Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hedy Epstein Rocks! - More Thoughts on BDS in Alaska

I. Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein is very active in the BDS movement (the boycott of Israeli products and events similar to that invoked against another apartheid regime, South Africa, 25 years ago). That is just one of her many activities in her quest to pressure the Israeli government and other governments and peoples to help make the situation for the Palestinian people something that reflects her ideal of what Jewish values truly are.

She's my friend on facebook. Here's where you can also become Hedy's friend.

Like me, she supported Israel up until the 1982 Lebanon invasion. Her story on how that changed her viewpoint is different from mine. I owe my change of heart to sculptor James L. Acord, who brought me to an exhibit in Seattle of art created by kids orphaned in the Sabra and Shatila massacres in Beirut. After her awakening she spent less time in St. Louis community activism, more time supporting Palestinian rights:
[S]he began to study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to express opposition to Israel's actions. In 2001, she founded a St. Louis chapter of the Women in Black, and in 2003 she traveled to the occupied West Bank to work with the International Solidarity Movement. She has returned once a year since, despite being strip searched and cavity searched in 2004 by guards at Ben Gurion International Airport.
Epstein's involvement with the ISM coincided with that of activists Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall, murdered in Gaza by the Israelis.

Between 2003 and 2010, Epstein divided her community activism efforts between local issues and an increasing commitment to Palestinian rights. Recently, she has received "the 2005 Imagine Life "Education through Media Award" and the 2008 American Friends Service Committee's "Inspiration for Hope Award."

Epstein attempted to participate in the May 2010 Gaza flotilla that saw the Israelis murder several Turks and an American in international waters. But ill health forced her to not board her vessel in Cyprus.

The image at left is a screen capture I made from a video of her protesting two weeks ago at a Best Buy in St. Louis. This particular protest of the series of events happening around the US, UK and other countries, called Flashdance or flashmob or whatever, was against Motorola. They sell products in the West Bank that help disenfranchise Palestinians there.

The Flash protests usually are choreographed episodes in stores, at events or outside such things, by local pro-Palestinian rights groups. Here's the video of the action. Hedy is in the center of the action at about 3 minutes, ten seconds:

II. Progressive Alaska has featured some Flashmob videos before, and asked about starting a local BDS effort in Alaska. Last week, I was in Costco and noticed that they carry Sabra brand Hummus. Dozens of college campuses and a few consumer food co-ops are debating removing this product, or have removed it from service lines or store shelves.

Sabra is a problem because they have financially supported an Israeli Army unit widely viewed as having committed serial war crimes in the occupied West Bank and Gaza - a unit in the Golani Brigade. The company's web site recently removed references to the unit (one of its members is modeling the t-shirt at left showing a sniper's crosshairs on a pregnant woman, with the logo "1 SHOT 2 KILLS."

They have other t-shirts.

So, I didn't walk out of Costco after seeing that they carry Sabra Hummus. I'm not sure what to do. Both Judy and I shop a lot at Costco, and this isn't the only egregious activity that company indulges in. They carry many products created in questionable environments. But I need to do something. Write to the company? Get people together and rehearse something like this?

If I do something, I'd like it to actually do some good.

What do you think?


Makabit Bat Guriel said...

Hedy's health isn't bad enough it seems. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I think they've responded for you. They're bringing you Sarah tomorrow, featuring her keffiyeh-wearing daughter supporting Palestine.
What more do you want?

Philip Munger said...


How kind you are.

Makabit Bat Guriel said...


I always think the same of you as I do Hedy the head giving queen so don't feel left out.

Makabit Bat Guriel said...

p.s. I see you have your filter on but it doesn't matter because you have to read it first. That is always my point because your pathetic fan club reading it means nothing to me.