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.