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Boycott campaign targets Israeli goods in Canada

JTA

January 13, 2011 | 1:28 pm

Calls for a boycott of Israeli-made beauty products in Canada again have kick-started Jewish counter efforts.

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, a pro-Palestinian coalition, has launched a boycott campaign against stores selling the popular Ahava line of Dead Sea beauty products.

On its website, the coalition charges that Ahava “is economically linked to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories,” and that almost 45 percent of the company is owned by “two illegal Israeli colonies” near the Dead Sea.

Furthermore, “the mud and mineral resources” used in the products “are drawn from the Dead Sea shores of occupied Palestinian territory.”

A local counter attack, called BUYcott Israel, is urging consumers to purchase Ahava products and watch out for their removal from store shelves.

In a statement, B’nai Brith Canada said it has received reports from eyewitnesses that employees at The Bay, Canada’s most popular department store, have removed the Israeli products from counters and shelves.

B’nai Brith has written The Bay’s executives, who said they were told by a store employee that the move to delist the products was a “business” decision. 

“We ask that you personally review the decision made by your company not to carry an Israeli product, and issue a statement to assure our members and supporters, as well as your customers, that The Bay will not support the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, which at its core is a shameful example of intolerance and racism,” B’nai Brith wrote in a statement.

Similarly, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, in an e-mail blast, called on consumers to “visit your local Bay store, request Ahava products and purchase them, if available, within the next 48 hours.” If not available, consumers are urged to ask why.

JTA’s calls to The Bay were not returned.

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