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Vancouver Picketers Boycott Israeli Goods at Lavan Soap

by Charlotte Kates

Vancouver Picketers Boycott Israeli Goods at Lavan Soap

Also posted by clkates:


"Boycott Israeli Goods!" rang out on the streets of downtown Vancouver on Sunday as local activists picketed a luxury skin care store that specializes in the sale of Israeli products. The Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign organized an informational picket of Lavan: Body Mind and Soap on Sunday, November 20, 2011 in downtown Vancouver. 
BIAC called for a picket of Lavan in response to the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until Palestinian human and national rights are recognized and implemented. The BDS call urges that Israeli products - as well as academic and cultural institutions - be boycotted as a method of international grassroots pressure on Israel to end its occupation and recognize Palestinian rights. 
Lavan boasts of its Israeli products - every product in the store bears a "Made in Israel" tag, and Lavan's advertising boasts of "secrets from the Dead Sea." Lavan notes that its name, Hebrew for "white," "was chosen to represent purity and cleanliness but also to bring Canada and Israel together with the color the two countries share on their flag."
BIAC activists carried signs highlighting Lavan's Israeli connection: "Here's a Secret from the Dead Sea: Israeli Apartheid Means No One Is Free!"; "Lavan Soap Can't Wash Away Israeli Crimes;" "Boycott Lavan Soap: Support Palestinian Rights!" Activists also distributed hundreds of informational flyers to a busy Sunday Granville Street crowd that provided a satirical look at Lavan's products and information about the Palestinian struggle for freedom.
Picketers pointed out that a shared flag colour was far from all that is shared by Israel and Canada - as the flyer pointed out, "they also share a violent colonial history and genocidal policies against the indigenous populations of both lands." Protesters also pointed out that while Lavan brags of its Dead Sea treatments, Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been denied access to the Dead Sea since 2000. 
In response to the announcement of the picket, Lavan called for a "buycott," making false, inflammatory and racist claims about BIAC, including stating that they fear violence because of the "amount of anger and hatred the Palestinians and their supporters hold towards the state of Israel." On their Facebook page, Lavan invoked the Stanley Cup riots and asserted that Occupy Vancouver has met a "violent end" (as the occupation peacefully continues), demanding a Vancouver Police presence.  Lavan was joined in their "buycott" call by the Jewish Independent, who called the picket "targeted intimidation."
Indeed, Lavan did muster some supporters, including several men who stated that "There is no such thing as Palestine," and shouted about killing Arabs and Palestinians, and a man in an Israeli military uniform who emerged from Lavan toward the end of the picket to wave an Israeli flag. Lest anyone remain unsure of Lavan's commitment to Israel's economy and politics, Lavan's response to the picket made it quite clear. 
During the picket, a number of passers-by approached picketers to tell them they hadn't been aware of the facts about Israeli goods and Lavan, and wouldn't buy there in the future. Picketers made plans to return to Lavan in the future, stating that Lavan, like the Mountain Equipment Co-Op, ZIM shipping, and other BDS campaign targets in the Vancouver area, would continue to be boycotted until it stops its economic support of occupation and apartheid in Palestine.
Video of the Lavan protest:
For more information about the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign:

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In typical Canadian fashion I learned of this action through an international site. Of course our local (West Coast) media would say naught.

I run a pro Palestinian (among other things) blog and often bemoan the position our country formally takes on almost all things humanitarian especially Palestine, then Libya as well as Iran and Syria.

Thanks for the good work. I am doing a post on this action now. I noticed that there is a site that is trying to counter your actions called BUYCOTT ISRAEL and have to laugh at the efforts made to legitimize Israel's goods. Sadly I see the Bay has reintroduced AHAVA products after the efforts made by Code Pink and others to mark it a few years ago.

Anyhow, good work. Glad to see we are not ALL comatose, although sometimes it seems that way. Due to physical condition I am not able to picket but I sure can make sure the word gets out through my blog.


Alas, we can't boycott

Alas, we can't boycott ignorance...Yes, the Palestinians have rights and deserve fair treatment. Right now, they've got a terrorist government, which the majority voted in, and are in a state of war against Israel. After over 60 years, the Palestinian government has not recognized the right of Israel to exist. Without this recognition, and without a stop to all terrorism, Israel has no choice but to protect  itself.

Israel is NOT an apartheid state. It is a multicultural, multiracial state with a million Arab citizens. Alone in the Mid-East, it is a democracy that enshrines the rights of women and gays. There are  Palestinian professionals, including doctors, in Israel. Israel hospitals treat Palestinians whose own hate-filled, despotic government (Hamas) is more concerned with violence than education and healthcare.


Even before the state of Israel was formed, Jews were persecuted in the Mid-East. Witness the pogram of 1942 in Bahgdad. During and after the creation of Israel, tens of thousands of Jews, robbed of their jobs, homes, and possessions, fled Syria and other Mid-Eastern countries to the only refuge they had---Israel. Far more Jews were displaced in the Mid-East at large than Palestinians ever were. The difference is this: Israel accepted the displaced Mid-Eastern Jews, while the Arab countries idea of "support" to Palestine is to supply them with weapons of war and hate-filled idealogy.


Like the majority of Israelis and Jews worldwide, I look forward to a peaceful two-nation solution for Palestine and Israel, one based on mutual acceptance and support and prosperous commerce.  So many generations of Palestinian children have been sacrificed to the false gods of hate, violence, and ignorance. Please, no more war---instead, peace, education, equal rights for women and gays, hospitals for the sick, and commerce!

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