In the face of increasing calls to boycott Israeli-made products, a group of Israeli businesspeople is launching “Shop-A-Fada,” and its spokesman is none other than the legendary Israeli basketball-star-turned-goodwill-ambassador Tal Brody.
On a promotional video, Brody says the campaign is intended to “fight back against those who think that they’ll be able to destroy Israel by waging economic warfare.”
The provocative (and likely controversial) campaign name was chosen to evoke “the passion and unity of the Palestinian intifada” of the early 2000s, but the project is claimed to be entirely apolitical.
“This is an initiative which all friends of Israel, Jew and non-Jew alike, need to embrace,” Brody said in a statement. “The time has come to show our enemies that as resolved as they are to practice hate against us, we’re equally committed to come out in unwavering solidarity for Israel.”
The initiative is in response to a step-up in boycott campaigns in places like Britain, which Brody says “aren’t statements of solidarity with the Arab world, but literally economic attacks on hard-working Israelis and Palestinians and deserve a united global response.”
Case in point: SodaStream, a frequent target of boycotts, employs Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, Palestinian Arabs, Bedouins, Russian and Ethiopian immigrants as well as Darfurian refugees at its plant in Mishor Adumim over the Green Line. CEO Daniel Birnbaum has opened the factory to “social audits” so that representatives of wary European retailers can see that all 650 employees are protected by Israeli labor law and receive social benefits and a hot meal daily. The Israeli minimum wage they receive is four times higher than the Palestinian minimum wage.
The team behind Shop-A-Fada owns and operates JudaicaWebStore.com, the largest online purveyor of Israeli gift items. CEO Arik Barel says many overseas supporters of Israel want to counteract anti-Israel boycotts, and this allows them to do so with that most potent of weapons, the pocketbook.
Five percent of all sales before June 15 are to be donated to American Friends of Magen David Adom.
Will Shop-A-Fada hit its mark, or fade into history as a well-intentioned shopping fad? Either way, it never hurts to buy blue and white.
The patent-pending, trademarked IPC (Injured Personnel Carrier) is sewn from high-tensile military strength webbing or seatbelt material, weighs three-quarters of a pound and folds down to just 10 inches. Yet it can bear 5,000 pounds and enables a rescuer to carry someone on his or her back, leaving the rescuer’s hands free.
Search-and-rescue teams, hikers, militaries and emergency medical responders are among the eager markets for the IPC, which was invented by IDF veterans originally from England the United States.
Recently, Agilite founder Elie Isaacson wrote to tell us that the exposure on ISRAEL21c led to new customers.
“We have had several distributors contact us, including from Britain and Nigeria, who saw the article and are becoming IPC distributors!” Elie told us.
We’re happy to get the word out about Israeli innovation, Elie.
Two years ago, ISRAEL21c reported on an all-natural superabsorbent polymer (SAP) invented in Israel that can help people lose weight safely, grow crops with less water and dispose of diapers without harming the earth.
Until our story appeared, the maker of this novel material, the Kiryat Gat-based Exotech Bio Solutions, had been unable to raise enough capital to make sufficient SAP for interested manufacturers.
“We needed help being discovered,” co-CEO Mendy Axlerad told us when he called with an update – and a big “thank you” earlier this year.
Because that’s just what we provided.
As a result of ISRAEL21c’s article, entrepreneurs in Europe and South America contacted Axlerad, and are now building factories to produce the unique Israeli product.
“A company from northern Portugal contacted us asking for a sample, and after we sent it, they said, ‘If you had a partner, would you build a factory?’ They came to visit us and we signed an agreement to build the first factory in the world to produce our SAP,” says Axlerad.
“We expect to start production in seven to nine months from now, making 5,000 tons per year.”
Managers of a German company also saw the ISRAEL21c piece and contacted Axlerad. In a few months, their facility will start producing Exotech’s SAP and transfer it via pipeline to a new diaper factory next door.
“Nothing like this exists anywhere else,” Axlerad told us with pride. “The raw material will move in a fully ecological way to produce the finished product.”
ISRAEL21c congratulates Exotech on these achievements.