Peace in the Middle East might be a near impossible dream but on-the-ground-efforts are all the more impressive for it. Take the initiative by Adam Neiman, a Boston-based Jewish entrepreneur partnering with a Palestinian clothing factory. Neiman’s NoSweatApparel.com makes a ton of difference for dozens of Palestinians working the looms of an organic clothing factory in Bethlehem on the West Bank.
An important part of the Palestinian economy consists of organic cotton manufacturing but the conflict in the Middle East has badly impacted the industry. Neiman signed a deal with the organic cotton manufacturing company in Bethlehem after it had been forced to ax 30% of its workers. Many of the laid off workers returned to the Bethlehem factory after he stepped in. The deal included the creation of a trade union.
“We’ve found a rare piece of common ground — more good jobs for Palestinians on the West Bank will help,” the Boston entrepreneur was quoted as saying in a recent interview. “Economic development is no substitute for a diplomatic settlement but no settlement can survive without a sustainable Palestinian economy,” Neiman added.
The press attention for Neiman itself alone underscores that he’s achieving something; both Al Jezeera and the Jewish Advocate are raving about the initiative.
The company manufactures organically made, wholesale, teeshirts, shoes and trousers which are shipped out and marketed to the US, Canada and Israel. And NoSweatApparel.com is seeking distributors in Europe and Japan.
Neiman’s business is a runner up winner of this month’s Ideablob.com, a crowdsourcing site which awards $10,000 funding each month to a top voted business idea. Neiman says he’s intent on using the money to purchase a batch of wholesale t-shirts from Bethlehem, “so our burgeoning network of high school distributors have a competitively priced product to sell to camps this summer and schools in the fall.”