To: The President and board of directors of the Sanrio company,
We are a group of Israeli citizens. We support the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel's policies. We find it deeply regrettable that your company has decided to cooperate with Israeli franchiser Leader Brands and open a Hello Kitty store in Givatayim, followed by the opening of stores in other Israeli cities. Your decision comes at a time when Israel intensifies its brutal occupation and apartheid policies against Palestinians, while ignoring hundreds of the UN resolutions.
One of the main reasons why the opening of your stores in Israel rewards Israel's apartheid policies is very simple: Palestinians who are living under Israeli military occupation are not even allowed to enter the cities in which you plan to open your stores!
Mobility in the West Bank is just one of the examples which illustrate the contrast between 'business as usual' in Givatayim (or Tel Aviv) and apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). Israel's human-rights abuses against Palestinians go much further than this: violent nightly incursions into Palestinian villages, systematic arrests of children as young as 11, the killing of non-violent demonstrators – these are not isolated occurrences of atrocities, they are the infrastructure of a system of oppression, practically unaffected by any criticism or international rulings that demand changes.
Israel's violations of human rights have been documented by the UN and respected human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Oxfam, and recognized as unlawful by international judicial bodies. The necessity in steady substantial pressure on Israel has also been highlighted in a recent report by 21 human rights organizations in regard to ensuring "an immediate, unconditional, and complete lifting of the blockade” of Gaza, where Israel implements a policy of “deliberate reduction” for basic goods – using mathematical formulas to measure the amount of food sufficient to keep Gaza inhabitants alive at a near-malnutrition level; allowing in an average of less than a third of the needed goods.
Israel practices and legalizes racism and ethnic cleansing which should not accepted by the international community anymore. International pressure is much needed against Israeli policies, just as it was once needed against South Africa. We were please when last year, Japanese company Ryohin Keikaku listened to our request, as well requests from all over the world, and decided not to open branches in Israel.
In the past, Japanese companies used to pursue extensive business relations with South African companies while that country was under UN economic sanctions, and this wrongful conduct was criticized severely. We sincerely wish that you will not be dishonored by being the first Japanese company to have a chain stores in apartheid Israel.
Above all, please listen to the voice of Palestinians who are struggling to gain basic rights and dignity as human beings and asking for an end to a history of Israel impunity for racism, occupation and apartheid.
We strongly urge you to reconsider the plan to open a Hello Kitty store in Israel !
We would appreciate a response from you on this matter.
Sincerely on behalf of BfW
Dr. Dorothy Naor