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Flash mob targets New Seasons’ ethical image, Israeli products

Shoppers at Portland's Concordia New Seasons were greeted with an unexpected performance this afternoon when about two dozen Portlanders broke into song and dance. "New Seasons, you say you're local but you buy into Israeli occupation," participants sang, referencing the 19 Israeli products New Seasons carries. The flash mob, coordinated by the Portland BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) Coalition, was part of an ongoing campaign calling on New Seasons to stop selling Israeli products.
BDS FLASH MOB
BDS FLASH MOB
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Flash mob targets New Seasons' ethical image, Israeli products

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Media contact: Wael Elasady (602) 446-9444
May 29th, Portland, OR— Shoppers at Portland's Concordia New Seasons were greeted with an unexpected performance this afternoon when about two dozen Portlanders broke into song and dance. "New Seasons, you say you're local but you buy into Israeli occupation," participants sang, referencing the 19 Israeli products New Seasons carries. The flash mob, coordinated by the Portland BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) Coalition, was part of an ongoing campaign calling on New Seasons to stop selling Israeli products.

"New Seasons cannot claim to be friendly and local while it continues to stock products made by Israel, a gross violator of international law," said Wael Elasady, member of Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights and flashmob participant. "There's a glaring discrepancy between their ethical image and the products they profit from."

The now-burgeoning BDS Coalition, endorsed by groups such as Jews for Global Justice and the ILWU Local 5, has submitted a petition with over 500 signatures from New Seasons shoppers. The petition asks New Seasons to respect the boycott call issued by Palestinian civil society in 2005, and stop selling Israeli products until Israel complies with international humanitarian and human rights law. Additionally, hundreds of customers have submitted "comment cards" supporting the boycott.

New Seasons has been under recent scrutiny for its decision to remove photographs by Jewish artist Stephen Kerpen. Images of Palestinians and Bedouins from Kerpen's recent trip to Israel and the West Bank were removed by New Seasons management just hours after being installed in the Seven Corners' local artists gallery. Kerpen was told that the abrupt reversal came in response to the complaint of a single customer.

"New Seasons immediately removed Stephen's images after one complaint, yet refuses to address the hundreds of customers who have supported the boycott," said Elasady. "The store chose to stop selling Rockstar energy drink on ethical grounds, so the precedent for this type of action has been set. It's time for New Seasons to live up to its image and respect the demands of hundreds of customers."
The Portland BDS Coalition is part of the growing international movement calling for a boycott of Israel until it complies with international humanitarian and human rights laws. The Palestinian-led BDS movement is a moral, nonviolent campaign for human rights modeled on the worldwide boycott movement that helped to bring an end to apartheid in South Africa.

homepage: homepage: http://pdxbds.wordpress.com


video 29.May.2011 22:08

gk

Too bad there's no video.

that's not a flashmob 29.May.2011 23:45

why the need to use a trendy word, and incorrectly?

that's just a regular protest.

the owners of 29.May.2011 23:47

-

New Seasons run a factory dairy farm. The Oregonian ran an expose on it a year or so ago. I wouldn't count on New Seasons to be ethical.

BDS action at New Seasons has my support 01.Jun.2011 15:59

joyofresistance

I tried several times to post my photos and report on Indymedia without success. I don't know what technical glitches are present, so I'll contribute my comments here instead.

I was fortunate to be at New Seasons in Concordia and photograph the amazing performance by about 24 members of Portland BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) Coalition. What was normally another typical Sunday afternoon shopping at New Seasons turned into a living theatre for a few moments, with an urgent message to persuade New Seasons to stop carrying 19 Israeli products. As stunned shoppers watched, the performers sang and danced their hearts out to the tune of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face." Many shoppers seemed impressed and took photos with their cell phones. I was glad that the performers were able to finish their song inside the store, and communicate their compelling message so dramatically:

All these products support Israeli Apartheid
At the expense of Palestinian Human Rights
New Seasons, you say you support community
But you sell products that destroy them overseas

No, no, no, no, no, don't buy into it, no
Israeli brands, made on stolen land

New Seasons, New Seasons,
You say you're local but you buy into
Israeli Occupation

B-b-b-boycott
Support the boycott!

We want this store to take responsibility
and boycott Israel 'til Palestine is free
B-Be outraged because the US gives away
seven million dollars to Israel everyday!

The activists also waved signs saying "Anti-Occupation is not Anti-Semitic," "Israeli Policies = 1.7 million Palestinian refugees." They gave out leaflets to shoppers, explaining why New Seasons was targeted. The BDS members had submitted a petition to New Seasons with over 500 signatures from their shoppers supporting the boycott, and tried unsuccessfully many times to meet with New Seasons management. Also at issue was New Seasons' recent censorship of a photo exhibit by Stephen Kerpen, a Jewish photographer, at the Southeast Store. He was forced to remove his photographs of Palestinians and Bedouins when one customer complained.

When the song was over, the activists left the store in high spirits, and repeated their performance outside on the sidewalk across from the entrance. New Seasons had apparently called the police—one of them showed up and after a brief exchange, he left, having determined that the activists were not a threat to anyone. The activists even gave him a leaflet explaining the illegal Israeli occupation and oppression of Palestinians.

I thought this was an excellent action, well-planned and performed. We need more direct actions like this, using theatre, music and dance in a creative and innovative way, to get across this urgent demand to end the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine that has gone on for over 60 years.
For more information, go to  http://pdxbds.wordpress.com

Photos Posted here 02.Jun.2011 17:32

Another Link for More


link (video) 05.Jun.2011 02:36

Jackson

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI6MY2qeKH0&feature=share

Here is the (one) video from the flash dance