These boots are made for walking…Supporters of store owner condemn Khadir's smears of Israel

By P.A. Sévigny on December 27, 2010

These boots are made for walking……and as far as Sharon Freedman and her friends are concerned, that’s just what they’ll do. On Christmas morning, at least a dozen homeless kids are going to get a stellar Christmas present, courtesy of Freedman and a few friends who want to let everyone know how a bit of Christmas charity speaks louder than anything Québec Solidaire’s Amir Khadir might have to say about a St. Denis store owner’s right to mind his own business.

these_boots.jpg“I’m the street’s new bag lady,” said Freedman as she struggled to carry her bags out of Yves Archambault’s Le Marcheur in front of a small group of protesters who were trying to boycott the St. Denis Street shoe store. “But I don’t care. This is a good way to show Khadir (Mercier MNA Amir Khadir) he should learn to mind his own business.”

Bruce Katz, a founder and spokesman for Montreal’s PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity), said the whole issue is due to Archambault’s decision to carry a line of shoes originally made in Rishon Lezion, Israel. “We gave him a letter stating our demands that he drop the Beautifeel line because these shoes were being made in factories located in the occupied territories,” said Katz. 

“This is crazy,” said Archambault. “This is a business and nobody has a right to tell me how to run my business. And in any case Rishon Lezion is located west of Jerusalem and well within Israel’s original borders."

Katz also informed The Métropolitain that PAJU is working to have all of St. Denis street declared to be an ‘Apartheid-free street’, which is to say all of the street’s retail business would be free of any products made or manufactured in Israel. Apart from the fact Jafar Khadir, Amir Khadir’s father, joined the first picket lines raised against the shoe store, Khadir’s Québec Solidaire has also made a point of endorsing the boycott against the small St. Denis Street shoe store.

Archambault responded that "If they’re so concerned about human rights, I would like to hear what they have to say about human rights in China. I wonder what kind of protest they would make if they knew how much people are being paid to work in Chinese and Korean shoe factories and what those wages mean for the Canadian shoe business.”

While he doesn’t know what kind of effect the weekly demonstrations are having on his business, both he and his partner, Ginette Auger, said many of their customers make a point of telling them how they came to buy something in his store as a protest against the boycotters.


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