Showing posts with label flash mobs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flash mobs. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Flash Mob Tells Bed Bath & Beyond: "Stop Selling Illegal Israeli Settlement Products!"

The three groups involved in this action -- CODEPINK, 14 Friends of Palestine, and Keep Hope Alive -- are all coalition members of the US Campaign, which offers its exclusive flash mob resources here.

Brides, Professional Choir and Minister Flash Mob at Bed Bath & Beyond with Message:
"Stop Selling Illegal Israeli Settlement Products!"

Action in Solidarity with Global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement

[LARKSPUR]: On Saturday, December 10, International Human Rights Day, a flash mob took over the wedding registry section of the Bed Bath & Beyond in Larkspur.  The flash mob consisted of a mock wedding in which four brides committed to boycott illegal Israeli settlement products, namely Ahava cosmetics and SodaStream home carbonation systems, and local Reverend Dr. Walt Davis pronounced the brides "married to a life of peace and justice."  The Justice Voices choir sung a parody of "Ode to Joy" that asked Bed Bath & Beyond to deshelve these products.  Store employees asked the flash mobbers to leave the store and called the police.  No arrests were made.  Caroling continued outside the store where the group received positive feedback from holiday shoppers.

“We hope Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Steven Temares hears our plea and stops selling products that are in clear violation of international law,” said Rae Abileah, flash mob "bride" and co-director of CODEPINK.  “Consumers have a right to know the ugly truth behind Ahava beauty products: they’re stealing Palestinian land! SodaStream is marketed as an environmentally responsible product, but the destruction of life, land and peace brought about by this settlement industrial zone is anything but environmentally responsible. Save a few plastic bottles at the expense of trashing Palestinian land and people?  We don’t think so.”

Ahava and SodaStream products are fraudulently labeled as “Made in Israel”, but are in fact produced in illegal settlements under the conditions of the military occupation in the West Bank, outside the internationally-recognized borders of Israel.  Ahava cosmetics are manufactured in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Ahava’s fraudulent labeling is under investigation in the UK and in The Netherlands. The Stolen Beauty Boycott and international boycott pressure have successfully pressured many stores to drop Ahava.  Stores that have pulled Ahava from their shelves include Canada’s major department store The Bay, UK retailer John Lewis, the National Cathedral in DC, the U.N. commissary in Vienna, and many more.

A recent report by the Israeli research project Who Profits from the Occupation describes SodaStream’s illegal settlement activities, exposes its fraudulent labeling practices and investigates its exploitative labor practices.  SodaStream is another occupation profiteer located the illegal industrial zone called Mishor Adumim, one of the largest land expropriations of Palestinian land in the West Bank, which prevents a future contiguous Palestinian state.

"This month, we mark three years since the Israel's deadly assault on Gaza that killed about 1,400 Palestinian men, women, and children. Let us all recommit ourselves to ending US financial and diplomatic support to Israel, and to supporting the inspiring, growing, global, Palestinian-led  movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions until Palestinians enjoy the freedom, equality, and justice that they deserve,” said Anna Baltzer, flash mob "bride" and national organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.  

“I invited the CODEPINK women to Marin so that we could do a boycott action at our local Bed, Bath, and Beyond,” said Jane Jewell, founder of 14 Friends of Palestine and Justice Voices. “BDS is one of the most important non-violent activities we can do to oppose the cruel Israeli Occupation of Palestine that causes such terrible suffering to the Palestinian people. I consider it the duty of those of us who enjoy a life of freedom and privilege to help those who do not. If I lived under horrendous oppression like the Palestinians do, I would like to think that somewhere in the world there were people looking out for me. "

The action was coordinated by 14 Friends of Palestine, CODEPINK Women for Peace, and Keep Hope Alive.

More information on both campaigns is available at and

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Flash mob in El Cerrito, CA Bed Bath & Beyond protests Soda Stream

A flash mob in an El Cerrito, CA branch of Bed Bath & Beyond this month protested the store's sales of Soda Stream, a soft drink product made in an illegal settlement with exploited Palestinian labor.

The approximately two dozen protesters wore shirts emblazoned with ""Boycott Israel 'til Palestine is Free," and sang and chanted in the Bed Bath & Beyond before moving outside to march and hand out fliers.  The store called the police, who declined to interfere, saying the protesters would leave soon without causing harm.  The flash mob included several members of US Campaign ember groups such as NorCal Friends of Sabeel, Bay Area Jewish Voice for Peace and CODEPINK.

A video of the Bed Bath & Beyond flash mob can be seen here:

Read about other activities of our member groups here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

FLASH MOB: Mock Wedding Promotes Ahava & Soda Stream Boycott at Bed, Bath, & Beyond!

Activists from CODEPINK (US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation coalition member group) recently staged a mock wedding at Bed, Bath, & Beyond in Los Angeles.

Four CODEPINK women dressed in brides dresses strolled through the store and mall answered the reverend's big question:

"Do you promise to tell your fellow brides to not register with Bed, Bath & Beyond until it stops stocking illegal Israeli settlement products Ahava and SodaStream?"...

"Do you promise to honor and obey international law?"...

"Do you promise to cherish the right of Palestinians to use their own natural resources?"

etc... to which the brides answered a resounding,

"WE DO!"

Watch the wonderful video below. CODEPINK invites others to "Become a BDS Bride!"

Find the video, script, fliers, and more by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New Flash Mob in NYC Asking TIAA-CREF to Divest!

The "We Divest" Campaign is a US Campaign-endorsed initiative.

New York City activists performed an inspiring flash mob in Times Square to promote the We Divest Campaign, calling on financial TIAA-CREF to divest from the Israeli Occupation.

Activists nationwide are preparing actions for July 19th, when TIAA-CREF is holding its annual shareholders meeting. Since 2005, all but one CREF annual meetings have been held in New York City. This year, CREF is holding its meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina instead. But like Caterpillar, they can run but they can't hide!

This blog has other recent coverage of the BDS Flash Mob phenomenon. Also see our BDS Flash Mob How-To Kit to plan a flash mob in your own community!

Take action! Click here to sign the petition asking TIAA-CREF to divest from the Israeli Occupation.

Tell TIAA-CREF (@TC_Talks) that socially responsible investment cannot include the funding of weapons and weaponized bulldozers! TIAA-CREF invests in companies known to provide supplies and services to help maintain Israeli occupation, including Caterpillar, Elbit Systems, Northrop Grumman, Motorola and Veolia. Click here for more information about the national campaign.

CLICK HERE to share the video on Facebook.

Use the sample tweets below or write your own.
Click "tweet now!" below the samples for automatic tweeting.

Does "For the Greater Good" include apartheid and occupation? Time to #BDS from #Israel @TC_Talks
tweet now!

Don't let #veolia trash #Palestine with your retirement fund. Tell @TC_Talks to #BDS
tweet now!

Would socially responsible investment include bulldozing homes & making bombs? @TC_Talks divest from #Israel
tweet now!

"Consistent Growth" shouldnt include illegal settlements. Tell @TC_Talks to divest from #Israel
tweet now!

@CaterpillarInc bulldozes Palestinian homes Does your retirement fund? Tell @TC_Talks its time for #BDS
tweet now!

@TC_Talks, divest from #Israel "For the Greater Good" #BDS
tweet now! 

Fund your retirement, not ethnic cleansing of #Palestine. Tell @TC_Talks to #BDS
tweet now!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TIAA-CREF Censors Shareholders... We Flash-Mob!

Above: Palestinian boy calls on people worldwide to boycott Elbit and end Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Traveling through Palestine during the past few weeks, co-leading a delegation organized by Interfaith Peace-Builders, a US Campaign member group, I witnessed firsthand the destruction wrought by corporations profiting from Israeli occupation and apartheid.

I watched Caterpillar bulldozers leveling earth for illegal Jewish-only settlements in occupied East Jerusalem. I stood under Motorola-equipped watchtowers and thermal cameras at checkpoints and terminals that separate Palestinians from their schools, jobs and basic human services. I saw Elbit equipment used in patrolling the Apartheid wall. I documented Veolia buses operated on roads forbidden to non-Jews in the West Bank. On the first anniversary of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, I honored the nine civilians killed by Israel with Northrop Grumman helicopters and other U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons.

The growing "We Divest" Campaign demands that retirement fund giant TIAA-CREF divest from Caterpillar, Motorola, Elbit, Veolia and Northrop Grumman because all five are profiting from the illegal Israeli occupation.

TIAA-CREF presents itself as committed to "serving the greater good," in part by engaging with companies behaving poorly. This is why 20 investors and anti-occupation activists filed a shareholders resolution earlier this year, asking TIAA-CREF to engage with companies profiting from the occupation.

Despite a stated commitment to transparency, TIAA-CREF asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to help suppress the resolution. The SEC agreed not to sue TIAA-CREF for refusing to submit the proposal to a shareholder vote. TIAA-CREF bills itself as socially responsible, yet it is blocking its investors from choosing whether or not to retire on money acquired through an illegal, immoral occupation.

Above: BDS activists protest outside TIAA-CREF offices in Denver during Israeli Apartheid Week. Click image to enlarge, and click here to see video.

It's time to show TIAA-CREF that they cannot silence investors and violate their own proclaimed investment standards while we sit idly by! We need to keep the pressure on.

Many of you have already signed the petition asking TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli occupation. Now it's time to take the next step. In the spirit of this spring's Flash Mob Frenzy, there will be a coordinated week of flash mobs across the country, starting June 20.

Have you been itching to stage a flash mob in your community? Here's your chance! There's a song everyone knows, catchy lyrics, and simple but groovy dance steps all ready to use!

The materials come with a how-to kit based on the US Campaign's BDS Flash Mob Step-by-Step Guide.

Click here to connect with others in your area to take part in the Flash Mob Action Week and demand that TIAA-CREF stop profiting from occupation, stop censoring investors, and start acting like a real socially responsible investment fund!

Hope to see you -- getting your socially responsible groove on -- soon!

Anna Baltzer
National Organizer

PS --
We can support grassroots BDS activism around the country only with grassroots support from people like you. Help us by making a general tax-deductible donation, or by joining our Olive Branch Club to make a recurring tax-deductible donation.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Performance artists plant trees in luxury cosmetics store linked to Israeli land grabs

June 10, 2011

A group of international artists staged a performance today in a Turkish branch of luxury cosmetics store Clinique in protest against its chairman's involvement with Israeli ethnic cleansing and occupation in Palestine. This is the latest action in the growing campaign against the Jewish National Fund (JNF), a Zionist organisation which facilitates the transfer of Palestinian land to Jews while parading as an environmental charity.

Five members of performance arts group Rezoning Group entered the store in Istanbul dressed up as members of the JNF and proceeded to “plant” trees over the Clinique shop space on Friday 10th June, forcing the store to temporarily close.

This was to draw a parallel with the actions of the JNF, which has been involved in forcibly appropriating Palestinian homes and ”rezoning” them under an ecological reforestation scheme. By this “planting” of trees without prior announcement or permission, the Rezoning Group say they wish to highlight the very activity engaged in by the JNF on Palestinian lands.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Flash mob targets New Seasons’ ethical image, Israeli products

By Peter Miller, US Campaign Steering Committee member and President of Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights (AUPHR) a US Campaign member group
May 29, 2011

Portland, Oregon -- Shoppers at Portland’s Concordia New Seasons were greeted with an unexpected performance this afternoon when about two dozen Portlanders broke into song and dance. “New Seasons, you say you’re local but you buy into Israeli occupation,” participants sang, referencing the 19 Israeli products New Seasons carries. The flash mob, coordinated by the Portland BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) Coalition, was part of an ongoing campaign calling on New Seasons to stop selling Israeli products.

“New Seasons cannot claim to be friendly and local while it continues to stock products made by Israel, a gross violator of international law,” said Wael Elasady, member of Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights and flashmob participant. “There’s a glaring discrepancy between their ethical image and the products they profit from.”

The now-burgeoning BDS Coalition, endorsed by groups such as Jews for Global Justice and the ILWU Local 5, has submitted a petition with over 500 signatures from New Seasons shoppers. The petition asks New Seasons to respect the boycott call issued by Palestinian civil society in 2005, and stop selling Israeli products until Israel complies with international humanitarian and human rights law. Additionally, hundreds of customers have submitted “comment cards” supporting the boycott.

New Seasons has been under recent scrutiny for its decision to remove photographs by Jewish artist Stephen Kerpen. Images of Palestinians and Bedouins from Kerpen’s recent trip to Israel and the West Bank were removed by New Seasons management just hours after being installed in the Seven Corners’ local artists gallery. Kerpen was told that the abrupt reversal came in response to the complaint of a single customer.

“New Seasons immediately removed Stephen’s images after one complaint, yet refuses to address the hundreds of customers who have supported the boycott,” said Elasady. “The store chose to stop selling Rockstar energy drink on ethical grounds, so the precedent for this type of action has been set. It’s time for New Seasons to live up to its image and respect the demands of hundreds of customers.”

The Portland BDS Coalition is part of the growing international movement calling for a boycott of Israel until it complies with international humanitarian and human rights laws. The Palestinian-led BDS movement is a moral, nonviolent campaign for human rights modeled on the worldwide boycott movement that helped to bring an end to apartheid in South Africa.

Media contact: Wael Elasady (602) 446-9444


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hundreds Have Just Faced Up To AIPAC, But Together We Can Do More.

By Felicia Eaves and Phyllis Bennis

Above: Steering Committee Members Felicia Eaves (L) and Phyllis Bennis (R).

On Saturday we both spoke at the fantastic events of Move Over AIPAC, the spectacular outpouring of creativity and commitment organized by CODEPINK and 100 endorsing organizations, including the US Campaign and many members of our coalition.

Hundreds of activists from across the United States challenged the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) by protesting outside its annual conference in Washington.

AIPAC's influence, along with that of U.S. arms manufacturers and the Pentagon, creates a stranglehold of pro-Israel policies that undermine democracy here at home and across the Middle East. 

Throughout the weekend activsts spoke about the kind of new U.S. policy needed toward Palestine/Israel -- a policy that upholds freedom, justice and equality -- not AIPAC's policy of securing U.S. support for Israel's  occupation of Palestinian land and violations of Palestinian rights.

With just 0.4% of AIPAC's budget, the US Campaign works tirelessly to challenge U.S. military aid to Israel, providing an umbrella and a channel for more than 350 member organizations.

Think how much we could do with just a few dollars more. Won't you click here to donate?

Here's just a taste of the work of the US Campaign:
We provide a strategic framework for local groups to run effective campaigns, and move their work from the local to the national level. Member groups throughout the country use the US Campaign as a platform to communicate and cooperate.

We create valuable resources for our member groups and 50,000+ supporters -- check out the Aid to Israel map that lets you organize with others to tell your elected representatives exactly how many of your community's tax dollars are going to military aid to Israel, and how you would rather spend them at home.

We organize grassroots training and advocacy days so that members and supporters can lobby their elected representatives for a different policy -- the US Campaign's National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner led yesterday's "Move Over AIPAC" workshop on ending military aid to Israel (see photo at right). And watch this space for the launch of our new city council campaign -- Fund Community Needs -- in June!

We challenge the discourse through well-placed op-eds, including by our staff, Steering Committee and Advisory Board members. Check out these three pieces in The Hill last week: by Josh Ruebner, Phyllis Bennis and Nadia Hijab.
Israel's intransigent prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, will again be standing against history and in the face of peace and justice when he addresses Congress today. We know what he's going to say. As Israel expands its racist laws against its Palestinian citizens, escalates its apartheid treatment of Palestinians under occupation, ramps up its colonization of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, prevents Palestinian refugees from going home, and keeps Gaza under siege, we can -- and must -- do so much more.

Last weekend shows how far our movement has come and how much stronger we are. We already do so much with so little. Won't you help us to do more? Donate now!

Make our voice even stronger and our actions more powerful. Donate now!

With thanks and solidarity,

Felicia Eaves & Phyllis Bennis

Monday, May 23, 2011

Move Over AIPAC Flashmob (D.C. Union Station)

This was added to YouTube two days ago...

Tell Obama to get out of bed with AIPAC!

President Obama will address AIPAC at their annual policy conference Sunday, May 22, after meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu. Outraged that Obama is pandering to AIPAC? Tell him what you think of the Israel Lobby and what's really needed for a lasting just peace in the region!

Help us get to our goal of 5,000 petitions to deliver to the White House.

Plus, take action in person by joining us in DC on Sunday morning for a rally outside the AIPAC conference while Obama speaks. See Move Over AIPAC full schedule and sign up to join us!

Hava nagila,
Hava nagila
Hava nagila
Va nisma cha

Hava nagila,
Hava nagila
Hava nagila
Va nisma cha

"Hey! AIPAC is meeting"

AIPAC is meeting
We have a greeting
Cuz they're not speaking
For any of us

Justice is dying
AIPAC is lying
Lies we're not buying
No No No!

AIPAC doesn't speak for me
Apartheid's not my cup of tea
Palestine to Tripoli
We want democracy

Buying Congress with their cash
All opposing views they bash
Can't have them talking trash
No No No!

Move! Move!
Move over AIPAC!

Move over your weapon hawking
Move over your racist talking
Move over we're freedom seeking
Move over cuz we are speaking
Move over move over
For a free Palestine

Move Over AIPAC from Home!

CODEPINK is a coalition member of the US Campaign.
May 21, 2011
This weekend has been an epic coming together of the movement for justice in Palestine to
say: Move Over AIPAC!  We held an exciting and thought-provoking counter-conference, took action in the street to protest AIPAC, and had a ton of fun doing it! Just see this great video of our Move Over AIPAC flashmob action in Union Station. You can join Move Over AIPAC from afar by joining the culture-jamming of the official AIPAC hashtag, #AIPAC2011.  Will you tweet the truth about AIPAC? We are asking activists who oppose AIPAC's divisive tactics to use the hashtags #AIPAC2011 today and tomorrow to help get out the word about AIPAC's illegal practices. Click below to tweet now!


Suggested sample tweets are below. You can CUT & PASTE, or write your own. Make sure you include the #hasthags. If you click on the links below the sample tweets, you can tweet automatically from your Twitter account.

 New video of awesome @MoveOverAIPAC flashmob in DC's Union Station #bds #AIPAC2011 Click to tweet:
 #AIPAC2011 Mobilizing fear, escalating hate, and assuring the destruction of what they claim to love. @MoveOverAIPAC Click to tweet:
 Rabbis, Palestinians, Activists Staged Die-In Outside #AIPAC2011 Conference, 1 Arrest as @BarackObama drove by Click to tweet:
 Signs @moveoveraipac demo: Be on our side. We are on the side of peace and justice. End US Military Aid to Israel! #AIPAC2011 Click to tweet:
 AIPAC chief Rosenberg said "This Congress is the most Pro-Israel in history." WE SAY: Move Over AIPAC #AIPAC2011 Click to tweet:
 RT @codepinkalert Tell @BarackObama to get out of bed with #AIPAC2011 and stop funding Israeli war crimes! Click to tweet:
 @CODEPINKalert activist with banner at #AIPAC2011 protest: Obama, Stop Enabling Israeli Occupation #RightOn Click to tweet:
 RT @MoveOverAIPAC #AIPAC2011 goers watch the AIPAC protest from their windows Click to tweet:

Culture Jamming WORKS!!
This month's online action flooded the #AHAVAreborn contest with messages based in reality instead of a beauty myth.  Maureen Murphy reported on the Electronic Intifada: “So many people have responded to this call that I can’t see any tweets that AREN’T about BDS and Israel’s rights abuses when searching #AHAVAreborn on Twitter. AHAVA is having an increasingly hard time covering up its human rights blemishes.” Thanks for helping to highlight the injustices that AIPAC participates in.

Onward for #Justice,
Sasha, Jean, Nancy, Medea, Shaden, Alli, Rae, Brian, and CODEPINK's Move Over AIPAC Team  

Friday, May 20, 2011

How Flash Mobs and Lady Gaga are Energizing Protests for Palestine

Today's Alternet article on BDS Flash Mobs features US Campaign member groups St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, Adalah-NY, and CodePink, illustrating "how enthusiasm and new media can drum up power."

By Kiera Feldman
May 19, 2011

BDS Flash mob in New York's Grand Central Station. Photo: Bud Korotzer.
Not long before Christmas, in a Best Buy in a St. Louis mall, 86-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein performed a synchronized song-and-dance number to the tune of “Telephone,” rocking black pants and a turtleneck in lieu of Lady Gaga's metal-studded bra and crotch cover. Epstein, along with a cohort of mostly young women, urged the bewildered holiday shoppers to “hang up on Motorola,” a company that sells Israel surveillance equipment used in the Occupation. "Aiding in apartheid and being sneaky/tell us what you're doing with your technology," they sang.

On YouTube, the Lady Gaga parody became something of an instant classic in a small but burgeoning activist video genre. “I had always wanted to be a part of a flash mob,” explained coordinator and co-lyricist/choreographer Banan Ead, a 32-year-old Palestinian-American, remembering the fad’s heyday a good half-decade ago.

Flash mobs were the pre-YouTube brainchild of former Harper’s editor Bill Wasik. In June 2003, an email invite brought 200 people to a Manhattan Macy’s, where they converged around a giant carpet, telling clerks they lived together in a commune and were shopping for a “love rug.” Soon, flash mobs were like Starbucks: everywhere. Wasik had set out to make a grand joke of hipster conformity, calling his creation “an empty meditation on emptiness.” While the original flash mob was essentially an apolitical situation comedy, today it is enjoying a revival as a movement builder.

The cause is Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS), a non-violent, Palestinian-led movement inspired by the campaign against Apartheid South Africa. Launched in 2005 by a call from Palestinian civil society groups, in the wake of the 2008-2009 assault on Gaza, BDS is gaining traction both globally and within Israel.