The New York Times ran an article on a store that was created by Kenneth and Elisheva Blum, American-Born Israelis living in the Samarian town of Eli (what the international community terms the West Bank).
The Blums launched Boutique Katom in 2009 in response to calls to boycott Jewish businesses in Judea and Samaria. Boutique Katom sells artwork from residents of Judea and Samaria.
The Blums also run Dapei Katom, a business directory of businesses in Judea and Samaria. The revenue from Boutique Katom is put toward Dapei Katom to encourage more investment into the businesses of Judea and Samaria.
The New York Times article did not mention the name of Blum’s store in their article, instead focusing on the Blums as “settlers”.
While it was exciting that the Times chose to feature Boutique Katom, it was discouraging that the journalist was too focused on the politics to answer a simple question that most readers probably had, of where to find the store.
A well known actress, Scarlett Johansson, recently signed on to be the spokeswoman for SodaStream (an Israeli company that operates in Maale Adumim, a community that the international community considers in the “West Bank”). Although SodaStream’s factory employs Palestinians and pays their workers five times more than Palestinian owned factories, Scarlett Johansson has been a target for attack for her involvement with the company.
Is it impossible for someone to do something in Israel or for Israel without the New York Times and other media outlets making it political, using language like “occupation” and “West Bank,” and having little regard for the actual facts on the ground?
With their store, the Blums have taken the conversation about Judea and Samaria into their own hands. They are fighting a battle to be defined as human beings, as artists, while the New York Times refuses to acknowledge their success.
On the project, Elisheva Blum says, “The message for our children is, you see something wrong, you fix it,” she said. “We saw a boycott, we see injustice, then you do something about it. Even if it’s just one little baby step” (source: NYT). The Blums’ ability to look into the face of the world and fight back against the injustice of the boycotts on Israel is proof that even if the New York Times doesn’t recognize it, there are still people out there who do the right thing.
Contributed by CAMERA Intern Lindsey Rivka Liron Cohen.
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