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Boycotting, a Nonviolent Way of Seeking Justice

Posted by Ryan Hall
12.02.14
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San Antonio for Justice in Palestine: Boycotting, a Nonviolent Way of Seeking Justice

A report from San Antonio Campaign Nonviolence Organizers

San Antonio Ulta BoycottDuring the Campaign Nonviolence Week, we had education about some of the realities for Palestinians and about the international movement of Boycotts, Sanctions, and Divestment www.bdsmovement.net/bdsintro

During the weekend of ‘Black Friday’, San Antonio for Justice in Palestine organized a peaceful and informative campaign to educate shoppers at an ULTA Beauty Store here about a line of skin care products they carry—AHAVA. The AHAVA manufacturing facility is located in the Occupied West Bank of Palestine on land stolen from Palestinians, and uses the highly sought-after Dead Sea mud which is also stolen from Palestinians. Due to these illegal activities, AHAVA has been the target of an international boycott.

SAJP first delivered a letter to an ULTA Store manager explaining that AHAVA products are made from and on what even the USA considers to be stolen land. We asked ULTA to remove AHAVA from their shelves, and we even offered to advertise for that ULTA store if they did. They did not respond at all, and so, as we had advised ULTA, on ‘Black Friday’ we began an informative campaign to ask shoppers to boycott AHAVA and ULTA.

But instead of the traditional angry protest with protesters holding signs denouncing ULTA and AHAVA, we all wore Santa hats, and smiled and waved to shoppers going into or leaving the mall where the ULTA store was located. We stood on the public side walk, rather than in the store or on the mall property (even mall security agreed this was perfectly legal), and held signs that read “Want to know a secret about ULTA?” and “Ask us why we don’t shop ULTA” and lastly, “Shopping at ULTA? FREE GIFT!” We offered shoppers who came to talk to us a “Gift from Palestine”— a very nice bar of Dead Sea soap made legally in Palestine by Palestinians.

We also gave them a very simple and straightforward handout that avoided the politics of the Palestine-Israel topic, but simply explained that the US along with the rest of the world have declared AHAVA’s facility in Palestine to be illegal. We asked shoppers to either boycott ULTA until they stopped selling AHAVA, or to ask the store manager to stop selling AHAVA. Using this friendly approach, we were able to speak to many more customers than would have approached angry protestors, and with the handout and gift, made many new friends for Palestine.

–Moureen Kiki and Bill McKee

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