Hand Carved in Bethlehem, Israel?
This holiday season Neiman Marcus stores across the United States are selling olive wood nativity scenes made by Palestinians in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. That’s great, but there is one big caveat: Neiman Marcus is purposely misrepresenting the origin of these products by labeling them as “Hand Carved in Bethlehem, Israel.”
US Customs regulations are clear: products made in the West Bank must be labeled as such. It is a violation of these regulations to mislabel them as being “Made in Israel” and a company which tries to pass off goods made in the West Bank as being “Made in Israel” can be fined a percentage of the imported values.
This egregious mislabeling of a Palestinian product by Neiman Marcus is cultural appropriation of the worst kind, exploiting skilled, Palestinian artisanal labor and trying to pass it off as being Israeli. By doing this, Neiman Marcus is also normalizing Israel’s decades-long occupation and control of Palestinian land and even encouraging its illegal annexation, which is a deliberate effort to whitewash the continued denial of Palestinian rights.
With the height of shopping season upon us, call Neiman Marcus now and demand they fix the labeling. You can call 888-888-4757, then press 1 or 2 to speak to an associate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you don’t get through to someone the first time you call, then redial and just press the option you didn’t try.
Here’s a sample script:
I am calling today to ask Neiman Marcus stop mislabeling Palestinian made nativity scenes being sold in your stores. The labels placed on these products say “Hand Carved in Bethlehem, Israel.” Bethlehem is a Palestinian city located in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, not Israel. By mislabeling these products, Neiman Marcus is contributing to Israeli efforts to normalize its brutal military occupation of Palestinian lands as well as violating US federal regulations that require such products be labeled as made in the West Bank. I urge you, in order to maintain the trust and credibility you have with your customers, to fix the label immediately.
If the representative asks for an item number, please reference SKU #35851704.
And after you’ve called Neiman Marcus to protest, please take a minute file a trade violation complaint with US Customs and Border Protection by clicking here. (The information you need to file the complaint can be found in the screenshot below. Click here on or on the screenshot for a larger version of the image.)
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