For everyone who's ever used a face cream, anti-wrinkle treatment, "bath bomb" or body "butter" -- did you ever think that while performing your daily beautification rituals, you might actually be supporting Hamas and its sympathizers?
Well, if you use a brand of high-end spa products by a company called LUSH, you are.
Some may not have ever heard of the luxury cosmetics company Lush, but on the hip streets of Soho, West Hollywood, South Beach and Mayfair in London, the boutique soap-pusher has become a household name. Billed as a purveyor of "fresh, handmade" cosmetics, Lush's products promise to pamper you head to toe with luxurious all natural lotions, soaps, bath gels, lipsticks, shampoos and perfumes.
Seems innocent enough, right? Think twice.
It turns out British-born Lush supports a number of far-left causes -- spun on its website as "ethical campaigns" -- running the gamut from: global warming to oil spills; gay marriage to a "no one is illegal" campaign; to advancing the fight against nuclear energy. All polarizing issues that carry an inherit risk of alienating customers -- but when Lush announced its support for the anti-Israel, jihadi sympathizing OneWorld campaign -- the company's foray into the murky waters of the Israeli Palestinian conflict went beyond the pale.
With a reported $350 million in annual revenue (some reports even say $500 million) and locations in over 40 countries, Lush's far-reach and influence cannot easily be dismissed.
You might remember OneWorld -- the group started by various recording artists whose stated aim is to "free Palestine" from its Israeli "oppressors." With the help of well-known music group Coldplay, OneWorld launched a song titled "Freedom for Palestine." The pro-Palestinian song pushes a revisionist narrative, which paints Israel as "illegal occupiers" committing "crimes against humanity."
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/V28HnPTYz-I?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]
The fact that West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem are territories under dispute and not in fact "illegally occupied," -- and that the charge of Israel committing "crimes against humanity" is erroneous -- doesn't seem to be of consequence to OneWorld and its supporters.
Lush's website even hosts a separate section just for the OneWorld campaign. Below is a screenshot of the dedicated page:
Lush's OneWorld page featuring the following statement:
This month we have the exciting opportunity to help secure a UK chart position for a song called 'Freedom for Palestine' by a collective of musicians called OneWorld. The aim of the song is to raise awareness of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the resulting poverty and other human rights abuses.
Still, despite outraged customers requesting Lush to sever ties with OneWorld, Lush's crusade to "free the Palestinians" continues. After receiving a written complaint from a former customer and blogger who found the company's anti-Israel bend repugnant, Lush stuck to its guns and continued to vilify Israel in a written response. Below is reportedly Lush's reply written by "customer care manager" Vicky Jansson.
Chock-full of historical inaccuracies, this is a perfect example of what happens when a cosmetic company believes itself to be a think tank on foreign policy:
Thank you for your email. I'm sorry to hear you're disappointed with Lush's support for the OneWorld project. The history between Israel and Palestine is long, complicated and often under dispute. However, what is very clear is the level of suffering occurring today, in part due to the construction of the wall which is cutting Palestinian people off from vital health services and has dramatically increased poverty in the area. History does not excuse such suffering. It will take both sides to come to a solution, but what is also clear is that this is not a conflict of two equal sides and thus the onus must be on the dominating force, Israel.
Jansson then goes on to liken Palestinian's experience to the long suffering plight of Tibetans. She failed to leave out the fact that Tibetans do not mobilize terror squads, spawn suicide bombers, or lob rockets into civilian population centers in neighboring China.
Perhaps most hypocritical is Lush's involvement in human rights campaigns for both gays and women, given that both communities suffer unspeakable persecution in the Muslim world. Out of the 40 countries Lush has a presence in, Israel is not one of them, yet Saudi Arabia -- where women aren't even allowed to show their face let alone make it more attractive with cosmetics -- found a place in Lush's heart.
Conversely, Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, recently hosted its own gay pride parade and consistently elects women to the highest ranking offices in the land. One doubts the possibility of ever seeing that occur in Gaza or West Bank.
The blogger who originally complained to Lush and broke the story online might have summed it up best in a reply to Jansson. Below is a brief excerpt:
...it is clear that the people at Lush have absolutely no understanding about it [the history between Israel and Palestine], because they have accepted the narrative of political activists whose objective is nothing less than the destruction of the Jewish State. Have you ever thought about the possibility that almost every piece of information being promoted by those people is a lie? Have you, or any of your Lush colleagues ever been to Israel (and I don’t include trips to the ‘West Bank’ under the protection of anti-Israel groups) and spent time with Israelis? Clearly not, because if any of them had they will know that the narrative presented on the Lush website is a total lie.
Interestingly enough, Lush might now be trying to conceal its support for OneWorld -- perhaps after dismayed customers contacted the company about its dubious world-view and affiliations. The OneWorld page, which first featured prominently on Lush's site, is now rather difficult to find -- slipping inconspicuously to the very bottom of a laundry list of other Lush-sponsored causes. In a passive-aggressive way, Lush doesn't seem to want to give up OneWorld, but on the flip-side, doesn't necessarily want to shout its support from the rooftops either. Is Lush trying to downplay its controversial ties in order to mislead unsuspecting customers?
Below is a video about Lush's "ethical campaigns" featured on the company's site:
For the record, Lush has dozens of stores in the U.S. Here is a list of all their U.S. locations.