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December 28, 2015 6:37 pm

Major Jewish Group Denounces Etsy Shop for Selling Earrings Made of Marbles Thrown at IDF Soldiers

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The earrings sold by PeaceParcels. Photo: Etsy.

The earrings sold by PeaceParcels. Photo: Etsy.

The owner of a shop selling earrings fashioned from “protest marbles” thrown at Israeli soldiers needs to reevaluate how his store supports the “intercultural empathy” he claims to promote, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner on Monday.

The Bethlehem-based store, called PeaceParcels, is selling the jewelry through the online marketplace, Etsy

In its sales pitch, PeaceParcels says, “You can help carry the weight of [Israeli] military oppression wherever you go,” adding that wearing the earrings constitutes a “nonviolent way to take something off the floor and continue to remind ourselves of the unheard voice of Palestinians.”

The owner of PeaceParcels uses the pseudonym William Stephenson. According to his bio on the PeaceParcels page, he is an Evangelical Christian from North America who moved to Bethlehem in September 2015; is working on initiatives to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and promotes the idea that “online entrepreneurship is a means of developing intercultural empathy.”

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Rabbi Cooper is skeptical of Stephenson’s intentions.

“It’s not a ‘peace parcel,'” he said. “There’s nothing peaceful about it and there’s no ‘intercultural empathy’ that would be created as a result of reusing items allegedly thrown at Israelis. Since he asserts that this is a ‘peace parcel,’ would he volunteer to stand in front of a group of people firing marbles at his head from a distance of five to 10 feet?”

Rabbi Cooper told The Algemeiner that the fact that Stephenson does not reveal his real name also raises concerns about his true aims. “If this store-owner is a peace-maker, why would he mask his identity? He should be proud to be promoting peace.”

Proceeds from the earrings will go to the Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center, which considers “Israeli military occupation” to be the cause of internal Palestinian strife.

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