Monday, December 17, 2012

Blood Bath & Beyond

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cold day in New Paltz

Cold, but a good action. We went through about 120 flyers despite the weather.

People seem to read the flyer we hand out as opposed to some of the glossy cards. More to learn from  it?

Some people stopped and talked about BDS, but most hurried on to find someplace warm. New Paltz continues to be a good place, however. Return in the spring?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

BDS Event in New Paltz

Passing out new flyers in New Paltz
on a busy Saturday afternoon

Eight Middle East Crisis members passed out about 250 flyers at the main light in New Paltz. We reworded the flyer to cover several products made in the illegal West Bank settlements, rather than just concentrate on Ahava being distributed by CVS stores.

This freed us to go where the people are. Most people take the flyers. Some thank us, and a few stop to discuss the issues. 

The "I Am Jewish" signs provoked the most heated response of the day, a man screaming an obscenity from his car window. 

Two students from Saudi Arabia said that they never expected to see this in America, and that they were very thankful for us being there.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Israel accused of pillaging Dead Sea resources in occupied territory

Israel accused of pillaging Dead Sea resources in occupied territory

Israel is "pillaging" the natural resources of the Dead Sea which lie in occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law, a report which singles out the cosmetics firm Ahava for criticism.

According to the Palestinian human rights organisation al-Haq, the "appropriation and exploitation of Palestinian land and natural resources in the occupied Dead Sea area by Israeli settlers and companies … meet the requirements of the crime of pillage".

Its report, Pillage of the Dead Sea, says Israeli restrictions on planning and movement "have severely hampered the ability of Palestinians to use and access their land and other natural resources in the region. The presence of settlers who directly utilise and profit from the Dead Sea wealth has severely exacerbated this situation and contributed to the over-exploitation of the area, resulting in severe environmental damage."

Almost two-thirds of the western shore of the Dead Sea lies within the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967. The remaining area is in Israel, and the eastern shore is in Jordan. At the lowest point on Earth, 410 metres below sea level, the inland sea is a magnet for tourists keen to float in its salt-saturated waters and for industries which extract its minerals.

Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, which manufactures and markets beauty products based on Dead Sea minerals and mud, is located within the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the West Bank. It is licensed by the Israeli government to mine Dead Sea raw materials. According to al-Haq, almost 45% of its shares are owned by Mitzpe Shalem and another Israeli settlement on the Dead Sea shore, Kalia.

Within two decades of its launch in 1988, Ahava's annual global sales had reached almost $150m (£95m). The company has been the target of boycott campaigns by anti-settlement activists, which contributed to its decision to close its store in Covent Garden, London, a year ago.

The al-Haq report says Ahava is "unlawfully utilising the Palestinian natural resources of the Dead Sea area for its own economic profits and therefore can be considered directly responsible for the pillage of the occupied territory's natural resources in clear violation of customary international law".

However, in a letter circulated in 2010, Ahava said: "The mud and minerals used in Ahava's cosmetic products are not excavated in an occupied area. The minerals are mined in the Israeli part of the Dead Sea, which is undisputed internationally."

Ahava did not respond to a request for comment on the al-Haq report.

The land along the Dead Sea shore was classified as "Area C" in the 1993 Oslo accords, in which Israel has full military and administrative control. Much of the land has been declared or registered as "state land", which has "dispossessed Palestinians of extensive portions of the Dead Sea land, effectively depriving them of the possibility of benefiting from [its] natural resources," according to the report.

Al-Haq says "Israel is openly in violation of its obligations under international and humanitarian law as an occupying power … because it is encouraging and facilitating the exploitation of Palestinian natural resources and actively assisting their pillaging by private actors." It cites The Hague regulations and the statute of the international criminal court.

In a statement, the Israeli foreign ministry said that, under the Oslo accords, Israel had territorial jurisdiction that includes land, subsoil and territorial waters in Area C. It "therefore would be entitled to licence a company to excavate mud in that area if it chose to do so".

The al-Haq report calls on the European Union to adopt restrictions on the import of Israeli products originating from settlements, and urges cosmetic retailers to provide clear information about the origin of products they sell to allow consumers to make an informed choice about purchases.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

BDS action in New Paltz

We had a great street action on Saturday in New Paltz (despite the heat).  There were six of us from mecr (Nic, Helaine, Fred, Jo, Donna, Eli) and a few others from Occupy New Paltz and Occupy Poughkeepsie joined with us.  We stood in front of Starbucks, in the shade (thanks Nic) and gave out many flyers and "shrinking Palestine map" postcards, in addition to having numerous conversations with passersby.  The reception in New Paltz was generally good with only a few contentious interactions.  It was good to be out in the streets again.  Let's get some pics next time. Eli


Yes, it was hot!

But we were really connecting to people, talking about the settlements and the future of Israel and Palestine. Turns out we don't really have to be in front of a CVS store to talk about settlement products. We have great handouts, so lets order another 1,000 of those Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions map postcards. And we need a modified handout with one side that talks about several settlement products that people can boycott.

I was so busy, I never got to take a picture. Anyone take one?

Interesting that we were jointed by a group of socialists at the end, a number of young people who completely support our stand on Palestinian human rights. I will ask Tim if they want to join us at another demonstration.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

SodaStream: part of the occupation

This report provides an extensive analysis of SodaStream (Soda Club), a manufacturer of home carbonating devices whose main factory is in the industrial park of Mishor Edomim in the West Bank, territory occupied by Israel. Using SodaStream as a case study for corporate activity in the illegal settlements, the report explores the concept of industrial production in settlements. The report discusses key issues of production in settlements, including the identity of the manufacturers, workers’ conditions, land confiscation and trade in settlement products. This report provides a broad picture about SodaStream, its commercial activities in the territories, and its international business ties, which are mainly in Europe and the United States.

SodaStream has shown substantial growth and expansion in recent years, reaching new international markets. Most significantly, as of November 8, 2010, the company has gone public and its shares are traded on NASDAQ. Examining the performance of this company is important in order to understand how its success is based, at least in part, on the structural advantages that production in Israeli settlements enjoys. Settlement production benefits from low rent, special tax incentives, lax enforcement of environmental and labor protection laws, as well as additional governmental support...

Download full report at:

Monday, July 2, 2012

Roger Waters - We Shall Overcome

Sunday, June 3, 2012

CVS Demo June 3

Ten of us held signs and passed out flyers in front of the Woodstock CVS. We were able to give out about 100 flyers, mostly because we walked up to the Village Green at the end.

We have to pick a time when there are more pedestrians, like Saturday from 2 - 3 pm. Also, we need to identify other stores that carry settlement products.

Nevertheless, it was a good event, with lots of support from passing cars. One woman who got a flyer when into the store to talk to the manager. More people stopped and talked this time after they had gotten a flyer. Several people thanked us for doing the event.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Singing and dancing for a Free Palestine. The Hudson Valley BDS group goes to three locations in Kingston, NY to protest the sale of Israeli products. Sodastream is made in one of the illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and at least some Dead Sea products are made with Palestinian natural resources. We are using this action to pressure Israel to end its illegal occupation of the West Bank and its inhuman blockade of Gaza.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

BDS Resources

BDS Movement(Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Movement)
This is the website of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee. It serves as a central hubfor the global Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Movement in support ofPalestinian rights.

Adalah-NY: The NewYork Campaign for the Boycott of Israel
Adalah-NY is a grassroots,volunteer organization that follows the Palestinian BDS call and ran a highlysuccessful boycott campaign against diamond mogul and settlement builder LevLeviev. Adalah-NY’s current campaign work is focused on the TIAA-CREFdivestment push and academic and cultural boycott.

Boycott SodaStream: Occupation isnot Green
Tools and resourcesfor a new national boycott campaign against SodaStream that has itsmanufacturing plant in an illegal settlement.

Working within thePresbyterian Church to push for divestment from companies profiting fromIsrael’s Occupation. The IPMN has endorsed boycott of Ahava and Israeli dates.

PACBI (PalestinianCampaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel)
The PalestinianCampaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel was launched inRamallah in April 2004 by a group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals tojoin the growing international boycott movement.

Park Slope FoodCoop Members for the Boycott of Israel
Members of ParkSlope Food Coop (PSFC) are working to pressure the Food Coop to join the BDSMovement and to deshelve Israeli goods.

Stolen Beauty AhavaBoycott Campaign
This is aninternational boycott campaign against Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israelicosmetics company with its factory, visitors’ center and research center basedin an illegal settlement in the Occupied West Bank.

The UnitedMethodist Church
The Methodists areworking on a campaign for divestment from companies that profit from Israeli’soccupation.

USACBI (U.S.Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel)
Responding to thecall of Palestinian civil society to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctionmovement against Israel, we are a U.S. campaign focused specifically on aboycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions

U.S. Campaign toEnd the Israeli Occupation
A nationalcoalition of more than 380 groups, the US Campaign to End the IsraeliOccupation works to end U.S. support for Israel's occupation of the PalestinianWest Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. The coalition supports the BDS Movement anda U.S. policy that upholds freedom, justice and equality. They have many BDSresources on the site (Ahava, Caterpillar, church divestment, etc.)

We Divest(TIAA-CREF Campaign)
TIAA-CREF is one ofthe largest financial services in the United States, considered to be oneof the largest retirement systems in the world. This campaign aims topressure TIAA-CREF to stop investing in companies that profit from the Israelioccupation.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Debate on Poughkeepsie BDS action

The following letters were all in response to a BDS/CVS demonstration in Poughkeepsie. †The first letter (Rabbi Loevinger) is at the bottom; then Pat L's response and then mine - so if you read from the bottom it makes more sense. † †Thought MECR might be interested. Eli

Begin forwarded message:
From: Elias Kassirer
Date: February 28, 2012 11:30:28 AM EST

To: Subject: Re: [DutchessPeace] Letter in today's PoJo Reply-To:

Good response Pat. †I am sending the following letter to the Journal today. Eli


To the Editor:
Rabbi Neal Joseph Loevinger, with all due respect, is simply wrong about Dutchess Peace and itís boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. †In truth and in fact, †Israel is the aggressor, the obstacle to peace, and the problem. †Israel enjoys complete military, economic, and media dominance over the Palestinians. †As a result of military occupation, land theft, illegal settlement building, humiliating military checkpoints, extensive home demolitions, imprisonment of children, bombings, and strangulation through the blockade, † Israel has created an apartheid state (ask Jimmy Carter or Desmond Tutu). †Jewish survivors of the Warsaw ghetto have noted the similarities between the horrors of Nazi occupied Warsaw and Israeli controlled Gaza.

Palestinians called for the BDS campaign as a non-violent attempt to pressure Israel to change. †The goals of BDS are to end Israeli military occupation, secure equal rights for all, and to allow Palestinians to return to homes and land that was taken from them. †Of course, Israel has legitimate and very real concerns about security, but Israel will never achieve either through policies of brutality and oppression. †Hopefully, †the non-violent BDS campaign will move Israel in a more human and humane direction. †I would hope that Rabbi Loevinger would spend some time speaking to his congregation about our shared humanity and shared suffering with particular attention to the current plight of the †Palestinian men, women, and children who are attacked, intimidated, and humiliated on a daily basis by Jewish settlers and IDF soldiers.

Eli Kassirer New Paltz


On Feb 24, 2012, at 3:12 PM, wrote:
The following letter appeared in today's Poughkeepsie Journal. Of course, it must be responded to. My suggestion is, rather than have one letter coming from all of us, as many as feel moved to do so write individual letters. I'm pasting my response below. It's personal and meant to come only from me. Who else wants to write a letter?


Boycotting Israel won't lead to peace The Dutchess Peace Coalition is a small group of activists for peace and social justice, who are by all appearances both sincere and passionate in their desire to bring about a better world.

If the DPC wants to work toward peace, it must swiftly separate itself from the movement to delegitimize and isolate the State of Israel, otherwise known as BDS: boycott, divestment, and sanctions.

The Peace Coalitionís website lists local actions, such as protesting the sale of Israeli cosmetics in front of drugstores, which will not bring peace, but will instead make peace a more distant goal. The inevitable result of such efforts is that Israel is seen as the sole aggressor, the sole obstacle to peace, the sole problem ó and it most assuredly is not.

Because BDS supporters do not understand or acknowledge the real threats to Israelís security, they strengthen extremist elements on both sides of the conflict, empowering those who think they can destroy Israel by means of war, provoking a more intense defensive posture on the Israeli side.

If the Dutchess Peace Coalition truly wants peace, it should work to promote a two-state solution ó which is the policy of the United States, Europe, Israel, and the mainstream Jewish groups in this country. It is our only real hope of peace.

Boycotting Israel doesnít help two peoples live side by side. Thatís what a real peace would look like, and itís not too late for the Peace Coalition to help bring it about.

Rabbi Neal Joseph Loevinger


Now, my response:
As a member of Dutchess Peace, I wish to respond to Rabbi Loevingerís letter of February 24.

Dutchess Peace doesnít seek to ìdelegitimizeî Israel. We donít need to ìisolateî Israel; Israel has isolated itself. On February 18, 2011, the United Nations Security Council considered a resolution calling on Israel to withdraw from its illegal settlements. Only the United States opposed the resolution, although Ambassador Susan Rice stated: ìÖwe reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activityÖî The U.N. General Assembly passed a similar, non-binding, resolution, 159 to 6.

The settlements, as well as the border wall (which often extends deep into Palestinian territory and separates Palestinians from their lands and livelihoods ñ another violation of the Geneva Conventions), destroy the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state. They are the most serious threat to Israelís security, as they make a two-state solution unworkable and create understandable resentment and despair. Dutchess Peace supports a boycott of products such as Ahava, a beauty product made in the settlements and sold at CVS stores and on their web site, to bring peopleís awareness to this injustice and to pressure Israel to abandon this reckless and dangerous policy.

While I regret having to oppose the Israeli government publicly, my Jewish upbringing has taught me to protest against injustice wherever I encounter it. While I condemn all violence on both sides, it is clear to me that it is the Israeli state that is the aggressor and must be stopped.

Pat Lamanna

Monday, February 13, 2012

Correction from

Too bad we didn't use this excellent resource when deciding the scope of our CVS actions. We have made some minor changes to this website to reflect the following information...

As you might know, we have a 5-year research project in Israel called "who Profits" ( - where we publish a database of companies involved in the occupation. We have a complete mapping of all settlement products and we have put a lot of effort into investigating dead sea products such as Ahava. It is crucial for our work to be very precise with our facts, and not to fall into exaggerations and all sorts of false information on the web, which can discredit our campaigns.

Check out our new whoprofits website:

On your website I see this quote: "CVS should stop selling Ahava, as well as other products made in Israel's illegal settlements. These include L'Oreal's Natural Sea Beauty, Dead Sea Salt Foot Soak, and Swisa Beauty Esensuals." This is not precise. Of these, only Ahava is a settlement product, it is produced in a settlement and partially owned by two settlements. Also, the mud they sell (as mud, not extracts) is excavated in the occupied area, in contradiction with international law (forbidding pillage of natural resources). The dead sea minerals used by Ahava as well as by other companies are excavated in the south of the dead sea by Dead Sea Works, which is officially in 1948 Israel.

I would also encourage you to look for sales of SodaStream in your area, as it seems that they are gaining momentum in the US.
This is also a settlement product, and now, for the first time, there is a cheap alternative we can offer to this product. See where they sell near you:

Good luck in all and let me know if you need anything...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dutchess Peace held their first BDS rally in front of a CVS store. Most cars took flyers and we went through about 180 handouts. We also talked to the store manager who said that she had already discussed our objection to Dead Sea products with her district manager. We had 7 demonstrators there, more than enough to pass out flyers to stopped cars.

One member stood just outside the CVS door handing flyers to those leaving the store. At the end, a woman come up and disputed the fact that Palestinian's were treated like second class citizens. She was adamant but ill informed. We have heard the distortions so often now that we could say them ourselves, even the statement that Jimmy Carter is an "anti-Semite."

In all, a successful event because we had been seen by hundreds of cars and interacted with many people coming out of the store.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Code Pink on Ahava

Join us in taking two online actions to spread the truth about Ahava’s ugly occupation racketeering.

 CONTACT ELLE Magazine in New York City

The January 2012 issue of ELLE ran a feature entitled “Sea Salt Benefits” on the wonders of Dead Sea Cosmetics. Ahava was featured prominently, and the writer described the factory and visitors center as being in Israel. She was either confused, mislead or possibly both. You can read the letter that we wrote in response.

TAKE ACTION: PLEASE WRITE A COMMENTLet ELLE know that Ahava’s factory, visitors center and research facility are located in the Occupied West Bank in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem.
Go to the comment form on ELLE Magazine’s site --- scroll down until you see "Please select a category," and select "I have a comment about an article in ELLE Magazine."


The Independent reported on a letter sent by prominent UK academics and intellectuals to the Museum of Natural History regarding its research collaboration with Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories.
“In their letter, the 21 signatories, who include the eminent biologist Sir Patrick Bateson, president of the Zoological Society of London, and leading intellectual Sir Jonathan Miller, claim that the Natural History Museum’s connection with Ahava-DSL means that it is ‘co-ordinating an activity that breaks international law’.”

You can read the letter and see the impressive list of signatories who are standing up for human rights and international law.
The Natural History Museum defended its collaboration with Ahava as a matter of “academic freedom.” But Ahava is a for-profit business—and is in fact an occupation racketeer in the illegal settlement trade—so this seems to have more to do with whitewashing Ahava’s reputation than with the free exchange of ideas.

Using the Customer Enquiry form on the Natural History Museum’s web site, you can let them know what you think of their collaboration with Ahava.
Thanks so much for being part of the team helping to take the profit out of occupation.
All best,

Nancy, Rae, Kristen and the Stolen Beauty Team
P.S. Buy one of our great Occupation Isn't Pretty Boycott Ahava t-shirts, lots of sizes, order now!


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