Boycott Israel Cheat Sheet: Cosmetics, Health and Personal Care
The above may look like a simple photo of smiling female Israeli soldiers with beauty products But since posted by StandWithUs on social media, it has unleashed BDS reactions. (Site is called “IsraellyCool” so take it from there!)
‘It’s time to ditch Garnier’. That’s the message from Palestinian human rights organisation, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, as it emerged that Garnier has, over the last few days, provided ‘care packages’ of face creams, deodorants, soaps and other cosmetics to female members of the Israeli army…
‘However, no amount of soap can wash away the stench of Israel’s massacre in Gaza, and there are no cosmetics that can beautify the destruction and horror that the Israeli army has wrought on the Palestinians. Garnier’s actions turn our stomachs with revulsion and we are calling on everyone worldwide with a conscience to boycott Garnier and its parent company, L’Oreal.’
ED Noor: Beauty treatment Israeli style. Remember this face when you next purchase your shampoo.
When I began to boycott Israeli products eight years ago, it took considerable time and effort to find products that met my ethical requirements as well as, of course, good chemical-free quality. I managed. Many personal things I use are locally produced which is a win/win for all concerned. Ingredients are purer and those cancer-causing chemicals come nowhere near my skin.
How much easier it would have been had this very detailed list below been available! I know loss of profit from my paltry purchases will not bring Israel to its knees, but it does make a small difference; not to mention it is a great conversation issue with other women if you can personalize the movement to their level of comprehension. I know that might sound foolish, but where I live, it has worked to some degree. This list is a tad more flexible than mine, but there are a few comments sprinkled about.
It is now illegal to support the BDS movement in Canada. Needless to say, most people just laugh. They can do all they can, but who stands beside you and tells you how to spend your hard-earned pennies? How absolutely laughable is this desperation to condemn? Especially when the Theodor Herzl-heralded “terrible power of the purse” is the first and foremost tool used to keep the chattel in line?
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.
COMPANIES TO BOYCOTT:
Estée Lauder: Chairman Ronald Lauder (ED Noor: Seriously, that face gave me a nightmare when I first saw this photo about six years ago.) 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:
Bumble and Bumble
Grassroots Research Labs
Lab series skincare for men
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
Viktor & Rolf
Maison Martin Margiela
Maybelline New York
The Body Shop
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:
Nice ‘n Easy
Dolce & Gabbana
Head & Shoulders
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:
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)
ED Noor: Hopefully, unless there is no other option, and I know many who don’t, Wal Mart should not be an option for any purchases, Israel or not, if you can manage otherwise!
Delta Galil industries: Israeli textile companies with manufacturing and operations in illegal West Bank settlements
Clothing brands using Delta Galil fabric:
United Colors of Benetton
Marks and Spencer
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.
ED Noor: Not to sound like an advertiser, but the above LUSH is definitely a much more enjoyable shop than the local pharmacy. Not a Kosher symbol in sight.
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:
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).
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)
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:
Fresh Step and Scoop Away cat litter (cats qualify as personal care, yes?)
Colgate-Palmolive: To the best of my knowledge, the Colgate-Palmolive company does not have significant ties to Israel. Their brands include:
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:
Ben & Jerry’s
ED Noor: I still avoid Dove and Ben & Jerry’s. Better to be safe than sorry IMHO.
Church & Dwight: no ties to Israel to the best of my knowledge. Brands include:
Arm and Hammer
ED Noor: Arm and Hammer is the baby of Armand Hammer, the rabid Communist Jewish international who financed Al Gore Sr., and now to some degree his son Al Gore Jr., in furtherance of American Communism, so think about it.
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