Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Top Ten Brands to Boycott this Christmas

While there are many Israeli and multinational companies that benefit from apartheid, we put together this list to highlight ten specific companies to target. Many of these produce goods in such a way that directly harms Palestinians — exploiting labor, developing technology for military operations, or supplying equipment for illegal settlements. Many are also the targets of boycotts for other reasons, like harming the environment and labor violations.

1. AHAVA

This brand’s cosmetics are produced using salt, minerals, and mud from the Dead Sea — natural resources that are excavated from the occupied West Bank. The products themselves are manufactured in the illegal Israeli settlement Mitzpe Shalem. AHAVA is the target of CODEPINK’s “Stolen Beauty” campaign.

2. Delta Galil Industries

Israel’s largest textiles manufacturer provides clothing and underwear for such popular brands as Gap, J-Crew, J.C. Penny, Calvin Klein, Playtex, Victoria’s Secret (see #10) and many others. Its founder and chairman Dov Lautman is a close associate of former Israeli President Ehud Barak. It has also been condemned by Sweatshop Watch for its exploitation of labor in other countries such as Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey.

motobomb3. Motorola

While many of us know this brand for its stylish cellphones, did you know that it also develops and manufactures bomb fuses and missile guidance systems? Motorola components are also used in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or “drones”) and in communications and surveillance systems used in settlements, checkpoints, and along the 490 mile apartheid wall. The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation has launched the “Hang Up on Motorola” campaign.

4. L’Oreal / The Body Shop

This cosmetics and perfume company is known for its investments and manufacturing activities in Israel, including production in Migdal Haemek, the “Silicon Valley” of Israel built on the land of Palestinian village Al-Mujaydil, which was ethnically cleansed in 1948. In 1998, a representative of L’Oreal was given the Jubilee Award by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for strengthening the Israeli economy.

Dorot5. Dorot Garlic and Herbs

These frozen herbs that are sold at Trader Joe’s are shipped halfway around the world when they could easily be purchased locally. Trader Joe’s also sells Israeli Cous Cous and Pastures of Eden feta cheese that are made in Israel. QUIT, South Bay Mobilization, and other groups have targeted Trader Joe’s with a “Don’t Buy into Apartheid” campaign.

6. Estee Lauder

This company’s chairman Ronald Lauder is also the chairman of the Jewish National Fund, a quasi-governmental organization that was established in 1901 to acquire Palestinian land and is connected to the continued building of illegal settlements. Estee Lauder’s popular brands include Clinique, MAC, Origins, Bumble & Bumble, Aveda, fragrance lines for top designers, and many others. They have been the target of QUIT’s “Estee Slaughter Killer Products” campaign.

7. Intel

This technology company that manufactures computer processors and other hardware components employs thousands of Israelis and has exports from Israel totaling over $1 billion per year. They are one of Israel’s oldest foreign supporters, having established their first development center outside of the US in 1974 in Haifa. Al-Awda (the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition) has urged action against Intel for building a facility on the land of former village Iraq Al Manshiya, which was cleansed in 1949.

sabra8. Sabra

This brand of hummus, baba ghanoush and other foods is co-owned by Israel’s second-largest food company The Strauss Group and Pepsico. On the “Corporate Responsibility” section of its website, The Strauss Group boasts of its relationship to the Israeli Army, offering food products and political support.

9. Sara Lee

Sara Lee holds a 30% stake in Delta Galil (see #2) and is the world’s largest clothing manufacturer, which owns or is affiliated with such brands as Hanes, Playtex, Champion, Leggs, Sara Lee Bakery, Ball Park hotdogs, Wonderbra, and many others. Similar to L’Oreal (see #4), a representative of Sara Lee received the Jubilee Award from Netanyahu for its commitment to business with Israel.

10. Victoria’s Secret

Most of Victoria’s Secret’s bras are produced by Delta Galil (see #2), and much of the cotton is also grown in Israel on confiscated Palestinian land. Victoria’s Secret has also been the target of labor rights’ groups for sourcing products from companies with labor violations, and by environmental groups for their unsustainable use of paper in producing their catalogues. That’s not sexy!

5 comments:

Karin Kloosterman said...

I would think someone who talks about promoting the love of God might better do better by speaking less hate.

Samuel Nichols said...

Karin,
Can you clarify what you mean by less hate? Are you referencing this post about boycotting companies that financially contribute to the Israeli occupation?

Tsofah said...

Why boycott companies that employ Jews, Arabs, and Christians worldwide? Why take food and shelter away from people - among those whom you say you wish to help? As a young Palestinian man told me "I work with Jews, I live among Jews, I have friends with Jews. Yet, I am Palestinian. Let the politicians fight among themselves. Leave us alone. My friends and I will stay friends."

I wish more people had that type of understanding of living among one another.

I, for one, will not take away income from people who need it.

Samuel Nichols said...

Tsofah,

The call for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions is coming from the Palestinian community and many Israelis are beginning to support the call. Many of those supporting a BDS movement will be directly affected economically, but the reason they are turning to BDS is because nothing else has worked. The Israeli occupation of Palestine is nearly 43 years old. Conditions aren't getting better, in fact, the occupation continues to tighten it's hold of Palestinians.

BDS worked in South Africa because the government was pressured by companies who were being negatively affected by the world's boycotts and sanctions. The goal is to force Israel to end it's cruel occupation of the West Bank and inhumane siege of the Gaza Strip.

Tsofah said...

Samuel:

Israel does not occupy Gaza - Hamas is in charge there. Hamas continues to dig tunnels into Egypt and into Israel in order to import weapons, rockets, and bombs. Egypt has sealed it's border; so is Egypt inhumanely occupying Gaza as well? I do not understand the logic to be honest, in who we say is occupying what.

As far as the West Bank is concerned, Palestinians never had ownership of it. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was in charge of the West Bank since it's inception in 1946. Egypt had ownership of Gaza. This, of course, was before the Six Day War in 1967 in which Gamal Nassar/Egypt, Syria, and Jordan planned to destroy Israel. (Egypt had tanks over the border into Israel after several days of telling Israel they were coming. King Hussein of Jordan was unaware at that time of Nasser's intention to go through Israel and invade Jordan). Israel didn't wait and defended itself with a counter-preemptive strike.

There have been three times Israel has been attacked by the combined forces of Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Should Israel go back to the pre-1967 "Auschwitz borders" and risk yet another invasion?

More telling, since the UK gave almost 80% of Palestine to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to be their state (which was established in 1946) - why isn't anyone insisting Jordan give up part of the much larger portion of land back to the Palestinians? It was Jordan, after all, that Arafat went to first to demand land for a state. After bombings and such, King Hussein had Arafat and the PLO thrown out of Jordan. It was only then that Arafat turned his attention to Israel.

Israel is not South Africa. I doubt the boycotts there will not have the results you seem to think it will.