No Love on Valentine’s: Palestine Activists protest Lavan’s Tainted Love

Palestinian rights activists took to the streets of Vancouver on Sunday, February 12, 2012 for an early Valentine’s Day greeting to Lavan Vancouver, bringing hearts, balloons, flowers – and the Apartheid Wall of No Love.

Lavan, the skin care and soap store that boasts of carrying all Israeli products, notes that its name, Hebrew for “white,” “was chosen to represent purity and cleanliness but also to bring Canada and Israel together with the color the two countries share on their flag.” This was the third picket of the store by the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign
 (boycottisraeliapartheid.org) and allied activists. Lavan has festooned its store with Valentine’s Day decorations and promotions, including a “Wall of Love” on which it invites customers to write.

Of course, for a store that sells all Israeli products, the “Wall” carries a different meaning – a meaning of separation, segregation, land-theft and dispossession. “Shame, Lavan, Shame – no apartheid in love’s name!” “Justice for Palestine! Justice on Valentine’s!” Protesters chanted Valentine’s chants and serenaded Lavan their own version of “Tainted Love” (See lyrics) as they carried signs adorned with hearts, flowers, and ribbons and balloons, distributing flyers and candy to passers-by.

Three buzzards of occupation made an appearance overhead, carrying Lavan’s “Apartheid-Tainted Love” in their beaks and claws, and even the notorious Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman made an appearance in puppet form with the Puppet Liberation Front.

The “Apartheid Wall of No Love” dominated the sidewalk in front of the store, drawing attention to the sharp distinction between the aura of luxury promoted by Lavan – and the real cost of their “secrets from the Dead Sea” for Palestinians.

Marking those real costs of occupation and apartheid, picketers honoured Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, currently on hunger strike for 57 days, with real love, calling for his freedom. Khader Adnan is held without charge by the Israeli military, and has been on hunger strike since his arbitrary detention, protesting torture and abuse. Hunger strikers face dangers of organ failure after the 50th day, and Khader Adnan is currently in hospital, shackled to his bed, and continuing to resist.

The protest was not announced prior to the event, but Lavan summoned police immediately upon the activists’ arrival; the Vancouver Police Department showed up in four police cars. While the police were in the store talking to Lavan, a Lavan supporter or staff member came out of the store, grabbed the Apartheid Wall and attempted to drag it off inside the store. The VPD told protesters the Wall would have to remain further out on the sidewalk, so as to not “block the display” in Lavan’s window.

While the police lectured protesters about “constructive engagement,” activists insisted that the police must instead return to the store and address the only person engaged in any form of violence or vandalism. That individual continued to periodically exit the store during the protest to photograph and swear at picketers.

Activists from the Canada Palestine AssociationSamidoun, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid and other community groups joined the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign for the protest – as did the puppets (and their people) from the Puppet Liberation Front.

While Israeli companies like Lavan benefit from the minerals of the Dead Sea, Palestinians from the illegally Israeli-occupied West Bank have been denied access to the northern Dead Sea’s beaches and minerals for over a decade. The Palestinian people, living under occupation and apartheid and in exile, have called for a global campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against all Israeli goods, products, and institutions. Protesters planned to keep spreading the word about Lavan’s apartheid-“Tainted Love.”

For more information or to get involved, please visit the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign at http://boycottisraeliapartheid.org/.

Video:
http://youtu.be/eGnbyVHeiCw

Photos: https://picasaweb.google.com/108372588540838322157/NoLoveForIsraeliApartheidValentineSDayLavanPicketFeb122012

Story at the Vancouver Media Co-op:http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/no-love-valentines-palestine-activists-protest-lavans-tainted-love/9902

“Tainted Love” alternate lyrics

Sometimes we feel we’ve got to
Run away
We’ve got to
Get away
From the pain Lavan drives into the heart of us
We know you don’t care
We’re not going anywhere
and we’re here to fight
we don’t know how you sleep at night

(chorus)
Once people ran to you (we ran)
Now They’ll run from you
these tainted soaps you’ve given
gave you all apartheid could give
Taking lives and that’s not nearly all
Tainted love
Whoa oh oh
Tainted love

Now we know, we’ve got to
Run away
We’ve got to
Get away
You don’t really want any more from us
To make things right
You think apartheid is alright
And it may be valentine’s day
But we’re sorry
we don’t play that way

(chorus…)
Once people ran to you (we ran)
Now They’ll run from you
these tainted soaps you’ve given
gave you all apartheid could give
Taking lives and that’s not nearly all
Tainted love
Whoa oh oh
Tainted love

Don’t touch me pleaseeee (stretch last word)
Boycott will bring victorieees (stretch last word)
and lavan will be
first to go
So You should pack your bags and go
Tainted love,
Whoa oh oh
Tainted love
Whoa oh oh
Tainted love
Tainted love
don’t Touch my baby,
don’t touch my baby,
tainted love (x2)

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