When Israel resident Jack de Lowe wanted to buy a wing mirror for his Ford Focus earlier this month, he finally tracked down the part to a garage in Oldham, northern England.
Although thousands of miles from where he lives, he was interested in buying a used mirror, not a new one, and Ford Parts Oldham seemed the most cost-effective option.
He was expecting to pay about £40 for the mirror but he was instead quoted the vastly inflated figure of £1,025.
When he emailed the firm again to query the amount, he received the following response (all spelling errors contained in it are deliberately reproduced below):
“As we do not recognise the state of israel we do not ship to such non exitent ountries hwoever delivery to palestin can be arranged at a sensible price.”
The message wasn’t signed.
Heat Street rang Ford Parts Oldham for confirmation that it had really sent the message:
The manager and owner of the business, Mursal Israr, admitted he had sent it personally.
He said he was justified in doing so because it is his right not to do business with an individual if he doesn’t want to.
He said: “I sent the email myself…We don’t recognise the illegal occupation of Israel. We don’t believe in the illegal occupation of what is going on there and there’s innocent Muslims and people are getting killed there on a daily basis so we don’t wish to do any business with the state of Israel whatsoever because we don’t recognise the state of Israel.”
When it was pointed out that Mr de Lowe is an individual rather than a representative of the state of Israel, Mr Israr said: “It doesn’t matter, he shouldn’t live there, then…There is no state of Israel, let’s begin with that. We don’t discriminate against people whatsoever but we don’t do business with Israel because we don’t recognise it.”
“I am allowed to do business with whomever I wish to do business with…It’s up to me who I do business with.”
A spokesman for Ford said Israr’s garage is not an official Ford franchise and is not affiliated to Ford in any way. They added that their legal team is now investigating Israr’s use of the word ‘Ford’ in his company’s name.
The row comes in the same week as some Christian bakers in Belfast lost their appeal against a ruling that their refusal to make a cake with a gay slogan on it was discriminatory.
In 2014 the family-run Ashers Bakery refused to make a cake bearing the words: “Support Gay Marriage”.
The order was placed by gay rights activist Gareth Lee.
The bakery argued that the cake’s message was against its owners’ religious views.
But judges said that in law the bakers were not allowed to provide a service only to those who agreed with their religious beliefs.
If Mr de Lowe sues, will those judges take the same stance against Mursal Israr?