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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hello Kitty says hello to Israel; BDSers unhappy

Hello Kitty announced earlier this year that they will open a chain of new stores in Israel. As reported in YNet in February:

While listening to what Hello Kitty officials have to say about the reasons for their decision to expand the brand's activity in Israel in the coming year, one might want to consider appointing them as economic attachés in one of Israel's embassies. The company managers insist that Israel is an overwhelming financial success story.

"You are one of the only countries which have survived the global financial crisis so well," says Roberto Lanzi, an Italian, president of Global Consumer Products for the EMEA market (Europe, Middle East, Africa) at Sanrio, the Japanese company which owns the Hello Kitty brand.

He made the remark during a visit to Israel with Kunihiko Tsuji, one of the company's owners. "Although you have the limitations of a small country, the Israeli market has great potential," the two agreed.

This is making the usual crowd of Israel haters very upset as can be seen in this letter written to the company at "Palestine Campaign."
Dear Shintaro Tsuji,

We are writing to urge you to not to open a Hello Kitty store in Israel,until Israel ends its occupation and abides by international law.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip (the ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories') are all under Israeli rule. Israel's occupation is illegal under international law, including UN Resolution 242 which demands Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank.
(Of course, Resolution 242 does not say that; it implies that Israel would continue to hold onto parts of the area.)

The campaign does not seem to have worked. From YNet on Saturday:
The Hello Kitty brand is launching a chain of 18 stores in Israel at an initial investment of $2-3 million.

Sanrio, the company which created the pink icon in 1974, has chosen Leader Brands as its franchiser in the Jewish state.

The chain's first store is expected to open by the end of June at the Givatayim Mall and will offer a variety of items for young girls and women, starring the famous Japanese cat.

"We'll open eight to 10 stores this year," says the owner, Yossi Shoch. "We are about to finalize three additional locations in the Azrieli Malls chain, and we'll open a total of 18 stores within a short period of time.
Another BDS fail.

(h/t Sophie, see also Blogwrath.)