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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Politicians rally to support Montreal store selling Israeli shoes

MONTREAL – Several politicians of different stripes converged at a St. Denis St. store on Saturday to show support for its owner by buying shoes.

A Montreal-based human rights group has held regular pickets outside Le Marcheur since last fall because its sells BeautiFeel brand shoes, which are made in Israel.

Palestinian and Jewish Unity advocates for the right of Palestinians to live in safety and has called for a boycott of the store until it stops selling the shoes.

Reached by telephone at the store, Marlene Jennings, the Liberal MP for Notre Dame de Grâce-Lachine, said she had a “gorgeous” new pair of the Israeli-made shoes.

“I showed up to show my support for the Archambault family,” Jennings said, referring to the store's owners.

“The boycott that is happening is actually anti-democratic and it actually fuels and supports anti-democratic movements,” Jennings said. “Israel is a democracy. The shoes that are being sold are being produced legally in Israel, imported into Canada legally and being sold at Le Marcheur legally.”

François Bonnardel, the Action démocratique du Québec MNA for the Shefford riding, said he drove in from Granby to go to the store. Bonnardel said he was there to support an honest merchant who has been in business in the Plateau Mont-Royal district for 25 years. It is outrageous to see Québec solidaire MNA Amir Khadir support activists who want to boycott an honest merchant, Bonnardel added.

Khadir, who represents the Mercier riding, took part in a demonstration last month in front of the store.

Yves Archambault, the store’s owner, said he was very pleased with the support on Saturday. However, he wants the Quebec government to stop the boycott.

“There is no one who will tell me what I will sell in my store,” Archambault said.

BeautiFeel - Israeli-made shoes

Le Marcheur - Montreal-based shoe store