Individual consumers can show their opposition to Israel’s violations by participating in a consumer boycott of Israeli companies, goods and services or of international companies involved in Israeli policies violating Palestinian human rights and international law. A consumer boycott works in two ways: firstly by generating public awareness about Israeli apartheid and occupation as well as international support for it and secondly by applying economic pressure for change.
It differs from country to country, but the most common Israeli exports include:
– fresh fruit and vegetables such as Jaffa citrus fruits and Israeli Medjoul Dates
– Ahava cosmetics
– SodaStream drinks machines
– Eden Springs bottled water
– Golan Heights Wineries and other Israeli wines
There are many international companies that are complicit in Israeli violations of international law. Examples include HP, Caterpillar, Volvo, Hyundai, among many others.
Trying to boycott the products of every single company that participates in Israeli apartheid is a daunting task that has a slim change of having a concrete impact.
It makes more sense to focus on optimal targets that are being targeted as part of national or international campaigns. Consumer boycotts are most effective when part of a broader campaign against a particular product or aiming to pressure a retailer to stop selling a particular Israeli product.
Get in contact with a BDS organisation in your area to find out what companies and products are being targeted and how to support local campaigns. If no such organization exists, start your own campaign, in coordination with well-recognized BDS organizations.
While boycott is an individual act, it becomes much more powerful if it is promoted collectively and finds strong support in organisations, movements and communities willing to promote the boycott and forces retailers to stop selling particular Israeli products.
Across the world, supporters of Palestinian rights are advocating a boycotts adopting a number of diverse actions: Pickets of retailers, letter-writing campaigns, pressure from civil society organisations such as NGOs, faith groups and trade unions. Popular pressure has forced retailers to stop selling Israeli produce and produce from illegal settlements in particular. The consumer boycott is beginning to bite, too: a fifth of Israeli exporters reported a drop in demand as a result of the boycott in the wake of the Gaza massacre.
Latest Consumer Boycott Articles
Fruit juice exporter Priniv has reported cancelled orders from Sweden and elsewhere in Europe
Palestinian BDS National Committee calls for boycott of New Balance and Crowne Plaza over their sponsorship of the Jerusalem Marathon
Major business news outlet Bloomberg attributes the falling share prices of Israeli company SodaStream to the BDS campaign against it
- See more at: http://www.bdsmovement.net/activecamps/consumer-boycott#sthash.mAro0E7N.dpuf
Concern for the people of Palestine has been growing worldwide, not just alone in the Muslim world. It has risen dramatically considering the horrific events that have happened this year in the State of Palestine.
With the debate growing on how the masses can help, many intellectuals and political activists have said the best way is through boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). The BDS campaign covers all Israeli products: It’s a broad tactic aimed to pressure the state itself to change. But it also reserves a special focus for companies that are actually involved in — and make hefty profits from occupation policies. These organizations may be forced to pay attention to the boycott very soon and they may not be the ones you’d expect!
The automobile giant has been criticized by BDS campaigners for supplying equipment to bulldoze Palestinian homes. Interestingly enough, the Swedish automobile manufacturer also holds a 27% stake in Merkavim, whose buses are used to transport Palestinian prisoners to and from Israeli prisons.
2. Hewlett Packard
Hewlett Packard’s slogan is “If you’re going to do something, make it matter.” For Palestinians it definitely matters a lot. The tech giant owns EDS Israel, which supplies the computer systems for Israeli Defense Forces and produces hi-tech equipment like the Basel System, a biometric permit system that controls the movement of Palestinian workers through checkpoints in Gaza and the West Bank.
HP equipment is also used by Israeli prisons and the army. If that is not enough the company has also invested in the technological development of illegal settlements, taking part in the Smart City Project in the town of Ariel.
Intel operates plants in Kiriyat Gat, site of the former Palestinian villages of Iraq al-Manshiya and Faluja. According to Israeli historian Benny Morris it was in the 1948-49 war that the residents of these villages were expelled, in line with Israel’s strategic plans.
Intel, whose processors can be found in most of the world’s computers, has reportedly invested $2.7 billion to upgrade its Kiryat Gat plants where it is working on new chips that will make computers lighter and faster. That brings its total investments in Israel to about $10 billion, plus it has also benefited by more than $1 billion in the form of Israeli government grants.
BDS supporters have targeted telecommunications giant Motorola for providing surveillance equipment around Israeli settlements, along the Israeli-built separation barrier and along the Israel-Gaza border. In addition to that, the American multinational has signed a $100 million deal this year with Israel for encrypted smartphones for its soldiers and security personnel.
The largest fast food chain in the world has long been targeted by Pro-Palestinian groups for its longtime partnership with the Jewish United Fund. Through its Israel Commission, the Jewish United Fund “works to maintain American military, economic and diplomatic support for Israel; monitors and, when necessary, responds to media coverage of Israel”
The largest soft drinks manufacturer in the world that houses numerous carbonated drinks under its umbrella, including Sprite, Fanta and Schweppes amongst many others has been surrounded by many controversies over its supposed support of Israel. Amongst them include the fact that its Israeli subsidiary – Coca-Cola Israel owns dairy farms on occupied Israeli settlements of Shadmot Mechola in the Jordan Valley and a plant in the industrial zone of Katzerin on the occupied Golan Heights.
Back in the year 2009 the company hosted a special reception at the Coca-Cola world headquarters to honor Brigadier-General Ben-Eliezer. Eliezer is claimed by Pro-Palestinian groups to be a war criminal, during the Six-Day War his unit was responsible for the execution of over 300 Egyptian POWs. Under Sharon, Ben-Eliezer served as the Defense Minister presiding over the massacre at Jenin.
Close to 2 decades ago Danone opened its R&D facility in Israel – the Danone Institute. Not that surprisingly enough the French company also owns a 20% share of Israel’s second largest food company, the Strauss Group.
8. Estee Lauder
The American Conglomerate, home to big brands such DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, M.A.C, Clinique amongst many others has been targeted by BDS activists due to the pro-Israeli activities of its chairman, Ronald Lauder. Lauder is also the current president of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) – a quasi-governmental agency whose main function is to legitimize Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. In fact an American based group led a boycott in the country with their “Estée Slaughter” campaign.
9. Marks and Spencer
Since its beginning M&S has been linked inextricably to Zionism. A book on M&S by Lord Marcus Sieff – long time Chairman of M&S – in it he cited that one of the fundamental objectives of M&S is to aid the economic development of Israel (Management: The Marks & Spencer Way, Weidenfield & Nicolson, 1990). As per an article in the Jerusalem Report dated 5/6/2000 M&S supports Israel with approximately $233 million in trade every year.
Furthermore in 1998 Sir Richard Greenbury the CEO of Marks & Spencer, received the Jubilee Award by the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. This is the highest tribute ever awarded by the “State of Israel” in recognition of those individuals and organizations, that through their investments and trade relationships, have done the most to strengthen the Israeli economy.
fhe close relationship of this brand with the state of Israel has been doing the rounds for quite sometime. They escalated when Howard Schultz an active Zionist – the founder, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Starbucks was honored by the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah with “The Israel 50th Anniversary Friend of Zion Tribute Award” for his services to the Zionist state in “playing a key role in promoting close alliance between the United States and Israel”.
Starbucks proudly displayed the award on the company’s website under the section of ‘awards and accolades’ that the coffee giant has won, however, once the boycott started to bite, the award mysteriously disappeared from its website.
The Swiss multinational has a good share of controversies and criticism surrounding its big brand name. For Pro-Palestinians activists one of the main problems they had with the food and beverage company was the fact that it bought 51% shares in Osem investments in the mid 90′s. Osem Investments is an Israel based company that is directly engaged in the production and distribution of food products in Israel and abroad.
Moreover in 1998, Peter Brabeck – the former CEO of Nestle received the Jubilee Award (the highest tribute offered by the state of Israel) in recognition of his company’s efforts to support the state of Israel.
When I began this blog, it was my intention to keep it strictly focused on the art of Palestine, and not to use it as a sounding block for pro-Palestinian politics. This is not to say the two things are unrelated – to the contrary, the art coming out of Palestine and from those living in exile is often explicitly political, and in all cases is shaped by the ongoing occupation of Palestine. My feeling was, and largely still remains, that this is a place for contemplation rather than debate. In light of the latest assault on Gaza, however, I have been doing a lot of talking with friends about BDS. What started as a conversation bemoaning the affiliation of MAC cosmetics with Zionist causes rapidly turned into a project; I spent the better part of a day compiling a list of cosmetics, health and personal care brands to avoid if you’re boycotting Israel, along with alternative products to use.
The process was abysmal. Surely, I have taken care never to underestimate US corporate ties with Israel, but even so, the explicit connections and the vast scope of products involved is frankly demoralizing. That said, the boycott of Israeli goods is a vital step towards liberation for Palestine, and if you are interested in learning more, visit the BDS website and consult the list below.
A note about the scope and content: I focused on health and beauty items because they are the items I use most in my daily life, and because my friends – who seem disproportionately to be incredibly beautiful and well-groomed femmes – wanted to know about the products they are using. To do an exhaustive list is impossible at this juncture, though I hope to make lists focused on different sales arenas in the future. Topically, it bears repeating that Palestine is a feminist issue – we as women and/or feminist advocates should remember this as we make choices about the kind of products we buy for our bodies.
The list is after the cut, please share widely!
Companies to Boycott
Estée Lauder: Chairman Ronald Lauder is the current president of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which owns approximately 13% of land in the state of Israel. The JNF has not only been implicated in the unlawful seizure of Palestinian land, but is also an explicitly racist organization: it prohibits the sale and leasing of its land to non-Jews (i.e., to Palestinians).
Estée Lauder brands:
- Coach cosmetics
- Tom Ford
- Bumble and Bumble
- American Beauty
- Bobbi Brown
- Donna Karan
- Ermenegildo Zegna
- Goodskin Labs
- Grassroots Research Labs
- Jo Malone
- La Mer
- Lab series skincare for men
- Michael Kors
- Tommy Hilfiger
- Tory Burch
Ahava: Ahava products are made with “dead sea minerals” from occupied natural resources on the West Bank, and are produced in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem.
Revlon: Revlon’s largest stakeholder, Ronald Perelman, is a major trustee of the Simon Weisenthal foundation, which runs the somewhat ironically named Museum of Tolerance. The Museum has been criticized for its presentation of the Holocaust as justification for the Zionist takeover of Palestine and for its decision to open a branch in Jerusalem on the grounds of the Mamilla Cemetery. This historic Muslim cemetery goes back 1,000 years and has been desecrated by the project, with skeletons removed and discarded against archeological ethical standards and Israeli law. Revlon also owns Almay.
L’Oreal: This one is a doozy, because it’s pretty bad, but manufactures just about everything. L’Oreal Israel operates a factory in the Israeli town of Migdal Ha’emek in the Lower Galilee. The settlement of Migdal Ha’emek was established in 1952 on lands belonging to the ethnically-cleansed Palestinian village of al-Mujaydil, whose original inhabitants are still denied the right to return to their homes. L’Oreal Israel also manufacturers a line of products using Dead Sea minerals under the name “Natural Sea Beauty” that is exported to 22 countries. It should be noted that one third of the western shore of the Dead Sea lies in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. While the entire shore and its resources are systematically closed to Palestinians by Israeli military occupation and apartheid practices, Israel exploits the Dead Sea for international tourism, mining, and improving its image.
L’Oreal’s activities in Israel are not, however, limited to L’Oreal Israel. While Palestinian academics and students in the occupied territories and Israel are systematically impeded by Israeli occupation roadblocks and other oppressive measures from conducting normal academic life and research, L’Oreal awarded a $100,000 “lifetime achievement” award to a scientist at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science in July 2008. The Weizmann Institute, since its establishment, has been a major center for clandestine research and development of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons on behalf of Israel’s military establishment with which it has close ties. It is, therefore, one of many academic institutions in Israel that are in collusion with the state’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights, and which are targeted for academic boycott by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).
- Giorgio Armani Beauty
- Yves Saint Laurent Beauté
- Ralph Lauren
- Shu Uemura
- Helena Rubinstein
- Viktor & Rolf
- Yue Sai
- Maison Martin Margiela
- Urban Decay
- Guy Laroche
- Paloma Picasso
- La Roche-Posay
- L’Oreal Paris
- Maybelline New York
- The Body Shop
- L’Oreal Professionnel
- Shu Uemura Art of Hair
- NYX (recent acquisition)
Procter & Gamble: P&G is ubiquitous, but unfortunately, it’s one of the largest clients of Israeli company Avgol Nonwoven, which makes textiles for hygienic products. Avgol Nonwoven operates a plant in the Barkan industrial complex, an illegal Israeli manufacturing settlement on the West Bank adjacent to the settlements of Barkan and Ariel.
Procter & Gamble brands include:
- Herbal Essences
- Max Factor
- Nice ‘n Easy
- Vidal Sassoon
- Dolce & Gabbana
- Head & Shoulders
- Old Spice
- Clairol Professional
- Mr. Clean
- Mr. Proper
- Dreft Laundry
Johnson & Johnson: Unfortunately, the second major corporation manufacturing health and beauty products in the US also has problematic ties to Israel. In 1998 Israel bestowed a Jubilee Award to Johnson & Johnson. Awarded personally by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Israel’s 50th anniversary, the Jubilee Awards were given to select individuals and companies who, through their investments and trade relationships, have done the most to strengthen the Israeli economy.
Johnson & Johnson brands:
- Johnson’s baby products
- Clean & Clear
- Acuvue contact lenses
Kimberly-Clark: If you hoped Kimberly-Clark might provide an alternative to Johnson & Johnson or P&G products, you’re about to be disappointed – they also received a Jubilee Award in 1998.
- Thick & Thirsty
- GoodNites, Little Swimmers, Snugglers, etc
Moroccanoil hair products: made in Israel
Lavan body products: made in Israel with “secrets of the dead sea”
Albaad Rostam tampons: Albaad Rostam products are made in Israel. The company manufactures private label tampons for major companies in the US.
Generic tampon brands by Albaad Rostam:
- Target (Up&Up)
- Wal Mart (Equate)
- Kroger (Kroger, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith’s, King Soopers, Fry’s, QFC, City Market, Owen’s, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker’s, Gerbes, Scott’s Food & Pharmacy, Harris Teeter)
- Rite Aid
Delta Galil industries: Israeli textile companies with manufacturing and operations in illegal West Bank settlements
Clothing brands using Delta Galil fabric:
- Calvin Klein
- Victoria’s Secret
- Tommy Hilfiger
- United Colors of Benetton
- Hugo Boss
- Kenneth Cole
- Lulu Lemon
- JC Penney
- Pierre Cardin
- Marks and Spencer
- Sam’s Club
- 1,000 Mile
- Wolf Lingerie
- Lane Bryant
- Marc O’Polo
Lush Cosmetics: This is actually a good one to support – in 2011 Israel advocacy/Zionist propaganda groups StandWithUs and United With Israel launched a campaign encouraging consumers to boycott Lush products on account of the company’s decision to promote OneWorld’s Freedom for Palestine initiative.
Farouk Systems: Owned by a Palestinian-American, actively boycotted by some pro-Israel organizations and individuals
Farouk systems brands:
- Chi haircare and tools
- Biosilk hair products
- Sunglitz hair products
- Royal Treatment hair products
Everlane: Everlane operates factories in Scotland, Italy, Spain, China and the US with relative transparency and is a great place to find basics you might otherwise buy at Target. The quality is much higher, making the price increase slightly more palatable, though it can’t compete with a $7 Target t-shirt.
LVMH Group: While I’m sure there are plenty of skeletons lurking in the closet of this enormous corporate purveyor of luxury goods, I’ve dug as deep as I can and can’t find any explicit connections to Israel. Brands include:
- Makeup Forever
- Fresh cosmetics (Note: I have seen this listed on less-than-reputable websites as an Israeli company, but as far as I can tell, it was founded in Boston and operates from the US, without any explicit ties to Israel. Its founders, Alina Roytberg and Lev Glazman, are Jewish immigrants from the former USSR, which may have fueled the confusion).
- Benefit cosmetics
Tillie Nail Polish: A natural, vegan, non-toxic and cruelty-free line run by three sisters that is a great competitor to L’Oreal-owned Essie polish, all made in the USA, no known ties to Israel.
100% Pure Cosmetics: Vegan, cruelty-free, natural, non-toxic line, all made in the USA, no known ties to Israel.
Ilia Cosmetics: Natural, organic, non-toxic line made in USA, no known ties to Israel.
Lynn Tilton/Patriarch Partners: Again, seems like a lot of other sketchy stuff going on with this company, but I can’t find any direct ties to Israel. Brands include:
- Stila cosmetics (used to be Estée Lauder and therefore still crops up on old boycott lists)
- Jane cosmetics
Moon Cup/Diva Cup/Luna Pad: Moon Cup and Diva Cup are silicone menstrual cups, and Luna Pads are reusable cotton menstrual pads. They can be used instead of tampons and disposable pads, virtually all major manufacturers of which have ties to Israel. Lunapads and Diva Cups are manufactured in Canada, and Moon Cups are made in the UK.
Beiersdorf corporation: Their products are available in Israel (and in the Palestinian territories) but they have no other ties to the occupation to my knowledge. Brands include:
Clorox corporation: The only allegations of ties to Israel I could find were a nonsensical, anti-Semitic diatribe published in the far corners of the Internet. As far as I can tell, there is no legitimate concern about Clorox brands, including:
- Liquid Plumr
- Fresh Step and Scoop Away cat litter (cats qualify as personal care, yes?)
- Burt’s Bees
Colgate-Palmolive: To the best of my knowledge, the Colgate-Palmolive company does not have significant ties to Israel. Their brands include:
- Speed Stick
- Irish Spring
- Lady Speed Stick
Unilever: This company is difficult; it DOES have a daughter company, Beigel and Beigel, which is an Israeli snack food company. Production for this company originally took place in the illegal West Bank settlement of Ariel, but Unilever shut down this plant and moved it to the Israeli side of the green line, a move which many saw as a victory for BDS. To the best of my knowledge, only Beigel and Beigel products, which are not sold outside of Israel, continue to be produced in Israel. While this connection is certainly not ideal, purchase of Unilever products in lieu of P&G or Johnson & Johnson products may be best in a pinch. Brands include:
- Saint Ives
- Simple skincare
- Ben & Jerry’s
Church & Dwight: no ties to Israel to the best of my knowledge. Brands include:
- Arm and Hammer
- First Response
- Li’l Critters
More beauty brands without known ties to Israel:
- e.l.f. cosmetics
- Obsessive compulsive cosmetics
- Shiseido cosmetics, brands include:
- Bare Escentuals/Bare Minerals
- Bite Beauty
- Deva Curl
- Coty corporation, brands include:
- Mark Jacobs fragrances
- Rimmel London
- Sally Hansen
- Alba Botanica
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