Israel is back in the Middle East this week — for users of Nivea skincare products.
Within days of an international campaign that protested Israel’s absence from the German-based firm’s promotional website, Israel appeared last week in the Middle East listing, among more than a dozen other countries and the “Palestine Territories.”
Conservative commentator Glenn Beck in recent weeks had spearheaded criticism of Nivea, on his radio show and on his TheBlaze.com news and opinion website, after Israel’s omission from the Nivea website became known. Nivea “has erased Israel,” Beck had announced.
The Anti-Defamation League also urged the firm to include Israel, and Israeli model-actress Becky Griffin posted a letter on her Facebook page that attracted much attention.
In adding Israel to an empty co.il site that will soon be launched in Hebrew and English, Nivea explained that logistics, not hostility to Israel, had caused the original omission. “The company claimed that the reason Israel was not listed on the website is because there was no local marketing platform that customers could be directed to,” the Ynetnews website reported. Officials from Beiersdorf, the global skin- and body-care company that owns Nivea, “insisted that Israel’s name was not omitted due to a boycott or any other political reasons,” claiming that Nivea’s Israel branch is managed by Greece, and similarly Malta and Cyprus also do not appear on the list of countries “because they are managed by another country,” Ynet reported.
The Nivea press office did not respond to a request for comment from The Jewish Week.
“We really don’t know why” Israel did not appear on Nivea’s website until last week, says Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director. “Sometimes it’s just a bureaucratic decision.”
Foxman says he is satisfied that Nivea added Israel to its website.
The public outcry over Israel’s omission — and Nivea’s swift action — may serve as a warning to other firms that would similarly exclude Israel, he says.
Nivea was founded a century ago by Oscar Troplowitz, a German Jew who died before Hitler’s rise to power. Beiersdorf is no longer connected to the Troplowitz family.