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Lebanese protest against Estee Lauder's support of Israel

By Reuters
August 9, 2002

BEIRUT - About 100 people protested outside a Lebanese department store on Friday to demand it stop carrying cosmetics made by Estee Lauder, accusing the U.S.-based company of supporting Israel.

The protesters waved Lebanese and Palestinian flags, shook their fists, and told passers-by not to spend money at the store in downtown Beirut.

"Estee Lauder's presence represents normalization with the Zionist enemy," a banner read.

"We don't want pro-Israeli companies here in our city," said one protester, a mathematics teacher. "They can go where they want, to hell, but not here."

Boycott organisers said they have singled out the company because of Estee Lauder International chairman Ron Lauder's public support for Israel.

Activists have urged boycotts of businesses and products they consider backers of Israel, as well as some U.S. brands, arguing consumers must do what they can to counter U.S. support for Israel's attempt to crush a 22-month Palestinian uprising.

The call has persuaded some Lebanese to shun brands they deem American, but has unnerved some Lebanese owners of U.S. franchises who have taken out advertisements to stress their profits stay in Lebanon and do not back Israel.

Inside the Aishti department store where Estee Lauder products were displayed prominently on shelves just inside the door, employees ignored the protesters, quietly chatting.

"We are carrying international products," Aishti chairman Tony Salame said. "We deal with listed companies. We don't know who is behind them."

Some 350,000 Palestinian refugees are listed as residents of a dozen refugee camps in Lebanon.


For more information of the Estee Lauder Boycott see: