At a protest Sunday at Brooklinen’s new Williamsburg, Brooklyn store, New York human rights advocates called for a boycott of the online sheet and linen retailer, over their Israeli production partners’ involvement in Israel’s apartheid rule over the Palestinian people. The protest came amidst international outrage over the Israeli military’s abuse with a bulldozer of the body of Palestinian in the impoverished Gaza Strip, an open-air prison with two million residents.
Brooklinen has escaped scrutiny and parried questions about the specifics of its production of its sheets and linens in Israel. Brooklinen’s products are made by Israel’s Offis Textile, which also has murky ties with the Israeli company Ofertex. The two Israeli companies have been involved with illegal Israeli settlements and have exploited captive Palestinian workers. Their taxes fund Israel’s apartheid system.
The Sunday protest kicked off when two participants entered the Brooklinen store and caught staff by surprise, saying they wanted to return their sheets because they were “stained with Israeli apartheid.” They then pulled out pillowcases which said “Brooklinen sews destruction in Palestine” and “Brooklinen in bed with Israeli apartheid.”
Outside the store, the protesters then hung the pillowcases, Brooklinen’s dirty laundry, on a clothesline, and held signs, sang, chanted, and passed out flyers to passersby.
One musical protest highlight was a rendition of “Dirty deeds, done with sheets” to the tune of an AC/DC song, that included lyrics, “Shut down your store, just lock the door, or heed the boycott call.” (video) Protesters also sang “All we need is boycott, sweet boycott, there’ll be justice everywhere,” as part of a remixed version entitled “Apartheid in Your Sheets,” of the Martha and the Vandellas classic, “Dancing in the Street.”
Allison Brown of Adalah-NY explained, “Brooklinen wants to sell a lifestyle of comfort, but it’s hiding some uncomfortable truths under its sheets. Palestinian civil society calls on people of conscience to boycott the products of Israeli companies that are complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, to pressure Israel to comply with international law. Brooklinen must end all dealings with complicit Israeli companies.”