July 31, 2009

BDS, American style

Omar Barghouthi writes:

While BDS is a global movement with a universalist message of justice, freedom and equal rights, it very much upholds cultural diversity and particularlity. Within the international movement, we already have a "French style," a "British style," a "Scottish style," a "Welsh style," a "South African style," a "Turkish style," a "Swedish style" and, now, an "AMERICAN style" of doing BDS!

The French storming in droves into chic boutiques on the Champs Elysees and mega supermarkets, persistently urging customers to boycott Israeli products; the British occupying university buildings demanding divestment and hounding supermarkets that carry Israeli produce with loud, ongoing awareness-raising demos; the Scots marking Israeli bottled water containers as contaminated with apartheid; the Welsh ketchup-ing Israeli products to drive across a graphical message; the South Africans blocking the offloading of an Israeli ship, thus setting a historical precedent; the Turks showering an Israeli sports team with ... old shoes (clearly inspired by the Iraqis next door!); the Swedes planning their amazingly successful protest against Veolia like they plan their roads and public parks (meticulously and with utmost attention to detail); and the Americans introducing music and dance into BDS protests (Adalah-NY) and now, as you can see below, advocating the boycott of Ahava in .... PINK BIKINIS!

Viva the diversity!

From YNet, July 30:

Code Pink protest calls for Ahava boycott

Washington: American anti-war movement launches fourth in line of protests in 'Stolen Beauty' campaign against Dead Sea company that produces cosmetics in Mitzpe Shalem settlement 'from stolen Palestinian natural resources in occupied territories'

Anat Shalev

Dozens of women in bikinis protested Wednesday near Washington cosmetics stores against the purchase of Ahava beauty products, that are produced in the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the West Bank.

The protest was initiated by the American Code Pink anti-war movement, and the demonstrators' bodies were streaked with mud, some featuring the words "Ahava is a dirty business".

Code Pink alleges that the Israeli cosmetics company that promises to share the "beauty secrets from the Dead Sea" is also "hiding the ugly truth—its products actually come from stolen Palestinian natural resources in the occupied territory of the Palestinian West Bank, and are produced in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem."

The movement launched its "Stolen Beauty" boycott campaign against international company, which exports to 25 countries around the world, last month.

"We are here to tell Ahava, which claims to be devoted to beauty and purity, that you cannot cover up occupation and violation of international law," said Paris Marron, CODEPINK's national online organizer. "We call on Ahava to come clean."

Rae Abileah, a member of the movement who took part in the protest, said they are leading an international campaign against the company's products, in protest of their production in the "occupied Palestinian territory".

She said they had entered cosmetics stores and handed the managers letters with factual information on Ahava's production process, and demanded they stop selling these products, since it is against the Geneva Convention.

Abileah added that it is immoral and unethical to purchase or distribute products that carry such a very heavy price tag and make their profit from the occupation.

The organization also urged "Sex and the City" star Kristen Davis, Ahava's spokeswoman, to stop representing the company immediately.

Abileah said the campaign's first protest was carried out over a month ago, in cooperation with Coalition of Women for Peace in the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv.

The demonstrators were able to shut down the Ahava store in the hotel for an entire day, which prompted them to push forward with the campaign in the United States.

In the past month, the women also demonstrated at Tel Aviv's centennial celebrations in Central Park in New York City, as well as outside a cosmetics conference held in Los Vegas two weeks ago.

See CODEPINK for US media coverage, including a small mention & photo in the Washington Post. Across the continent, CODEPINK protested Ahava in Santa Monica, California.


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