On Saturday, December 10, International Human Rights Day, a flash mob took over the wedding registry section of the Bed Bath & Beyond in Larkspur, Calif. The flash mob consisted of a mock wedding in which four brides committed to boycott illegal Israeli settlement products, namely Ahava cosmetics and SodaStream home carbonation systems, and local Reverend Dr. Walt Davis pronounced the brides “married to a life of peace and justice.” The Justice Voices choir sung a parody of “Ode to Joy” that asked Bed Bath & Beyond to deshelve these products. Store employees asked the flash mobbers to leave the store and called the police. No arrests were made. Caroling continued outside the store where the group received positive feedback from holiday shoppers.
“We hope Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Steven Temares hears our plea and stops selling products that are in clear violation of international law,” said Rae Abileah, flash mob “bride” and co-director of CODEPINK. “Consumers have a right to know the ugly truth behind Ahava beauty products: they’re stealing Palestinian land! SodaStream is marketed as an environmentally responsible product, but the destruction of life, land and peace brought about by this settlement industrial zone is anything but environmentally responsible. Save a few plastic bottles at the expense of trashing Palestinian land and people? We don’t think so.”
Ahava and SodaStream products are fraudulently labeled as “Made in Israel”, but are in fact produced in illegal settlements under the conditions of the military occupation in the West Bank, outside the internationally-recognized borders of Israel. Ahava cosmetics are manufactured in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Ahava’s fraudulent labeling is under investigation in the UK and in The Netherlands. The Stolen Beauty Boycott and international boycott pressure have successfully pressured many stores to drop Ahava. Stores that have pulled Ahava from their shelves include Canada’s major department store The Bay, UK retailer John Lewis, the National Cathedral in DC, the U.N. commissary in Vienna, and many more.
A recent report by the Israeli research project Who Profits from the Occupation describes SodaStream’s illegal settlement activities (PDF), exposes its fraudulent labeling practices and investigates its exploitative labor practices. SodaStream is another occupation profiteer located the illegal industrial zone called Mishor Adumim, one of the largest land expropriations of Palestinian land in the West Bank, which prevents a future contiguous Palestinian state.
“This month, we mark three years since the Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza that killed about 1,400 Palestinian men, women, and children. Let us all recommit ourselves to ending US financial and diplomatic support to Israel, and to supporting the inspiring, growing, global, Palestinian-led movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions until Palestinians enjoy the freedom, equality, and justice that they deserve,” said Anna Baltzer, flash mob “bride” and national organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
“I invited the CODEPINK women to Marin so that we could do a boycott action at our local Bed, Bath, and Beyond,” said Jane Jewell, founder of 14 Friends of Palestine and Justice Voices. “BDS is one of the most important non-violent activities we can do to oppose the cruel Israeli Occupation of Palestine that causes such terrible suffering to the Palestinian people. I consider it the duty of those of us who enjoy a life of freedom and privilege to help those who do not. If I lived under horrendous oppression like the Palestinians do, I would like to think that somewhere in the world there were people looking out for me.”