UK Zionists fight cosmetics firm for anti-Israel project

StandWithUs, UK Zionist Federation encouraging people to stop buying LUSH products until it drops support for campaign led by anti-Israel charity.

London Generic 311 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
London Generic 311
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
LONDON – Two community organizations have launched an awareness campaign against a British cosmetics company for its support of a “Freedom for Palestine” campaign led by an anti-Israel charity.
The Zionist Federation of the UK and StandWithUs UK are taking a stand against LUSH, a cosmetics chain with 600 stores in 43 countries, for supporting the “OneWorld – Freedom for Palestine” campaign, which they say uses rhetoric of an anti-Israel campaign led by War on Want, a charity with a hostile stance towards Israel.
USH is opening a store in Brent Cross, a shopping mall in a heavily-Jewish area of northwest London. StandWithUs is calling for people to boycott the store saying it was “disturbed that the UK-based parent company of LUSH Cosmetics is promoting an extremist, anti-Israel group, War on Want, as one of its ‘ethical campaigns.’” “StandWithUs is encouraging people to stop buying LUSH products until it reverses this policy and ends its involvement with campaigns that harm Israel and the peace process. Unfortunately, LUSH has chosen to promote the ‘OneWorld’ song project. The lyrics are anti-Israel propaganda and proceeds from the sales of the song will all go to WoW.”
The Zionist Federation said the content on LUSH’s website contains some “appalling bias and falsehoods which need to be addressed” and have called on supporters to contact LUSH to appeal to them to withdraw their support for OneWorld.
The community organization highlighted some of the “falsehoods” on the company’s website.
“Israel’s siege of Gaza has condemned its 1.5 million inhabitants to levels of poverty more commonly associated with sub-Saharan Africa – a humanitarian disaster with no end in sight,” the LUSH website states.
“The International Committee of the Red Cross declared that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Israel sends in thousands of tons of supplies into Gaza every single week and the life expectancy of someone living in Gaza is actually longer than someone living in Glasgow,” said the ZF in response.
War on Want is a major player in the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel. It campaigns also for the right of return for all Palestinian refugees and states that it does not support a two-state solution as it says it doesn’t advocate a solution to the conflict.
Over the years, the Charity Commission of England and Wales has received numerous complaints relating to WoW’s rhetoric and politicized campaigning.
“Whilst charities are permitted to engage in political advocacy to further their charitable aims, War on Want gives the appearance of being very much driven by its political agenda,” said Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
“WoW has been a leader in the propaganda campaign to demonize Israel through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and it supports the propaganda and agenda of groups like Hamas,” a SWU spokesman said.
“WoW demands that Israel take down its security fence, end the Gaza blockade and accept the Palestinians’ right of return, which in essence calls for Israel’s destruction through demographic changes.”
StandWithUs accused LUSH of copying WoW’s stance.
“LUSH simply copied and pasted WoW’s propaganda against Israel onto its website, in its “ethical campaigns” section.
They are identical to those on WoW’s “Justice for Palestine” page. The OneWorld project is supported by veteran anti-Israel groups, including the A.M.
Qattan Foundation, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al Aqsa, Israeli Committee against House Demolitions UK, Stop the War Coalition and Trust Greenbelt,” SWU said.
In 2008, the Charity Commission warned War on Want after it received complaints about its campaigning against Israel, including one from MP and then Shadow Secretary of State for Transport Teresa Villiers.
“Several concerns were raised with the Charity Commission relating to the administration and management of War on Want,” the Charity Commission said at the time.
“We considered these concerns, and determined that only those relating to WoW's campaigning activities raised issues that would be for the Commission to take forward.
The Charity Commission said it received written assurances from the charity that it would look at its campaigning and said that it would monitor the charity.
“We will continue to monitor the work of War on Want, and to work with the charity, to prevent a recurrence of these issues.”
The Charity Commission told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that it has assessed the complaints made against WoW but after assessing them, did not take them forward.
“Whilst not everybody will agree with the campaigning and political activities that a charity may undertake, it is for the charity trustees to consider the potential risks against the potential benefits that their activities may bring and make a decision which is in the best interests of the charity,” a Charity Commission spokesman told the Post.
Lush declined to comment on any of the issues.