Home > Direct Action, Settler Violence > Columbia Sportswear halts marketing to settlers

Columbia Sportswear halts marketing to settlers


On Nov. 30th, we published a post noting that Columbia Sportswear, a Portland-based manufacturer of fairly high-end outerwear, was running ads in The Jerusalem Post and Makor Rishon touting the value of their jackets “for active work in various regions, including outposts.” The post was  picked up and republished the same day by Adam Horowitz of Mondoweiss.

This morning (December 4 2009,) Ron Parham of Columbia Sportswear left this message, promising to discontinue the ads

Thank you and your readers for bringing this advertisement to our attention and for voicing your concerns to us via this site and numerous e-mails.

We investigated and determined that neither the original Hebrew text of the ad created by our independent Israeli distributor, nor the erroneous English translation supplied by the newspaper, was submitted to or approved by Columbia Sportswear as called for by our standard practices.

Columbia Sportswear and our Israeli distributor have agreed to immediately and permanently discontinue the ad, as well as to reinforce our standard pre-approval practices pertaining to all marketing materials in order to avoid such unfortunate errors in the future.

We take all customer feedback seriously and sincerely regret the offense inadvertently created by this ad.

Ron Parham
Sr. Director Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
Columbia Sportswear Company

I checked and the ads in both this morning’s Jerusalem Post and Makor Rishon no longer mention the outposts (I’ll put the scans up on Sunday.)

Big deal? I’m not sure. Helena Cobban thinks it is

Some people might consider this to be a trivial issue.  But the “normalization” of the whole idea of Israeli settlements and settlement-building– let alone the whole idea of the “outposts” that even the Israeli government considers to be illegal– is by no means trivial to the Palestinians, or to the causes of justice or peacemaking.

I think the bottom line is that when you see a grave wrong being committed in the world, speak your conscience.  Your voice– my voice– any of our voices–can indeed make a difference.  You never know what a difference your voice, or my voice, can make.

What you do know, is that if you remain silent, then your silence may well be understood as complicity in the wrong that’s being committed.


  • December 4 2009: Adam Horowitz at Mondoweiss has more details on the grassroots pressure Columbia Sportswear encountered over the past few days.
  • December 7 2009: Jewish Peace News adds that “Gert Boyle, the Founder of Columbia Sportswear, is a Holocaust Survivor and is alive and well!”
  1. December 4, 2009 at 16:25

    This is just another example of an Israeli ad firm over extending their power and assuming that whatever “creative” advertising they write will be approved by the headquarters they’re supposed to be under control by instead of actually getting it approved.

    From the moment I read the ad I knew that it wasn’t approved by the highest echelon of Columbia. Therefore I don’t see them in any ill light. But I continue to see the Israeli media machine in an ill light as the humor simply does not translate to English speakers who don’t find these events funny like many Israelis do.

  1. December 4, 2009 at 08:02

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