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Occupation magazine - Activism

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Philly BDS

By Philly BDS


Philadelphia, 14 February 2011. The Philadelphia campaign to
boycott two popular snack foods that fund Israeli human rights abuses
in occupied Palestine took new steps today to pressure a local
supermarket chain to `de-shelve` Sabra Hummus and Tribe Hummus. In a
videotaped `direct action for Valentines Day, five members of the
Philadelphia Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Coalition delivered
over a hundred hand-crafted and hand-written valentine cards to
Patrick Burns, CEO of the Fresh Grocer stores, at the chains Drexel
Hill corporate offices. The visit was filmed by the group, which has
said it will make the videotape available on YouTube and other
websites within the next several days and expects it to be seen

In October, members of `Philly BDS` surprised customers and employees
of the Fresh Grocer`s flagship store at 40th and Walnut Streets near
the University of Pennsylvania by staging a `flash dance` in which
they sang and danced to a tune by Lady Gaga with lyrics adapted to
their boycott message. The videotape of that action has now been
viewed by more than 67,000 people worldwide, inspiring similar flash
dance actions in cities from St. Louis to Tel Aviv. Following the
Philly BDS lead, campaigns to boycott Sabra and Tribe Hummus are
currently being planned on university campuses and in several cities
around the United States.

The Valentine-themed event began at a silent art auction and
fundraising dance party entitled Make Love Not War, which was held
by the group last Friday evening in West Philadelphia. In addition to
dancing and dressing up for photographs taken in an on-site kissing
booth, party attendees bid on crafts, paintings, collectible posters,
photographs and other donated art work. Most also found a few minutes
at an oversized crafts table to make personalized cards using red
construction paper, bits of paper doilies, glitter and glue provided
by Philly BDS. `Dear Mr. Burns, Please spread love, not apartheid
hummus,` read one of the cards handmade by a party-goer who supports
the Sabra and Tribe Hummus boycott but otherwise has not been part of
the local campaign to support human rights of Palestinians. Other
hand-crafted cards called on Fresh Grocer to `Cmon and Be Our
Valentine, Support Human Rights in Palestine.`

After delivering the large basket of valentine cards to Mr. Burns in
Drexel Hill on Monday afternoon, the activists returned to West
Philadelphia where they joined a large crowd of boycott supporters
sporting the groups signature red sequined headbands in front of the
Fresh Grocer store on Walnut Street. Buoyed by their afternoon love
caravan, they distributed valentine candy with cards describing the
Sabra and Tribe boycott campaign to shoppers and passers-by. Were
in this campaign for the long haul, said Evan Hoffman, whose face
poked through a tall red cardboard heart. We will do what it takes
to make sure that our message of love for the people of Palestine
stays visible and that Fresh Grocer knows were serious about getting
Sabra and Tribe out of their stores. We believed Fresh Grocer when
they said they cared about human rights and community now we want
the corporation to live up to its word.

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