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As Israel’s Settlements Expand, Church Boycotts Grow

November 13, 2014 – United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR) today announced a global boycott of six product lines produced in illegal Israeli settlements of the West Bank.  These are Ahava cosmetics, Keter plastic products, Royalife linens, Ram Quality toys, SodaStream drink machines and Smart-Fab disposable fabrics.  They are falsely labeled “Made in Israel” and sold […]

November 13, 2014 – United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR) today announced a global boycott of six product lines produced in illegal Israeli settlements of the West Bank.  These are Ahava cosmetics, Keter plastic products, Royalife linens, Ram Quality toys, SodaStream drink machines and Smart-Fab disposable fabrics.  They are falsely labeled “Made in Israel” and sold in the United States by stores as diverse as Williams Sonoma, Home Depot, and Toys R Us.  Often they carry the stores’ own brand names.

All these products are granted US tax exemptions intended to stimulate trade between the US and Israel.  Instead, they help sustain illegal settlements Israel has built in the occupied territories, which the United States has criticized as an obstacle to peace. These imports also undercut products made by American firms that obey US environmental and labor laws.  Israeli laws to protect workers and the environment are not enforced in the settlements, where companies frequently pollute farmland and exploit workers.

The boycott campaign follows the United Methodist denomination’s call on all nations to prohibit imports of settlement goods.   This call was part of a formal resolution adopted by the church at its General Conference in 2012.  It follows many years of United Methodist resolutions condemning Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

Rev. Alan Kinney, Chairman of the UMKR Boycott Committee, said, “Boycott is one of the steps urged by Palestinian Christians, who are struggling to keep the Church alive in the Holy Land.  Thousands of indigenous Christians who deal daily with Israeli oppression have signed an urgent plea to churches of the world, asking for tangible actions to end the occupation.  Boycott, which has been used by churches in other situations of injustice, is a nonviolent, moral response to their request.”

The UMKR boycott does not apply to goods produced by companies within Israel’s internationally recognized borders.  It only targets products made in illegal settlements.  For more information, visit the Kairos Response web site at www.kairosresponse.org or contact [email protected].

United Methodist Kairos Response is a global grassroots movement in the United Methodist Church responding to the urgent call from Palestinian Christians for action to end Israel’s occupation.  With its interfaith partners, it seeks a just peace for all the people of the Holy Land.