By Niomke Friedman
Six activists in New York City dropped a banner from the balcony of the Union Square branch of the Israeli-owned chocolate chain Max Brenner in the middle of late morning crowds. The bedsheet-sized banner read “SIEGE ON GAZA ISN’T SWEET: BOYCOTT BRENNER.”
Israel has refused to allow chocolate and sweets, among many other commonplace items, into Gaza, claiming that they present a security threat. Max Brenner is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Strauss Group, Israel’s second-largest food conglomerate, and boasts on its web page of its support and “adoption” of the Golani and Givaati Brigades of the Israeli army. Both the Golani and the Givaati Brigades have historically been associated with numerous violations of human rights.
“We know the chocolate ban is not the most egregious human rights violation,” said banner-dropped Niomke Friedman. “But it illustrates the absurdity of Israel’s claim that the brutal seige on Gaza serves a legitimate security claim.”
The action was part of a wave of solidarity actions taking place around the US and throughout the world as the Free Gaza Coalition’s flotilla of eight boats bearing thousands of tons of eight and over 800 civilian sails toward Gaza. Israel’s defense minister Ehud Barak has stated that the Israeli navy will block entry, reinforcing Israel’s illegal blockade on Gaza’s waters..
As part of Israel’s brutal three-year long siege on Gaza, many basic items have been denied to Palestinians including canned fruit, jam, and chocolate.
During Israel’s recent massacre in Gaza, a Ha’aretz article reported that the Golani platoon operated “in the sector in which the [Israel Defence Force] has seen the toughest battles with Hamas, the eastern part of Gaza City”. They have also been implicated in massacres in the Jenin and Tul Karm refugee camps and the siege on Yasser Arafat’s Muqata compound in Ramallah.
For video and photos of today’s action click here: