Staff at Dublin toy shop told to remove Israel ‘boycott’ sign
Smyths store says workers did not consult head office over notice claiming Israeli toys had been removed from shelves
The image posted by the @IsraelinIreland Twitter account, which has been verified by Twitter as a legitimate account dedicated to ‘promoting diplomatic relations, economic growth and friendship between the state of Israel and the Republic of Ireland”.
A printed sign was posted on the front door of the busy shop on Sunday and it was quickly photographed and circulated on social media.
The sign, which mis-spelt the company name, read: ‘Smythys Toys Jervis St have removed Amav products and other products made in Israel from our shelves.’
A montage incorporating the sign was posted by the Israeli embassy in Ireland (@IsraelinIreland) Twitter account with the added words: ‘So what’s next? No dogs or Jews allowed?’
There were several responses to the embassy’s tweet, from individuals supporting the unilateral declaration by the Jervis Street staff and also from individuals supporting Israel.
One person commented: “Excellent, I’ll give my business to go (sic) store that DOES sell Israeli goods.”
Another said of the embassy’s message: “Disgusting! Bigotry is not the answer.”
And another man said he was “anti-Hamas” and “anti-Israeli government” but that he “100 per cent” supported a boycott of Israeli products.
The mis-spelling of the company name led a number of people to question on Twitter whether the sign was real. Smyths confirmed today that it was.
The company said it did not take political stances and that it was continuing to investigate the matter.
A spokeswoman said: “The sign was put up by staff in Jervis Street and it was not checked by head office.”
They had been asked to remove the sign and had done so this morning.
“We don’t generally take a political stance as a company.”
She said there had been both “positive and negative” feedback from members of the public. The company had not had any contact with the Israeli embassy about the matter as of lunchtime today.
“We are still investigating the matter,” the spokeswoman said.
Based in Ashdod, Israel, Diamant Toys (Amav Ltd) exports toys such as arts and crafts kits and play kitchens.
Smyths, a Galway-based business, is Ireland’s largest toy retailer. The group operates 69 stores in total: 41 in Britain, 22 in the Republic and six in Northern Ireland.
Owned by the Smyth brothers, Anthony, Liam, Patrick and Thomas, it is one of Ireland’s most successful retail businesses.
In a separate controversy, the Israeli embassy in Dublin last week said it did not intend to cause insult or offence to anyone over controversial images that appeared on its official Twitter feed. They included one of the statue of Molly Malone wearing a Muslim headscarf.
Four photos featured well-known statues and artwork associated with different European countries.
Weaponry and traditional Muslim headscarves were superimposed on the images.