The other day we took a trip to to the settlement Ma’ale Adumim in search of signs of dodgy business dealings -and, for the first time, we found a British company trading directly in a settlement. Lee Cooper, a British denim company established in 1908, were joined by the international businesses Western Union, Dr Fischer and a Tower Records franchise in their willingness to make a profit out of the occupation.
Ma’ale Adumim is the third largest settlement in the West Bank. Established in 1976, it now has a population of around 35,000 and is rapidly growing. The settlement is at the heart of the controversial E1 project, which aims to cut the West Bank off from East Jerusalem and to facilitate further settlement expansion. Ma’ale Adumim was established on land stolen from the five Palestinian villages of Abu Dis, Al Izriyyeh, Al Issawiyyeh and Anata. Just like Mishor Adumim, the industrial zone connected to the settlement (see http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3477), Ma’ale Adumim has also confiscated land from the Jahalin Bedouin, who are now forced to live on the outskirts of the industrial area.
Earlier this year, Ma’ale Adumim made the news when it was revealed that the London based business man, Tory party donor and charman of BICOM (Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre) Poju Zabludowicz has a stake in the Ma’ale Adumim shopping centre.
Lee Cooper, who have a shop based in the Adumim Mall and whose headquarters are in London, has a long history of work wear production and supplied the British Ministry of Defence during both World Wars. After the second World War their production changed to the manufacture of Jeans. Their Hebrew blog is headed by a Union Jack next to the slogan “For a civilized world”. They also appear to be associated with the London night club Fabric, which is advertised on their Israeli site as a suitable holiday destination for Israeli Lee Cooper wearers (http://www.leecooper.co.il/blog.html).