Lush Cosmetics: a Case Study in Hypocrisy
The popular multinational handmade cosmetics company known as Lush loves to portray itself as an upstanding corporate citizen, allying itself with all sorts of feel-good causes and social movements. It boycotts Israel, supports extremist animal rights groups and now the latest: a campaign to attack Canada's oil sands development, which Lush has labelled "the most destructive project on Earth."
You're probably asking yourself – as I did – how a soap company has the authority to get involved in a Canadian energy project, particularly when it has no specific expertise in the field and no hard facts to support its public relations crusade.
If you haven't heard about Lush and its holier-than-thou moral crusades, you should – because a close examination of its record lays bare a stunning lack of consistency, and hypocrisy of the highest degree. Lush has no authority to give ethical lectures to anyone.
Aside from the boycott of Canadian oil, Lush has participated in the Palestinian Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions campaign against Israel for the past six years. The company said in July that it wanted "everyone in the country where we are trading to be on an equal footing as far as basic human rights go."
As noted by Shiraz Maher in an earlier article, this statement is false. Israel is unfairly categorized as an unequal state even though it is the only democracy in the Middle East.
And even if true, why has Lush opened stores in Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka – two very "unequal" states with disastrous human rights records? Lush hasn't attack Saudi Arabia for not letting women drive cars or for jailing homosexuals. Lush didn't criticize Sri Lanka when the government ethnically cleansed about 20,000 Tamils, either.
It is the same hypocrisy at play with their campaign against Canadian oil. The oil sands project is a concrete step toward reducing dependence on foreign oil from corrupt, oppressive regimes – a liberation from supporting tyrants that Americans need and want.
Canada currently provides 20% of America's oil supply (nearly a million barrels a day) -- and it could supply more from the oil sands going forward. Denigration of the project puts that hope at risk and merely helps continue the reliance on serial human rights violators such as Saudi Arabia, as Alykhan Velshi, founder of the Web site Ethicaloil.org, has pointed out. Similar to the folks at Amnesty International, Lush seems to attack Canada simply because it is open and transparent – in other words, an easy target.
Lush knows that few people will speak out against what they are doing, and that nary a peep of pushback is likely to come from the Canadian government. As a result, Lush will continue to look good in the eyes of feel-good, save-the-planet-type consumers who feel they are buying from a benevolent organization rather than a giant, rich corporation. The outcome is more profits for Middle Easterm oligarchs as gullible customers flock to buy Lush products.
Lush has to be held accountable and demand answers. When confronted with the EthicalOil.org charge of hypocrisy, Sean Gifford, Lush's "campaign manager," answered that the company is concerned about women's rights in the Middle East but that it is prevented from speaking out because of the Kingdom's restrictions on free speech. How principled.
Whether intentional or not, Gifford exposed something important in that response: if a country has restrictions on free speech, Lush will not say a word. They will open stores anyway, so long as it is profitable. There is nothing wrong with a company trying to make more money, of course. But it is unacceptable when that same company is castigating Canada and Israel for being open and honest and at the same time, turning a blind eye to the Saudis and other human rights violators.
The Lush hypocrisy doesn't stop there. It also supports Plane Stupid, an anti-air travel group -- yet Mark Constantine, the company's co-founder and CEO, flies on planes and Lush has several stores in airport terminals.
People of conscience who care about human rights and respect for women ought to do the exact opposite of what Lush preaches – support the development of the oil sands and, most importantly: stop buying their products.
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by Khaled Abu Toameh
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Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in the Gaza trip were under the false impression that it was all about improving living conditions for the Palestinians by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
To understand the true intention of Hamas and its allies, it is sufficient to follow the statements made by their leaders after the cease-fire announcement this week. To his credit, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas's leader, has never concealed Hamas's desire to destroy Israel.
Hamas and its allies see the war in the Gaza Strip as part of there strategy to destroy Israel. What Hamas and its allies are actually saying is, "Give us open borders and an airport and seaport so we can use them to prepare for the next was against Israel."
by Burak Bekdil
A front-page headline was particularly revealing: They (Israel) bombed a mosque in Gaza! Including the exclamation mark!
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Why did we not hear one single Turkish voice protest the death of 300,000 Muslims in Darfur?
Hamas's Charter is must-read fun.
by Bassam Tawil
What is sad is that the Gazans have not yet been able to free themselves from the yoke of Hamas.
The world seems not to understand that Hamas, like ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, does not exist in a vacuum. It is one cog in the radical Islamist wheel that threatens the Arab and Muslim world and the major cities of Europe.
The Western world also seems not to understand that it has to incapacitate or totally neutralize the countries funding terrorism, such as Iran, Qatar and Turkey, for whom the Palestinian problem is only a pretext on the way to destroying the Western world as we know it and replacing it with only Islam.
by Burak Bekdil
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri said: "All Israelis are legitimate targets." What would the Palestinian death toll have been if Mr. Netanyahu's spokesman declared all Palestinians as legitimate targets?
Underdog-nation romanticism tells us Israel should not respond when under rocket attack because it is capable of intercepting the rockets.
That there are fewer Israeli casualties does not mean Hamas does not want to kill; it just means, for the moment, Hamas cannot kill.
by Soeren Kern
Austria figures prominently in a map produced by the IS that outlines the group's five-year plan for expanding its caliphate into Europe, and has emerged as a central hub for jihadists seeking to fight in Syria.
"The spectrum of recruits for the conflict in Syria is ethnically diverse. The motivation, however, appears to be uniformly jihadist." — Austrian intelligence agency BVT.
"Allah also gives you the opportunity to wage jihad in Austria." — Austrian jihadist Firas Houidi.
"We are proud that Allah has chosen us. We feel like lions." — Austrian jihadist Abu Hamza al-Austria.