Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Human Amway Plot? More chain letters from Israel?

Isracard Threatens Gush Shalom with Lawsuit

The ad published in Haaretz by Gush Shalom on June 12 created a firestorm:
ISRACARD sends its clients
Holiday gift vouchers for
“A day of fun”
For “the entire family”.

In the "City of David Park"
Run by “Elad”.

Elad is an organization
Of extreme rightwing settlers
Whose aim is “to Judaize Jerusalem."
Its members live in the heart of Silwan
In the homes from which
Palestinian families
Were removed.

You can reach Isracard by fax 03-6364262

Help to pay for our activities and ads
By sending checks to
Gush Shalom, P.O.Box 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033,
Gush Shalom 972-3-5221732

Now the Isracard Company has threatened to sue Gush Shalom Company Directors

Gush Shalom says Isracard violated basic norms by promoting extreme right settlers. Isracard also implicated “Mastercard” in International Law violations.

The credit card company “Isracard” reacted sharply to the public protest initiatedby Gush Shalom. This morning Gush Shalom spokesperson Adam Keller received an angry fax from Ayala Tidhar and Orit Hangali of the Isracard Marketing & Foreign Relations Section, who complained that, “The activities of Gush Shalom is causing us great damage.” Rani Rahav, the Isracard public relations director, phoned Keller and threatened to sue Gush Shalom. All this followed upon the public protest,in Israel and abroad, against Isracard sending to its customers a gift coupon for‘a family outing’ at the ‘City of David National Park’ which is run by extreme right settlers in East Jerusalem.

“It is a bit surprising to hear that we are supposedly ‘causing great damage’to the Isracard Company “ said Adam Keller. “How come one e-mail message to our list of supporters would cause so much damage to one of the biggest companies in the Israeli economy? It would be good for them to consider if the damage was caused by us, or perhaps by the truth about them which we have uncovered.”

In its answer to the Isracard Company, Gush Shalom stated: “Indeed, the site known as ‘The City of David National Park’, just outside the Old City of Jerusalem,officially belongs to the National Reserves and Parks Authority, a supposedly neutral body. But this is in no way enough to whitewash Isracard’s involvement with the place. It is well known that the administration of the place in practice has been transferred to the settler association Elad – a body which has a clear political and ideological identity on the extreme right side of the spectrum.The Elad people are openly and explicitly promoting the aim of “Judaizing (East)Jerusalem” – not simply by talking but also by constant and intensive activity,creating ‘facts on the ground’, dispossessing Palestinian inhabitants andviolating International Law.

Isracard cannot wash its hands of the nefarious settler activity by claiming that this is ‘a governmental site.’ In Israel, as in many other countries, acompany must tell consumers what is the nature of the product or service which it is offering for sale. Isracard is not at liberty to offer its customers ‘entertainment for the entire family’ at a park run by extreme right people, without disclosingthat, once arriving there, the customers would be exposed to extreme right propaganda.

If Isracard goes through with the threat of judicial proceedings against us we won’t be afraid. We have available plenty of testimonies and witnesses regarding the ‘City of David National Park’ – what it is, who runs it and how,what kind of ‘guidance’ is given to visitors and what is the political slant of that ‘guidance’.
The gift coupon sent by Isracard to its customers includes the name and logo of MasterCard, an international company conducting world-wide business. Despite their extensive and long-standing business relationship, Isracard did not bother to let MasterCard know of the use made of its name and reputation in promoting extremist settlers who violate International Law. We in Gush Shalom decided to fill the vacancy and inform the MasterCard directors, with the help of our friends abroad.

Meanwhile, there is a continuing wave of protest messages sent by Israeli peace activists to the Isracard offices and by Americans and Europeans to MasterCard.

Adam Keller, Gush Shalom Spokesperson, +972-506-709603