Every week The New York Times business page runs a “Frequent Flier” profile of a busy traveler. The latest first-person piece is by Elana Drell-Szyfer, who is the head of Ahava North America, and is pictured in Paris.
As many readers of this site know, Ahava produces cosmetics in an illegal settlement, from minerals stolen from Palestinians in the occupied territories. “Stolen Beauty,” in the words of Code Pink, which organizes boycotts of Ahava stores.
There was of course no reference in the article to the occupied territories, to the settlement where Ahava is based, or to Palestinians. No, the article culminated in a lesson imparted to Drell-Szyfer from an octogenarian Catholic seatmate– thus the headline, “Something Wise From a Talkative Seatmate” — to whom Drell-Szyfer in turn described the beauties of “Israel.” Surely these included the beauties of the occupied territories, too?
The spiritual takeaway:
I learned that this was her first time flying internationally, and that she was an 80-year-old Catholic nun. Traveling to Israel was at the top of her bucket list, and her sister-in-law donated her own frequent flier miles to her. Then her community pitched in and gave her some money so her dream could come true.
I wound up talking to her almost the entire trip. I realized how jaded I was becoming about travel. I’m so much younger than she was, but she was like a child, just so eager to see and experience new things. I gave her a lot of tips and advice about Israel, and she was very grateful.
But it was really me who was grateful.
Gag-producing. When is the Times going to be honest with its readers about these criminal activities, and of the international campaign against them? Thanks to Scott Roth.