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New Muslim-Owner of Reggies Responds to Allegations of Supporting Pro Israeli JNF

Jan 22, 2013
Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News – 2013-01-22
There have been renewed calls by Stop the Jewish National Fund (JNF) to protest against Reggie’s complicity in gross human rights violations and the crime of ethnic cleansing in their open and unabashed support for the Jewish National Fund (JNF).
“Reggie’s” previous owners were knowingly sponsoring the JNF, which is directly involved in the forced removal and dispossession of the Palestinian people.
Mr. Alan Horowitz, spokesperson for Stop the JNF said the Reggie’s stores have been acquired by a new owner, Mr. Mohammad Mia. “We haven’t had a response from the new owner and we are now just reporting back to our various support groups,” said Horowitz.
Earlier, the director of Reggie’s, Mr Issy Zimmerman (who also owns the South African franchise of Toys’R’Us) refused to end his involvement with the JNF (a recipient of Reggie’s financial support) even after explaining and detailing the complicity of the JNF in Israeli human rights abuses. Nonchalantly Zimmerman threatened that he would intensify his support.
Horowitz could not confirm that Mr Issy Zimmerman was still a director of Reggie’s. “We are not sure. We are trying to get clarity about that because the holding company Redgewoods, which bought the Toys’R’ Us franchise that’s also controls Reggie’s, our understanding is that the group Reggie’s has been bought by Mr Mia. But I can’t give your 100% confirmation of that,” said Horowitz.
Horowitz emphasized, “Simply to say that now it seems very likely there is an Israeli election in the next day or so. And it’s likely a more hard-lined and (extremist) Israeli government will be put in place; which makes any move towards a settlement of Palestinian rights even more difficult. So it becomes absolutely vital that we step up the pressure internationally to assist the Palestinian cause and directly in a sense of course give security to Israeli Jews, in the sense that the settlement has to accommodate all parties. And that unfortunately it seems even less likely this is going to happen without enormous outside pressure.”
Radio Islam spoke to the new owner of Reggies, Mr. Mohsin Mia. He said that he was not aware that Reggies were sponsoring the JNF as he had just taken over the business. “I did not sponsor anybody. I haven’t signed off a single advertising or marketing bill ever right until now because we haven’t approached any of those areas at this stage. Whatever was done was done by the previous ownership for whatever their reasons may or may not be,” said Mia. He added they are not supporting any religious organisations per se. But they have certain children’s funds that they do support because their business is toys.
Mia denied that he was not available when Stop the JNF tried to contact him. “I know what my stance is on this. My mind and heart is clear on this. I invited them to a meeting during December. They accepted the meeting and only to a few days later say ‘oops this meeting is In Durban so now we can’t make it. 'If they got their courage of their convictions, than please come down here (Durban). My partner and I both here. Don’t pick on me specifically because I am Muslim. Somebody seems on picking on me. My partner is here. He’s name is Christian Larsen, why don’t someone phone and speak to him as well. It’s fair. And they can sit across the table with the both of us and we can have a discussion and we can understand exactly where they are at and what the problem is," said Mia.
Mia emphasises that he is happy to entertain a discussion with Stop the JNF when the organisation can schedule a meeting in Durban. He said he and his partner in the business, Christian Larsen’s intentions are not to support any religious organisations. “We certainly are going to be supporting the youth and juvenile organisations and that’s really where our efforts are going to be,” said Mia.
“But one also needs to appreciate in these circumstances that what was done previously is not cast in stone or what’s going to be done in the future,” added Mia.
Stop the JNF is a group of concerned Jewish South Africans (who do not identify with the JNF nor Israel and its policies) spearheads the creation of a local chapter of the international campaign called "Stop the JNF" which has now gained countrywide and broad-based support.

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