Calls to Boycott Israeli Bookstore Chain Over Canceled ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Sale

The decision of Israel’s largest bookstore chain, Steimatzky, to cancel an in-store launch and sale of the Charlie Hebdo French weekly’s ‘survivors’ issue, resulted in calls to boycott the chain itself.

A new Facebook Page, “Boycotting Steimatzky,” was opened today by an Israeli Non-Profit Organization, “Poets For Israel.” The page’s boycottillustration is a take on the Charlie Hebdo cover, presenting Muhammad weeping while holding a sign saying “I also boycott Steimatzky.”

An email sent by the non-profit says that “A bookstore chain which despises freedom of speech and makes political ‘multicultural’ based decisions, must be boycotted.”

In a statement to the press following its decision, Steimatzky claimed it “Decisively supports in freedom of expression.” It also said that “The company has sold the magazine for years and will continue to do so. However, the firm has decided the sale of the specific issue will not occur at a special event in our store, but be held online starting Monday at 5 p.m.”

The reported that “the chain told media outlets it had not received any threats in response to its plans to hold a special event for the issue’s debut, but the United Arab List released a statement warning it was ‘very dangerous’ to do so.”

In response, FM Avigdor Lieberman’s instructed his party to buy and distribute thousands of the magazines copies. He was quoted as saying “We will not let extremist Islam to intimidate us and turn Israel into a country that surrenders to threats and harms freedom of expression.”