“What could be more Israeli than matza with Hashachar Ha’ole chocolate spread on top?” asks a Passover ad for this veteran brand, known to anyone who grew up in Israel.
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Even though the ad immediately replies with a list of national symbols such as the flag, the anthem, a chain with a Star of David, as well as cultural symbols such as TV Channel One and popular Israeli melodrama films, it’s obvious that the advertisement assumes that public consensus considers Hashachar Ha’ole to be one of the consumer products most identified with Israeliness. However, it’s patriotic and nostalgic air is tainted: This is a company that donates tens of thousands of shekels a year to the settlements.
“I believe in a Greater Land of Israel, which you call ‘the occupied territories,’ and I wish I could donate even more,” CEO Moshe Weidberg told Haaretz in December 2015.
Regarding the option of donating to human rights group B’Tselem, he said he’d rather go bankrupt. Weidberg devotes part of his company’s profits to financing the occupation and the apartheid regime in the territories, along with its blatant violation of human rights. He espouses an ideology that makes him an enemy of democracy and a supporter of a benighted ultra-nationalistic regime that squelches any criticism. His opposition to any criticism of the occupation is so fierce that he’d rather go bankrupt (not a trivial matter, considering that his is a family business that’s been around since 1955) than donate to an organization that works to end the occupation.
It’s a declaration that’s commendable for its directness, honesty, openness and transparency. Weidberg has no problem with being political and annoying potential customers who oppose the occupation. Good for him. His clear political standpoint should be countered with a no-less clear and strong political stance.
Anyone opposing the occupation should boycott Hashachar Ha’ole, otherwise his or her ideology is meaningless. It’s a moral duty to exact this small price from Weidberg. It’s unseemly that a person objecting to the occupation should continue purchasing his products in the knowledge that he is thereby contributing to the settlements and submitting to Weidberg’s destructive and immoral ideology.
Hashachar Ha’ole is, regrettably, no longer Israeli. Apparently, there is no chocolate spread anywhere in the world more fascist and racist. Weidberg should be forced to face the ramifications of the ideology he is so loyal to. The fact that his products are identified with the occupation and the persecution of left-wing groups should be advertised.
He prefers to go bankrupt over donating to B’Tselem? The required response is that supporters of B’Tselem immediately cease, this Passover, being his customers. Otherwise, in their apathy and lassitude, they are almost as bad as he is since their money will go to the settlements.
Instead of buying Hashachar Ha’ole products, one may as well directly contribute to the Ateret Yerushalayim yeshiva in the Old City and to the seminary in Elon Moreh. That, at least, will circumvent the self-deception.
“I wish we could give more,” declared Weidberg. Thus, advertisements for purchasing his products this Passover can be viewed as a collection of donations for the settlements. It’s time Hashachar Ha’ole (the Rising Dawn in Hebrew) turned to dusk.