish charities, and knows how to run his business. The likelihood that he would cave to a bunch of Israel haters handing out postcards filled with lies is pretty much zero.”

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