By Stephen Lendman
In July 2005, a coalition of 171 Palestinian Civil Society organizations created the global BDS movement for "Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights" for Occupied Palestinians, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinian diaspora refugees.
Since 1948, hundreds of UN resolutions and civil society actions condemned Israel’s lawlessness; its crimes of war and against humanity; occupation; discriminatory policies; illegal home demolitions, land seizures and settlements; oppression of a civilian population; the Separation Wall; the Gaza siege; and preemptive imperial wars.
Nothing so far has worked. Palestine is still occupied. Its people continue to suffer. Their human rights are denied. World leaders ignore them. This no longer can be tolerated. In solidarity, people of conscience everywhere must pressure Israel with BDS initiatives that include boycotting Israeli companies, their products and services, and global ones supporting the occupation. They’re numerous, many with familiar names.
Below is a partial list, starting with global giants, Israeli companies following. Others can be added, but use it as a good start along with a New Year’s resolution to boycott them and encourage others to do it as well.
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation "aim(s) to change those US policies that both sustain Israel’s 42-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, and deny equal rights for all." It started with a boycott campaign to "Hang up on Motorola" and its subsidiary, Motorola Israel, that support the worst of illegal occupation practices. They produce:
— 980 Low Altitude Proximity Fuses for the MK-80 series of high-explosive bombs used against civilian and other non-combatant targets with devastating effect;
— the "Mountain Rose" secure cell phone communication system, used exclusively in Occupied Palestine;
— Wide Area Surveillance System (WAAS) to monitor and secure the Separation Wall, built on about 12% of stolen West Bank land; and
— radar detection devices and thermal cameras for dozens of illegal West Bank settlements.
Morotola consumer products are sold globally, including its cell phones, cordless and corded phones, the Droid phone, accessories, cable modems, digital video equipment, and more. "Hang up on Motorola" and get others to do it, too.
Board Member Ronald Lauder chairs the Jewish National Fund and is former a JNF president. In 1901, the Fifth Zionist Congress established it to "purchase, take on lease or in exchange, or otherwise acquire any lands, forests, rights of possession and other rights….for the purpose of settling Jews on (Palestinian) lands." About 80% of the land was confiscated, not bought from its rightful owners – expelled Palestinians in Israel’s "War of Independence."
JNF calls itself "Caretakers of the land of Israel for over a century (and) a global environmental leader by planting 240 million trees, building over 200 reservoirs and dams, developing over 250,000 acres of land, creating more than 1,000 parks, providing infrastructure for over 1,000 communities (and) bringing life to the Negev Desert," exclusively for Jews on stolen Palestinian lands.
JNF develops land. It doesn’t sell it, but can lease it to Jews or any Jewish-controlled company, organization or entity. It holds these lands on behalf of "the Jewish People in perpetuity." Non-Jews are entirely excluded from renting or buying property, getting financing, opening a business, or doing virtually anything on Jewish land under a strict apartheid policy. JNF policies have been legally challenged, so far without success.
Besides Ronald, other Lauders are also involved – Leonard, Evelyn and William. The company produces skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products that include Clinique, Aramis, Lab Series, Prescriptives and Origins. Acquired brands include M*A*C, Bobbi Brown, La Mer, Jo Malone, Aveda, Bumble and Bumble, Darphin, and Ojon. It’s also the fragrance and beauty products licensee for Kiton, Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Michael Kors, Sean John, Missoni, Tom Ford, and Mustang.
Other products sold through alternative channels include American Beauty, Flirt!, good skin, Daisy Fuentes, Coach, and Eyes by Design. The company is headquartered in New York, with many stores nationally and in Canada operating Estee Lauder "counters."
The Palestinian BDS National Committee calls L’Oreal "Makeup for Israeli apartheid," and asks consumers globally to boycott "the products of the French cosmetics giant….due to its deep and extensive involvement in business relations with Israel…."
There since the mid-1990s, its L’Oreal Israel subsidiary operates a factory in Migdal Haemek in the Lower Galilee where the Migdal Haemek settlement expelled Palestinian residents, denies their right of return, and expropriated their land for exclusive Jewish use.
L’Oreal Israel makes a line of Natural Sea Beauty products using Dead Sea minerals. However, one-third of its western shore is in the West Bank, and the entire area and its resources are off limits to Palestinians to let Israel exploit it for mining and international tourism.
In July 2008, the company also gave a $100,000 "lifetime achievement" award to an Israeli Weizmann Institute scientist, a research center that clandestinely develops nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons for the IDF war machine.
In addition, L’Oreal Israel’s chairman, Gad Propper, is the founding chairman of the Israel-EU Chamber of Commerce, and was heavily involved in promoting trade with Australia and New Zealand. Since the mid-1990s, Israel has been L’Oreal’s regional commercial center.
Its brands include Maybelline, Lancome, Matrix, Redken, Vichy/Dermablend, and Helena Rubinstein. It also owns the Body Shop, a company reputed to be socially conscious, except when it comes to Palestine.
The technology giant produces computer processors and other hardware components employing thousands of Israelis. It’s been one of Israel’s major supporters since opening its first development center outside America in Haifa in 1974. Ever since, it’s heavily invested in the country and operates an annual billion dollar export business. It has a microprocessor plant in Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem, another development center there as well, a plant in Lachish-Qiryat Gat, a branch for the development of network communications products in Omer, close to Beersheba, as well as other operations.
Its Qiryat Gat plant lies on Iraq al Manshiya village land where 2,000 Palestinians were expelled to construct the illegal settlement that replaced it. Al-Awda (the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition) urges legal action against Intel for using it.
Intel Israel also supports apartheid education, saying the company:
"promot(es)….higher education (through) scholarships for (Israeli) students (and) allocates considerable resources to funding research and purchasing laboratory equipment."
The company disdains Palestinian rights by supporting Israeli apartheid, lawlessness, and repressive policies.
It’s the world’s largest fast food retailer, operating in about 120 countries globally, including in Israel since 1993, with about 150 restaurants and a policy of firing Arab workers caught speaking Arabic.
McDonald’s is also a major partner of the Jewish United Fund (JUF) and Jewish Federation. Through its Israel Commission, JUF "works to maintain American military, economic and diplomatic support for Israel; monitors and, when necessary, responds to media coverage of Israel." JUF is also a major fundraiser, and, through its "Partnership to Israel" program, contributes large sums annually to further illegal settlement development on occupied Palestinian land.
The company is the world’s largest soft drink maker, with numerous brands sold virtually everywhere globally. Since the mid-1960s, it’s been been a staunch Israel supporter, and in 1997, the country’s Chamber of Commerce and Economic Mission praised its chairman, Roberto Goizueta, for 30 years of support and for refusing to honor an Arab boycott at the expense of lost regional business. In 2002, Coca-Cola announced plans to build a Kiryat Gat plant on stolen Palestinian land, and in 2005, raised its investment in the Israeli-based Tavor Winery to 51%.
In 2002, the company also helped fund a pro-Israel propaganda lecture by National Public Radio’s Linda Gradstein, claimed to be unbiased.
The company’s Florida Epcot Center Millennium exhibition depicts occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a joint effort by Tel Aviv and Disney to Judaize the city preparatory to legitimizing Israel’s claim.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry, in charge of the exhibit, says it highlights the city’s importance to Muslims, Christians and Jews alike, but a formal statement asserts:
"There is no doubt that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel (and) the position of Jerusalem as the key component to the Israeli pavilion….speaks for itself without a clearer or stronger statement being necessary."
Of the exhibit’s $8 million cost, Israel paid less than one-fourth, Disney the rest.
As the world’s largest home improvement retailer, it’s second only to Wal-Mart in total retail sales. Its founder and former chairman, Bernard Marcus, actively supports Israel, including through the Marcus Foundation promoting Jewish issues.
In addition, he’s a board member of Emet (Hebrew for "truth") News Service, reporting pro-Israeli propaganda, analysis and commentary to ensure all US media are on board, and why not with a board of directors including Marcus; Lex Wexner, The Limited’s founder; Edgar Bronfman Sr., Seagram’s former head; Lou Ranieri, a major Wall Street figure and Israeli bank owner; and former UN ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. Before he died, Jack Kemp also served on the board.
The company invests heavily in Israel, and according to former executive, Lawrence Ricciardi, "This wedge of land and the huge ideals it represents are very important to IBM."
In June 2001, the American-Israel Friendship League praised the company and two others at its Partners for Democracy Award dinner. In May 2002, the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce gave IBM the Ambassador’s Award "in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the development of the Israeli high-tech industry and (for) advancing trade between the US and Israel."
IBM began its regional operations in 1949 and was the first large US company with a wholly owned Israeli subsidiary. Its Haifa Research Laboratories employs over 2,000 people doing extensive research cooperatively with the US-based operations. For decades, it’s also been involved with Israeli start-ups and venture capital funds.
Billionaire Ronald Perelman controls the company, a major producer of cosmetics, skin care, fragrance and personal care products. He also supports Israeli causes, and is a trustee of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the notorious pro-Israel front group with over 300,000 global members and support from prominent figures like himself, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Senator Charles Schumer, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and many others.
Chairman Howard Shultz is staunchly pro-Israel. In 1998, the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah gave him "The Israel 50th Anniversary Friend of Zion Tribute Award" for "playing a key role in promoting a close alliance between the United States and Israel." In 2002, Israel’s Foreign Ministry praised him for being key to the country’s long-term PR success, through his provocative speeches accusing Palestinians of terrorism, calling intifada resistance anti-semitism, asking Americans to back Israel against a common enemy, and sponsoring fund raisers for Israeli causes.
Jointly with the Israeli-based Delek Group, Starbucks Coffee International operated a joint venture in Israel, opened six stores, then shut them after heavy losses.
It’s the Rupert Murdoch-owned media giant that includes dozens of print publications, motion pictures, book publishing, and Fox News, what Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) calls "the most biased name in news….with its extraordinary right-wing tilt" that includes one-sided Israeli support, and no wonder.
Murdoch invests heavily in Israel and was one of three US companies the American-Israel Friendship League honored for their support at their June 2001 Partners for Democracy Awards dinner. Murdoch, in fact, co-chaired the dinner, was a close friend of Ariel Sharon, calls himself a lifelong ally of Israel, and shows it through one-sided reporting allowing no wiggle room for staff deviation.
It’s the world’s largest clothing manufacturer, owning in whole or in part familiar brands, including Hanes, Playtex, Champion, Leggs, and Wonderbra. Its food brands include Sara Lee, Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, and Jimmy Dean, and its global businesses include Fresh Bakery, North American Retail, Foodservice, International Beverage, International Bakery, and International Household and Body Care. It also owns a 30% stake in the Israeli company Delta Galil. More on it below.
In 1998, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu awarded Sara Lee Personal Products executive Lucien Nessim (from its European subsidiary) its highest honor, the Jubilee Award, in recognition of those individuals or organizations who’ve helped Israel’s economy most through trade and investments.
Many other companies and/or their officials have also won it, including Johnson and Johnson, the UK retailer Marks & Spencer, the French food company Danone, Kimberly-Clark, L’Oreal, Nestle, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, Volkswagon, De Beers, Goldman Sachs, Archer Daniel Midland, Cisco Systems, Motorola, AOL, formerly AOL/Time Warner, and numerous others.
Major Israeli companies include:
Delta Galil Industries Ltd.
Israel’s largest textile manufacturer produces clothing and underwear for popular brands including, Gap, J-Crew, JC Penny, Calvin Klein, Playtex, Victoria’s Secret, Hugo Boss, Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren, and others.
Dov Lautman founded and chairs the company, is close to top Israeli officials, and achieved notoriety after sweatshopwatch.org called him a "Sweatshop Czar" for exploiting Arab labor in Egypt and Jordan. In March 2007, he won the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement for his contribution to the country and its people at the expense of neighboring Arabs he exploits.
From its illegal Mitzpe Shalem settlement facility, the company produces cosmetics using Dead Sea salt, minerals, and mud, natural substances extracted from West Bank Palestinian land.
Code Pink’s "Stolen Beauty" campaign says:
"Ahava promises "Beauty Secrets from the Dead Sea." And wait until you hear those secrets! Because Ahava is hiding the ugly truth – its products actually come from stolen Palestinian natural resources….Don’t let the ‘Made in Israel’ sticker fool you – when you buy Avaha products you help finance the destruction of hope for a peaceful and just future for both Israelis and Palestinians."
Avaha uses Palestinian resources without their permission and pays no compensation for them. In addition, Israel denies Palestinians access to the West Bank portion of the Dead Sea so companies like Avaha can exploit it.
Dorot Garlic and Herbs
Established in 1992 in Kibbutz Dorot, the company is now Israel’s largest frozen seasonings supplier to food retainers, hotels, and restaurants in America, Canada and Europe.
The Strauss Group and Its Subsidiaries
Israel’s second largest food and beverage company supports the Golani reconnaissance platoon, infamous for its decades of slaughtering Palestinians, most recently during Operation Cast Lead.
In the "corporate responsibility" section of its website, a sub-heading titled "In the Field With Soldiers" states:
"Our connection with soldiers goes as far back as the country, and even further. We see a mission and need to continue to provide our soldiers with support, to enhance their quality of life and service conditions, and sweeten their special moments….at the front to spoil them with our best products," including Max Brenner Chocolates – another brand to boycott because the company backs Israel’s killing machine.
Sabra is another Strauss company in a joint venture with Pepsico. It produces traditional Arab salads like hummus, baba ghanoush, and fried eggplant.
The company is half Israeli state-owned, exporting fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs from Israel and the Occupied Territories, operating under the Carmel, Jaffa and Coral brands. In the West Bank, Agrexco exploits Palestinian workers, including children, paying sub-poverty wages, no benefits, no sick or holiday pay, no rights, and no union.
The Israeli Date Growers’ Cooperative sells 65% of all Israeli and West Bank settlement-produced dates under the brand names King Solomon and Jordan River. They also supply supermarkets and retail chains that market them under their own private brands. Customers include UK-based Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury, Tesco and Waitrose.
Harvesting dates is hard work and why Israelis use cheap Palestinian labor for it – preferably children who are small, agile, work for less, and are easier to cheat.
The job entails days beginning at 5AM, being hoisted atop date palm trees up to 12 meters, left there for up to eight hours with no break and no way down until mechanically returned at day’s end. Workers cling to trees with one arm, using the other for their quota, with no break, and if they complain or fall behind, they’re fired.
Agrexco and Hadiklaim harvest and sell most dates produced in Israel or on illegal West Bank settlements, including brands mislabeled "West Bank."
Gush Shalom’s BDS Support
Translated from Hebrew, Gush Shalom means "The Peace Bloc" – hard core, especially in times of crisis. Opposing the occupation, it supports an independent Palestine "in all the territories occupied by Israel in 1967" with East Jerusalem its capital and diaspora refugees free to return or be justly compensated for lost land and property.
In July 2006, it listed settlement-made products/factories to be boycotted, headed by the comment that "A penny to the settlements is a penny against peace." Consumer ones include:
— Avaha cosmetics;
— Aphrodite cosmetics;
— AMB cosmetics;
— Adora Screens;
— Aladin cleaning products;
— Abadi "Mizrahiot" salted bagel cookies;
— Ahva halva and candy;
— Adanim Tea;
— Arava Grapes;
— Areva Herbs;
— Barken Cellars wine makers;
— Bel Efri jewelery;
— Barken Sweets;
— Barshap cosmetics;
— Better and Different health food;
— Beigel & Beigel pretzel bakery;
— Beitili furniture and carpets;
— Ben-Or toys;
— Doron Furnitures;
— Dotan leather goods;
— Eden Springs Ltd. mineral water;
— Edumim fish processed food;
— Euro Veavers carpets;
— Ever & Levin jewelry;
— Gilad spices;
— Golan Cheese;
— Golan Wines;
— Gush Ezion Wines;
— Harduf Eggs;
— Hebron Wines;
— Hlavin Industries;
— InterCosma cosmetics;
— Kedem Herbs;
— Keter Plastics plastic furniture;
— Kravitz stationery;
— Keisaria Carpets;
— Lankry foods;
— Luiza herbal tea;
— Lital furniture;
— Meirtecs blankets;
— Motola Preservers pickles;
— Malchi-Jourden Industries cosmetics;
— Modan satchels and handbags;
— Netanel Spices;
— Nimrod Cheese;
— Noah Winery;
— Of Habira chicken;
— Openheimer chocolate and sweets;
— Organica spices;
— Ramat Hagolan Cellars wine makers;
— Ramat Hagolan Dairy;
— Shamir Salads;
— Sharp Delicatessens sausages;
— Soda Club home soda water devices;
— Shemesh Spices;
— Shomron Meat;
— Super Drink drinks;
— Sus Etz toys;
— Tekoa Mushrooms;
— Tekoa Wines;
— Tel Arza Wines;
— Tohikon arts and crafts;
— Winter Carpets;
— Yenon processed food;
— Zion Wines; and
— Zivanit shoes and sandals.
To paraphrase Chicago community organizer Saul Alinsky, the way to beat organized oppression is with organized boycotts against Israeli companies and global corporate giants allied with its government’s war machine.
It’s a democratic non-violent weapon of the powerless against the powerful, the tactic Gandhi preferred. It fights fire with activism. It’s how South Africa’s apartheid was beaten, and it can end decades of Israeli lawlessness the same way, bring peace and reconciliation, and give Palestinians their long-denied rights in their own state or together with Jews equally in one land, the way it should be in any just nation.
– Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.