Yesterday's LA Times carried the article "Punk Rocker is Caught in a Genuine Soap Opera". Now my guess is that you think this has NOTHING to do with Palestine (be patient because my mind tends to lead from one thing to the next). Well, in this instance, it is a case of LESS than six degrees of separtation. Don Bolles, a member of the punk band, "The Germs" was pulled over by police in Newport Beach, California for a broken tail light on his way to an alcoholic anonymous meeting and his car was searched. The police confiscated among other things, a bottle of Dr. Bronner's liquid soap and had it tested. That test supposedly showed traces of GHB, the date rape drug but Bolles is adament that the bottle only contained Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap. Bronner's soap company has hired an attorney to represent Bolles and is having the soap from the confiscated bottle retested. You see, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap does contain hemp as a product but NOT GHB. Dr. Bronners Magic Soap has a story all of it's own due to it's founder, Dr. Emanuel Bronner, a Holocost surviver who carried on his family's legacy as a soap maker after he moved to the US. Dr. Bronner passed away in 1997 but his philosophy still lives on in his company. He was a philanthropist and some might say rather odd in his religious philosophy, love of God, all mankind and "spaceship Earth" But Dr. Bronner had a vision for our world, that one day we would all live in peace and he and his company would work towards that end. Is peace for all mankind odd? I don't think so.
From "Next to Godliness: The Story Behind Dr, Bronner's Soap" An Interview with Ralph Bronner by Gail Grenier Sweet:
That famous lable (found here), the hallmark of the soap favored by back-to-the-land pioneers and fashion models alike,contains the "Moral ABC" of Dr. Emmanuel Bronner. While you lather, you can read thousands of tiny words, scattered with exclamation points and run on sentences""When half-truth is gone & we are dust, the full-truth we print protect & teach alone lives on! Full-truth is God, it must! Help teach the whole Human race, the Moral ABC of All-One-God-Faith."
Still wondering what the soap found in the punk rocker's car has to do with Palestine? It is because Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap has signed an agreement and purchases Fair Trade Palestinian Olive Oil to use in it's products.
Fair Trade in Palestine
Palestinian products have mostly been off the fair trade radar, in part because of obstacles facing Palestinian exporters, but also because certification guidelines for the bulk of potential Palestinian exports do not yet exist. Olive oil, one of the trademark Palestinian products, cannot be certified in the United States, partly because the main American certifier Transfair gives priority to goods that have a larger share of the American market.
However, Oxfam Belgium imports olive oil from producers involved with Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees and sells it in its fair trade food stores. Recently, the Palestinians have established their own national union of farming and producing cooperatives called Palestinian Fair Trade Association. The group has developed its own guidelines for fair trade certification of olive oil producing cooperatives, modeled after other similar standards for different agricultural products.
These efforts come at a time of great need for Palestinian olive farmers, who each year watch 60% of their crops go to waste, because they are unable to transport their olives to presses, or sell their oil in the markets. The intensified military closure and the building of the separation barrier have had devastating effects on farmers, most of whom form the poorest strata of Palestinian society. Fair trade initiatives like these not only provide an opportunity to secure their livelihoods, but also serve as an important chance to educate the public about the hardship they face in their everyday lives.
By sending Palestinian product out in the world, farmers can forge connections with people in the West, and contribute to breaking down of stereotypes and barriers that arise out of negative representations in the media. Through olive oil and their personal stories, Palestinians can build their image as a people struggling to survive amidst extraordinary circumstances.
"Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps Fair Trade and Organic Olive Oil"