Anti-Israel protesters are stepping up their activities ahead of "anti-Israeli apartheid week," whose organizers have pledged will see operations against Israeli establishments worldwide.
One of the cities already plagued by such activities is Vancouver, Canada. Israeli Shani Bar-Oz, who owns a store carrying Israeli-made toiletries in down-town Vancouver, says the alarmingly growing rate of protests by anti-Israel activists, has her fearing for her safety.
Bar-Oz, 33, said her store is often targeted by anti-Israel protesters shouting anti-Semitic slogans.
During the last bout of rallies, she recalled, people arrived at the store to target her personally: "They were shouting anti-Semitic slogans like 'Heil Hitler.'
"On the first day (of the protests) one of my employees called me in tears – there were dozens of people standing outside the store and shouting. They had a doll in the image of Lieberman and one of a vulture. It was horrible."
The protesters, she added, do more than just block the entrance to her store – they distribute flyers of anti-Israeli propaganda: "It wreaks havoc on my business reputation. I have to explain to my clients and my investors why I'm under attack.
"I'm very proud of being an Israeli, but it's not easy" she told Ynet on Friday. "I've become an ambassador of sorts – I keep having to explain Israel to people, but all I do is sell soap."
Protesters outside Bar-Oz' store (Photo: Shani Bar-Oz)
Bar-Oz contacted the Jewish leadership in Vancouver and informed them of her plight. "I asked for their help because I'm all alone here. I have no one else to turn to. I told them I feel like I'm exposed on the front line.
"I really feel all alone here. I'm a sitting duck and I don't feel safe," she added. "I don't know what this week will bring, and I also worry about reaching out to the Jewish community. I don't want this to spin out of control."
Foreign Ministry mute?
Bar-Oz explained that the head of the anti-Israel group in Vancouver is a woman named Charlotte Keats, an American married to a Palestinian. "She's extremely radical in her opinions – she's practically a neo-Nazi."
Canada's Immigration Minister Jason Kenney recently visited the store as a show of support: "He heard about my case through the Jewish community. He told me that the group that's attacking me makes up a very small percentage of the Canadian people and that he was hounded because of his support for Israel too," she said.
According to Bar-Oz, her attempts to contact the Foreign Ministry have so far failed: "I've contacted them through the Internet twice, but they never got back to me."
Vancouver, she continued, "Is diverse and special city. Canada really is a wonderful democracy, but at the end of the day I fear for my life and the lives of those I'm responsible for."