Photo Credit: Duty Free Americas' Facebook page
Duty Free Americas store

Uri Blau, an Israeli reporter whose claim to fame is assisting an Israeli female soldier leak highly classified IDF documents, and Josef Federman, AP bureau chief for Israel and the Palestinian territories and chairman of the Foreign Press Association, on Monday morning combined forces to expose what has been known for a decade: the Falic family of Florida, owners of the Duty Free Americas chain, “has donated at least $5.6 million to settler organizations in the West Bank and east Jerusalem over the past decade, funding synagogues, schools and social services.”

According to the same report, the Falic family also gives to “far-right causes considered extreme even in Israel.”

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Here’s the list of sins committed by Simon and Leon Falic, who co-own the Falic Group:

The Falics support the Jewish community in Hebron.

They have supported groups promoting the establishment of a Third Temple.

They gave more money than any other donor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Finally, “the Falics donated roughly $600,000 to Hachnasat Orchim Hebron (Hospitality Hebron), a group that hosts visitors to the Jewish community.”

Off with their heads, the red Queen of Hearts would say at this point. Giving money to Jews so they can host visitors in Hebron? Supporting groups who recreate the priestly garments and vessels used at the Temple? Supporting a Likud prime minister? Jews have been thrown to the gulags for less.

Which is exactly the point. What emanates from the shoddily written piece, “US duty free magnates fund network for Israeli settlements,” which is mostly newspaper clippings with the name Falic in them, published on the first big air travel day when folks would pass by those duty free stores – is that it reveals nothing.

Instead it spends tiresome paragraphs on the legality of Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria, and heaps on mindless innuendo, establishing little more than “Israel bad” and “Jews bad.”

Simon Falic told the AP in response that “Jews should be able to live anywhere in the Holy Land, whether it’s Israel, Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem or the West Bank (betcha he didn’t say ‘West Bank’).” He condemned violence and insisted that none of the groups he supports do anything illegal under Israeli law.

He is correct, of course, and the AP assault is just that: an attempt to discourage airport shoppers from patronizing Duty Free Americas shops.

The Falic group owns and operates airport duty-free shops in Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; and New York, New York, as well as stores along the United States and Canadian border, and on the border with Mexico. The company’s stores offer cosmetics, liquor, tobacco products, watches, writing instruments, gourmet foods, lip gloss, eye liner, glitter, eye shadow, perfumes, mascara, lip liners, nail polishes, exfoliant/scrubs, moisturizers, bronzers/highlighters, lipsticks, powders, body wash/cleansers, body powders, concealers, and blushes.

We didn’t get a penny for the above paragraph, we lifted it off the Bloomberg site and are not expecting anything in return.

Simon Falic also told the AP: “We are proud to support organizations that help promote Jewish life all over the Land of Israel,” and noted that “the idea that the mere existence of Jewish life in any geographical area is an impediment to peace makes no sense to us.”

To us either. But the AP’s Blau & Federman duo at this point go into a bizarre political tirade, throwing in the 1949 Geneva Convention Article 49 (which has nothing relevant to say about the Jewish settlements); avoid the inconvenience of the fact that in 1967 Israel liberated the territories from powers that had no entitlement to them; and include a line that would be huge news to Jewish settlers, were it true: “In recent years, it (the settlement enterprise) has received a boost from Netanyahu’s pro-settler government.”

They even turn to an authority on the subject of ruthless Jewish expansion at the expense of Palestinian orphans, Peace Now, which were only happy to confirm that “Far-right foreign donors are a pillar of the settlement enterprise.”

And for a comment on the Hebron community hospitality program, the AP boys turn to a B’Tselem employee, Issa Amro, who says that “the seemingly harmless project serves the settler cause at the expense of Palestinians.”

Do patronize Duty Free Americas when you take your next vacation flight – every penny goes to promote the settler cause at the expense of Palestinians.

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