Flash mob targets New Seasons’ ethical image, Israeli products

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Media contact: info@pdxbds.org

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.

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5 Responses to

  1. Kris says:

    Just saw your flashmob on youtube! You guys are GREAT!!!!!!! Many thanks!

  2. Mahmoud Ibrahim says:

    What you are doing here is commendable and heroic and we are all behind you to support you and to help escalate the protests until we are all heard and until Israel recognizes the rights of the Palestinian People. Thank you and may God bless you…

  3. ehab says:


  4. triplikethat says:

    An interesting point that I would love to see Eileen Brady answer during her campaign…if only to see her awkward, stiff response.

  5. Fred says:

    Why is it difficult for our politicians here in the US(like New Gingrich) or anywhere in the world that the conflict started before 1948, not in 1967? Why is it difficult for them to know that the only way to have peace in the Middle East is for the Palestinian refugees to go back to their homes and villages? At the end of WWII, all French refugees went back to their homes and villages without sharing them with German nazi occupation. Similarly, all Palestinians have to return to their homes and villages without sharing them with Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Polish, Ukranians, Morrocan, Yemeni and Iranian Jews. Israelis invoke their Torah/Talmud. Do they really expect non-Jews to read in these books? They claim that ‘Judeo-Christian’ heritage is common to both. I wonder if they allow Christians to live in the promised land like their Jewish counterparts? Israelis are murdering Palestinians just like apartheid did in south Africa. Israel was the only country to support south Africa in developing its Cheetah jetfighter. It was the only country not to abide by UN resolutions against south Africa. Israelis are cleansing Palestine of its owners, they blew up churches in 1948, murdered and massacred unarmed civilians. Isn’t this what the nazis did during WWII?

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