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M&S- Not just the lingerie has "secret support"

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | news report author Thursday January 08, 2009 15:05author by Muntadhar Report this post to the editors

Marks and Spencer's support for Israel and Zionism

Marks and Spencer's won the The Queen's Award For Enterprise Innovation in 2000 for the development of "Secret Support" lingerie. It has been said that every woman in England used to own at least one pair of M&S knickers, because if she didn't buy them herself, her mother would.
In Ireland, the company has operated successfully for a number of years, although a 1990's plan to place a Marks and Spencers store in close proximity to every Dunnes Stores outlet in the country came to nothing. A recent round of store closures and job losses in Britain has not had an effect on M&S shops in Ireland, since the company is so successful here.

However, activists in Britain are often surprised by the lack of awareness in this country of the nasty side of Marks and Spencers. It's not just the lingerie that has "secret support".


Marks & Spencer was founded in 1884 by a Jewish refugee from Minsk, Michael Marks. The store grew from a single market stall to a chain of department stores all over Britain. In 1916, Michael Marks's son, Simon Marks, took over as chairman and he approached a friend of his, Israel Sieff, to help him run the company. Sieff had supported Zionism since meeting Chaim Weizmann in 1913, and was committed to the establishment of a Jewish homeland state in Palestine.

The Marks-Sieff partnership went beyond business and entered into a campaign of fervent Zionist activity. Together with Weizmann, Marks and Sieff lobbied and manipulated the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the main representative organisation for Jews in England. In what was a called a coup, they ousted the anti-Zionists on the Board of Deputies and also set up a Palestine office in London. They helped along the 1917 Balfour Declaration which was a statement of Britain's support for a Jewish state. The following year Israel Sieff headed a Zionist commission, and then served as Weizmann's secretary at the Versailles Conference on the future of Europe and the world after the First World War.

Sieff's wife (and Simon Marks's sister) Rebecca Sieff helped found WIZO, the Women's Zionist Organization, and ran it for 20 years with Vera Weizmann.

The Daniel Sieff Institute, established by Isreal and Rebecca Sieff in 1934 in memory of their son who had died, served as the base when the Weizmann Institute of Science was set up near Tel Aviv after World War Two. The Weizman Institute was essential to Israel's development of nuclear weapons.

But M&S links to Israel and Zionism are not just historical, the company still supports the Israeli state today. The Zionist government has even honoured the company with a special award for services to Israel.

In a book on M&S, Lord Marcus Sieff - Israel Sieff's son and long time Chairman of M&S - wrote that one of the fundamental objectives of Marks and Spencers is to aid the economic development of Israel (Management: The Marks & Spencer Way, Weidenfield & Nicolson, 1990).

Today the company imports many hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Israeli goods into Britain and Ireland every year, and is one of the strongest supporters of preferential trade agreements with Israel. In a recent report the Guardian newspaper found that goods from illegal settlements in Palestine were labeled as "produce of Israel" and sold in M&S stores.

However, the company is secretive about its activities and tries not to trumpet its connections with Israel too publicly. Instead M&S calls attention to various environmental initiatives in its stores (which will save it money), and handouts it makes to charities.
Activists have attempted to get the company to admit whether it still makes a cash donation to the Israeli state but have been met with silence. It may be that subventions to the Zionists are simply disguised on the company's books in extremely preferential trade terms for Israeli companies.

Stores have been targeted and customers leafleted by activists in Britain and Ireland, and many people who have knowledge of the activities onf M&S refuse to shop there. While the number of companies who trade with Israel can be a long and daunting list to remember, simply boycotting Marks and Spencer is a simple way to express solidarity with the beleagured people of Palestine. Although the company pretends to have a normal relationship with Isreal, the company received the Jubilee Award, Israel's highest tribute, from Israeli PM Benny Netanyahu in 1998. Recently, a Marks and Spencer's spokesman told the Jewish Chronicle newspaper "We are as close to Israel as we have ever been".




author by Mike Novackpublication date Thu Jan 08, 2009 17:08Report this post to the editors

It's supposed to be a "secret" that in this tribal conflict the Jews all over the world support Israel?"

While I am not trying to tell anybody what to do or not do look very carefully at decisions and their implications. The argument here is that it is legitimate to attack Jews anywhere who refuse to break tribal solidarity. Are you sure you want to do that? Exactly what message are you trying to convey and how do you expect the Jews to interpret it?

Are you trying to prove the case as made by the most extreme among them?

author by Contrarianpublication date Thu Jan 08, 2009 17:56Report this post to the editors

I seem to remember an earlier boycott of Jewish owned shops and businesses. Germany, circa 1933.

author by Bazooka Joepublication date Thu Jan 08, 2009 18:33Report this post to the editors

Once again the Zionists are trying to misrepresesnt this story which is about the Zionist supporting Marks & Spencers, as a story that is attacking Jews. It is typical of the criminal and racist Zionists that they always seek to hide behind Jewish civilians and brand the critics of their Zionist crimes as 'anti-semitic'. Zionism and Israel has among it's foremost critics Jewish intellectuals and Rabbis.

Zionists are the enemies of the Jewish People
Zionists are the enemies of the Jewish People

Related Link:
author by Michael Hoganpublication date Thu Jan 08, 2009 18:39Report this post to the editors

A more recent boycott of Israeli (Jewish) products was during the Israeli/Lebanon war.
I see nothing wrong with people putting this into practise again for this is an effective non- violent and direct way of hitting back!

author by Contrarianpublication date Thu Jan 08, 2009 19:25Report this post to the editors

I notice that M&S has stores in Bahrain, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. None in Israel apparently. No doubt they contribute to the economies and employment in those countries. Doesn't look like the Arab world is up for a boycott. Business is business.

[Aside] (Mind you, their website isn't aware of any M&S stores in Ireland either - the Irish branches are listed under the "United Kingdom" section! Bless their geopolitical ignorance!)

author by redjadepublication date Thu Jan 08, 2009 19:34Report this post to the editors

Bazooka Joe, do you know - or will you tell us - something about these photos of jews you enjoy posting so much?

Or will any jew burning an israeli flag do the job for you?

A little bit more info could be enlightening.

author by internationalistpublication date Thu Jan 08, 2009 20:23Report this post to the editors

Some people in Ireland are unaware of the connections between M&S and Israel, so they may be interested to know that their shopping habits are implicating them in what is happening in Gaza.

Does it matter that some Jewish people support Israel and some do not?

Does it matter that some Arabic people shop in M&S in Bahrain or wherever?

Surely what matters is that what Israel is doing is wrong, and by since M&S supports the Israeli state, then shopping there is aiding in this wrong doing.

author by spublication date Fri Jan 09, 2009 01:26Report this post to the editors

right click to save

open Word

Insert Menu

choose Picture

choose from file

Insert sticker and adjust size to suit labels

change format to "tight" in picture menu

copy and paste stickers to suit layout of labels


head to nearest supermarket-


author by Shane Keane - The Saladin Sossidge Brotherhoodpublication date Fri Jan 09, 2009 01:55Report this post to the editors

Hmm, well I absolutely agree that Zionism is a destructive, racist ideology that ought to be eliminated from the face of the earth. But why stop at Israel? Most of the clothes we wear come from China. Most of the culture we consume comes from imperialist USA. Most of the food we eat comes from imperialist UK. If we stopped shopping in places that buy from ethically questionable countries, then we'd be growing our own turnips in the back garden.

And why pick on Marks and Spencer? Numerous other companies support Israel as much, if not more. Is it because it was founded by a Jew? Is it because it has a Jew's name? If anti-Israeli people (like me) don't want to be called anti-semitic, then they should stop slipping into grey areas where what they're saying might rightly be interpreted as being unconsciously anti-semitic.

author by radical jonnypublication date Fri Jan 09, 2009 09:49Report this post to the editors


The Jews burning the Israeli flag in Bazooka Joe's pic are most likely members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect Neturai Karta (aramaic for "Guardians of the City").

They support Iran's nuclear program, march alongside Hamas, and, as you might guess, are virulently opposed to the state of Israel and are anti-zionist. They view any cooperation with zionism (which they argue is heretical and secular) is a betrayal of the core values of Judaism.

They've never numbered more than a few hundred, mostly in Israel, the US, and Europe. But what they lack in numbers they more than make up for in provocative language and visuals.

If nothing else, they show that there is a wealth of political and cultural diversity of views within the Jewish community, much more than the corporate news media will countenance reporting.

Who knew?

author by shopperpublication date Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:25Report this post to the editors

"Numerous other companies support Israel as much"

Can you give details of any company which sees supporting the state of Israel as a fundamental objective of its business, which is what the chairman said in his book about Marks and Spencer?

There just isn't a company represented on main shopping streets which shows anything like the support for Israel that M&S has consistently shown.

author by Michael Hoganpublication date Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:42Report this post to the editors

For those who wish to know what Israel exports a comprehensive list is available


author by Support the people of Gaza!!!publication date Sat Jan 10, 2009 15:28Report this post to the editors

One of the largest companies in Europe and in Ireland is They provide watercoolers to offices and are run by a group of former Israeli diplomats and members of Mosad, amoung them the head of their Dublin office Moshe Gazit, former diplomat to the government of Israel. Their owner Jeremy Ben David is a fervent Zionist and supporter of the slaughter in in Gaza. I would urge all to call for a boycott of this company and the removal of all of their products from Irish offices!!! This is a genuine way to stop a company with a truely dispicable background!!! Please pass this on to all who care!!

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