Two unexpected victims of the war in Gaza on the social networks: French hair and skin care products producer Garnier, owned by Paris-based L’Oréal; and well-known French Jewish singer Patrick Bruel. Both are the subject of boycott campaigns, having been accused of helping the IDF, French websites reported on Friday.
The Garnier issue is about the “delivery of care packages stocked with thousands of products for our girls protecting Israel,” as the pro-Israel NGO StandWithUs posted on its Facebook page on July 31, adding that “they even received facial soaps” and thanking Garnier-Israel for its “fantastic gift.”
The post showed a photo of female soldiers getting the packages, under the caption: “They can continue to take care of themselves while defending the country.”
That was enough to set the social networks aflame. Within a few hours, the rumor pervaded the Web: Garnier supports the IDF. Some 300 incendiary comments called to boycott the brand, just as on July 8 there were calls to boycott Sodastream, Coca-Cola, French food-products multinational Danone and Orange SA (formerly France Telecom).
(The “Orange” brand that the Israeli mobile network operator Partner Communications uses under license belongs to Orange SA, which is not, however, related to the current owners of Partner.) L’Oréal published a statement to The Huffington Post, explaining that at issue is “a one-time distribution of about 500 products which are part of a initiative taken by a local distributor.”
“Garnier disapproves of this strictly local initiative and regrets having offended some of its devotees,” the cosmetics company said.
Bruel has been popular performer in France for decades. He is very appreciated also by French immigrants to Israel, where he recently played a concert.
The problems started for him with Protective Edge Operation, when rumors flooded the Web about his supposed links with the Israeli military.
Last week, on his Facebook page, the singer issued a vigorous denial: “On the contrary to what I read with apprehension, I never gave a penny to the IDF. I participated in concerts for nonprofit welfare associations, hospitals, children with disabilities or with rare diseases, as I do wherever I am asked... I have always supported the creation of a Palestinian state... I reiterated this a year ago on i24news, and in response I was severely attacked by some within the Jewish community.”
The Jewish Defense League, reacting to this statement on its Facebook account on Friday, accused Bruel of being “a coward and a liar.”
“He financially supported organizations that buy material for the Israeli army, we are a witness to that, since we were present at those gala evenings, helping to ensure his security. He even congratulated our members for our fight.
He should be proud of having supported the most ethical army in the world, that army due to which he could come to fill his pockets with money by giving his concerts in Israel.”
Bruel, born Benguigui in 1959 in Tlemcen, Algieria, has yet to respond to JDL’s criticism.