Photo credit Passion Ward / Dream Defenders

“Israeli apartheid is funded here”

HOLLYWOOD, FL (6/2/2021): At 8 AM, a group of concerned individuals representing diverse communities in South Florida protested outside of the Duty Free Americas headquarters in Hollywood, FL to condemn their funding of illegal settlements in Israel and the displacement of Palestinians from their homes.

Some of the signs and banners held by the protestors included: “Duty Free Americas funds the violent displacement of Palestinians,” “Stop funding the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes,” and “Israeli apartheid funded here.”

Highlighting the expulsions that funding from Duty Free Americas supports, the protestors reenacted the takeover of Palestinian homes by Israeli settlers, carrying moving boxes to the front of the building. They informed the Falic Family, who owns Duty Free Americas and whose offices are inside the building, that they were there to expel them from their offices.

“Duty Free Americas funds the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes. We are here to expel Duty Free Americas and the Falic Brothers from their offices,” one of the movers said. Another continued: “Why are we here? Duty Free Shops fund the violent and illegal displacement of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, and elsewhere. That is called ethnic cleansing.”

One of the protest organizers, Martha Schoolman, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace, said she was there because, “As we witness the horrifying violence against the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli government and settlers, we demand that Duty Free Americas stop funding Israeli apartheid.” Schoolman continued, “The Palestinian people have the absolute right to live free in their homeland, free of the threat of settler violence, destruction of their homes, and seizure of their land.”

Another of the protestors, Thomas Kennedy, a community organizer in South Florida, explained, “As we have seen most recently in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, Israeli Jewish settlers are forcibly expelling Palestinians from their homes. We are here to protest the funding that comes from the owners of Duty Free Americas and that supports the construction of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”

“Quite simply, our groups are in front of Duty Free America offices today because Israel encourages the construction of illegal settlements, and international philanthropy pays for it,” stated one of the participants at the protest, Hiba Kakli.

The construction of settlements contributes to the ongoing Nabka, the Arabic word meaning catastrophe, which refers to the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and land prior to and during the creation of the Israeli state in 1948, and continues today through land takeovers and the displacement of Palestinian families. The Indigenous Palestinian population have lived in Historic Palestine for generations before the Zionist movement’s colonization of the land.

“Israel’s settlement enterprise has had a devastating impact on the lives and well-being of the indigenous Palestinian population,” said Anas Amireh, who heads the Palestinian organization, Al Awda: The Palestinian Right of Return Coalition in South Florida. He added, “Palestinians are demanding their freedom, their dignity, and their right to live in their homes and on their land.”

Another organizer of today’s protest, civil rights lawyer Alan Levine, said: “I come here today as a Jew living in the US.  I ask that those of us in the US say no to the use of our tax dollars to further ethnic cleansing. To my fellow Jews, I ask that we remember our history of expulsion and displacement and that we do everything in our power to stop the Israeli government, which purports to speak in our name, from imposing such horrors on the Palestinian people.”


The owners of Duty Free Americas – the Falic Family – are major contributors to settlement building in Israel and to the displacement of Palestinians from their homes and land. According to the Associated Press, “The [Falic] family has donated at least $5.6 million to settler groups in the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the past decade, funding synagogues, schools, and social services along with far-right causes considered extreme even in Israel.” The AP report goes on to state, “They back Jewish groups that covertly buy up Palestinian properties in East Jerusalem, and they helped fund an unauthorized settlement outpost in the West Bank.” One of the Falic brothers, Simon Falic, openly asserts that he supports efforts “to bring Jewish life back to all of Jerusalem,” a less than subtle admission of support for ethnic cleansing.

The South Florida Coalition for Palestine is coordinating the Boycott Duty Free Americas campaign. The coalition consists of Al-Awda South Florida, Students for Justice in Palestine South Florida, Jewish Voice for Peace South Florida, Dream Defenders, CAIR Florida, and South Florida Muslim Federation.

To find out how you can further supporter their efforts, they can be reached at