I got an urgent email yesterday from a good friend telling me to "PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!" and urging me to "publicize" a threatened "loud and ambitious" boycott campaign against Estee Lauder products by "the world's Arab and Muslim community." Failure to comply could be catastrophic, warned the message: "Send this to everyone who doesn't want another Holocaust."
If you're a regular reader of The Jewish Week, you've probably received this warning or similar calls to the barricades warning of impending doom and threats to the survival of Israel and the Jewish people.
Unfortunately, it is too easy to press the "forward" or "sent" button on the email program than to check out whether what you're sending to everyone you know – and many you don't – is true or false.
It's easy enough to find out, just Google the subject ("Estee Lauder boycott") or go to Snopes.com. They're both reliable and informative.
The email message instructs readers that the way to "combat this boycott" by "the world's Arab and Muslim community" of Estee Lauder Corporation is to "go out and buy as much Estee Lauder and Clique products as possible."
There actually was a call for an Estee Lauder boycott – in 2001, not 2012. And it wasn't issued by "the world's Arab and Muslim community" but by American Muslims for Jerusalem, an obscure Washington-based political organization that doesn't even exist any longer and hasn't since at least 2007, according to Daniel Pipes, who closely follows such groups. A call to the group's phone number said it is no longer in service, and I could not find a web page or other listing for it.
Snopes said "if there's a boycott or counter-boycott going on," Estee Lauder's income statement shows no evidence.
It may be that the only ones to take the boycott threat seriously were those who spread the alarm. Presumably they have a lifetime supply of cosmetics to help them save face.