Surprise! It’s your anti-BDS ‘gift’ box of Israeli-made products
Protesters are seen at a BDS protest. (AFP/File)
You might have heard of Birchbox, which sends subscribers a new selection of beauty products each month, or Bark Box, a monthly delivery of dog treats. But in response to the internationial Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Israeli businessman Omri Akunis started iBox, a "surprise box" of Israeli-made products delivered to customers' homes.
The global BDS campaign - which aims to put pressure on the Israeli occupation by boycotting products made in Israel, divesting from companies on illegal settlements, and not attending events like concerts and academic lectures - has picked up momentum in recent years.
“In recent years we witness ostracism by movements and countries which result in boycotting products manufactured in Israel,” Akunis told the Jerusalem Post.
Most notably, SodaStream recently closed down its factory that was located on a West Bank settlement, moving its operations into Israel. And Ahava, a Dead Sea cosmetics brand recently shuttered a London store following BDS protests.
The iBox company plans to target customers in North America, and has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.
Among some of the items to be included in the iBox are bottles of wine and photo calendars.
This isn't the first time technology and crowdfunding has harnessed consumer power to work for - or against - civil society movements. The app Buycott - which allows users to participate in BDS, or other issues like fighting child labor or ending factory farming - works by scanning a product's barcode on a smartphone and checking the manufacturer against a database. The app gained attention for BDS during the 2014 war on Gaza.
But it's clear that people on both sides understand the same thing: choosing where to spend money matters, and any purchase can be a vote for or against an issue.