DEMO REPORT: ZIONISTS EXPOSED!

Saturday, 25 September

Video courtesy of SA   

   

Above photo courtesy of West London PSC.

Zionism’s true colours were exposed for all to see at the fortnightly demonstration outside the cosmetics shop Ahava as the racist English Defence League’s “Jewish Division” again joined forces with the Zionist Federation to show their support of the manufacturer and retailer of illegal settlement goods. 

This should leave no doubt that the agenda of the racist EDL and Zionists are one and the same. Racism and fascism has always been synonymous with Zionism, something Palestinians are forced to experience every day.  

The very few members of the Zionist Federation who attended continued to counter-demonstrate alongside the overtly racist, anti-Muslim EDL. Noticeably absent were Zionist Federation co-Vice Chair Jonathan Hoffman, who was not shy to stand alongside the racist EDL in the past and his diminutive propagandist, Richard Millett.  

The EDL’s Roberta Moore (whom the Israeli paper Ha’aretz described as ‘an unrestrained Kahanist’), was once again present bringing shame to the flag of Portugal which was flying above the Israeli flag. Also displayed was a St George’s flag incorporating the word ‘England’, the Star of David and the Union Jack. 

The EDL/Zionist supporters included a noticible number of children and teenagers. Between the EDL chants, many also made obscene gestures and  shouted racist epithets which were ignored by police, as were attempts by others to hide their identities. One lout wore a balaclava which he wore and removed several times and two young Zionists found a good use for Ahava bags by putting them over their heads. Another EDL Zionist brought along an infant, who she draped in an Israeli flag and then started shouting obscenities at the demonstrators who numbered about forty.  

Campaigners talking to the people and leafleting against the illegal retailer Ahava once again enjoyed the overwhelming support of the public, who continue to express their disgust of not just Ahava, but also of the presence of the racist counter-demonstrators.  

The protest ended on a high note with the singing of several songs by anti-Ahava demonstrators who then dispersed, leaving most of the EDL Zionists being corralled by the police in their pen.  

One ideology: Zionist Federation member Ian Sternberg (right), leafleting alongside EDL Kahanist Roberta Moore (back to camera, wearing blue jeans, in front of flag).

Another Zionist Federation supporter (far left) along with Roberta Moore, her balaclava wearing friend and other EDL Zionists (including dog and children).

Fascism + Racism = Zionism.

The sale of stolen goods always attracts a lot of attention.

Some of the Ahava boycott activists. More were across the street leafleting - and talking to the public.

A friendly gesture.

How many cops can you spot?

Putting Ahava bags to good use. The lout on the right was the one wearing the balaclava.

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NONE OF THESE IMAGES HAVE BEEN
ELECTRONICALLY OR DIGITALLY ALTERED

More coverage HERE

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HERE (scroll down) 

VIDEO: BOYCOTT ISRAEL? THE BIG STORY SPECIAL ON THE GLOBAL BDS MOVEMENT

From: Press TV

Footage of London Ahava demonstrations from August 2010, coverage of other BDS actions throughout the UK and Europe, as well as interviews with activists and people within the BDS movement.

Part 1/2

Part 2/2

VIDEO: INTERVIEW WITH NANCY KRICORIAN, CODEPINK’S STOLEN BEAUTY CAMPAIGN CO-ORDINATOR

From: The Young Turks

Nancy Kricorian, in an interview from 2009,  talks about the Stolen Beauty campaign, Kristin Davis, Ahava, Code Pink and more.

WHY BOYCOTT AHAVA?

 
From Pulse Media

Author and activist Anna Baltzer explains why the Israeli beauty company, Ahava, should be boycotted by citizens of conscience:

What does it mean to try and find beauty out of this destruction and the denial of Palestinian human rights? There is nothing beautiful about that at all. To buy beauty products to whitewash what Israel is doing is so contrary to the basic tenets of Judaism, to the tenets of morality. As a Jewish person, I reject the idea that there is anything beautiful about occupation, that there is anything beautiful about displacement…

The reason behind the call for a boycott of Ahava is summed up well in the following description from an Electronic Intifada article:

According to the Israeli group Who Profits From the Occupation? (www.whoprofits.org), the mud used in Ahava products is taken from a site on the shores of the Dead Sea inside the occupied territory, next to Kalia. Ahava uses Palestinian natural resources without the permission of or compensation to the Palestinians. Meanwhile, Israel denies Palestinians access to the shores of the Dead Sea and its resources, although one-third of the western shore of the Dead Sea lies in the occupied West Bank.

For more information and to find out how you can help, visit Code Pink’s Stolen Beauty Campaign page.

ARTICLE: ISRAELI BEAUTY PRODUCTS COMPANY AHAVA COMPLICIT IN THE SINS OF OCCUPATION

From alternet.org

Alex Kane, September 18, 2010

Walk into any Ricky’s store, a beauty shop chain in New York, and you will find a shelf filled with Ahava products. For $28, you can buy mineral toning cleanser; for $22, Dead Sea liquid salt; and for $9, purifying mud soap. The products made by Ahava (which means “love” in Hebrew) seem innocent enough, perfectly enticing for anyone fond of beauty products.

But looks can be deceiving. As activists from the peace group CodePink’s Stolen Beauty campaign are fond of chanting at protests, Ahava can’t hide its “dirty side.”

For nearly two years, an international campaign spearheaded by Palestine solidarity activists has targeted Ahava and the various stores that carry its products, including Ricky’s, calling for a boycott. The boycott campaign has heated up recently, eliciting push-back from Jewish organizations around the country and a response from the CEO of Ahava.

While Ahava labels its products “made in Israel,” they are actually manufactured in a settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank in Palestine. According to the Web site Who Profits?, a project of the Israeli anti-occupation group Coalition of Women for Peace, the company exploits Palestinian resources from the Dead Sea.

Under the Geneva Conventions, and various United Nations resolutions, all of Israel’s settlements–which house about 500,000 settlersare illegal, as is excavating natural resources in an occupied area. Israel has occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip since the 1967 Six-Day War. The settlements are widely seen as an obstacle to the creation of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state.

“[The boycott] is about a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians,” said Nancy Kricorian, CodePink’s coordinator for the Stolen Beauty campaign. “The situation on the ground there is dehumanizing and demoralizing and terrible.”

Ahava, which rakes in profits of nearly $150 million a year, according to a Dec. 2009 CNN report, is owned by entities deeply involved in Israel’s settlement project in the occupied West Bank. According to Who Profits? 37 percent of the company is owned by Mitzpe Shalem, an illegal settlement located in the eastern West Bank; another 37 percent by the private investment fund Hamashibr Holdings, which also is a major shareholder in two companies that export produce made in settlements; 18.5 perent by the U.S.-based Shamrock Holding, owned by the Roy E. Disney family of Walt Disney fame, and which is a shareholder in a company that manufactures electronic detection systems that are used on the West Bank separation barrier; and 7.5 percent by the West Bank settlement of Kalia.

In an interview, Kricorian acknowledged that Ahava is a huge target, and likened the Stolen Beauty campaign to a “game of whack-a-mole,” as new places where Ahava products are sold pop up frequently. But Kricorian says it isn’t just about hurting the company’s sales.

“A boycott campaign is strategic, and it’s a long-term thing,” she said. “It’s not just about hurting the company’s sales. It’s also about educating the public about, in this particular case, the company’s illegal practices and sullying the company’s name and reputation.”

 The campaign to boycott Ahava, in both the United States and around the world, has racked up some important victories. In August 2009, activists successfully pressured Oxfam International to drop Sex and the City star Kristin Davis as a spokeswoman because she was also working with Ahava. In November 2009, the Dutch Foreign Ministry agreed to investigate Ahava’s manufacturing and labeling practices. Costco, a large U.S. retailer, was pressured into halting the sale of Ahava products at its stores in January 2010. The Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank, has included Ahava products in its boycott of settlement products campaign, confiscating and destroying products made in West Bank settlements. Recently, four activists in London were acquitted on charges of trespassing after direct actions in 2009 in which they locked themselves onto oil-filled drums inside an Ahava shop.

AHAVA did not respond to inquiries for comment.

The Stolen Beauty campaign, which began in the aftermath of the brutal Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip in 2008-’09, is part of the larger boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement that grew out of a 2005 call by a vast swathe of Palestinian civil society groups for BDS against Israel. Modeled on the anti-apartheid movement that targeted South Africa, the Palestinian-led BDS movement demands that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories, implement equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel and recognize the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees and their descendants who fled or were expelled from Palestine during the1947-’49 Arab-Israeli war.

“The BDS campaign has become the most effective, morally consistent, nonviolent form of solidarity with the colonized Palestinians against Israel’s apartheid and colonial rule,” Omar Barghouti, a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, wrote in an e-mail. “The Stolen Beauty Campaign against Ahava, led by our partner CodePink, is a truly inspiring BDS campaign, as it is creative, focused, well-researched and very effective in conveying the message across to and, more crucially, in mobilizing BDS action in a wider, more mainstream audience.”

The Israeli government has taken notice of the growing BDS movement. The Israeli Knesset recently passed a preliminary reading of anti-boycott legislation that would impose fines on Israeli activists promoting boycotts of Israel. A February 2010 report by the Reut Institute, an Israeli think-tank with close ties to Israel’s government, identified the BDS movement as an threat to the state.

In the United States, the BDS movement, and the campaign against Ahava, has also generated controversy. After a Washington, D.C.-based group protested in July 2010 against Ahava products being sold in Ulta, a beauty store, the Jewish Community Relations Committee of Greater Washington urged supporters to buy Ahava products.

Brooklyn’s Ricky’s shop has also become the epicenter of a dispute over the Boycott Ahava movement. After a July 9 protest outside the store led by CodePink’s Stolen Beauty and Brooklyn for Peace, which signed onto the campaign in May, a group of rabbis in Brooklyn drafted a letter in response, urging people to buy Ahava products and denouncing the campaign. The rabbis’ letter claimed that “CodePink ignores the history and legal status of Mizpeh Shalom” because it is located in “‘Area C’, a huge section of the West Bank over which Israel, again by joint agreement, was granted full control, except over Palestinian civilians.” (The Area C designation comes out of the 1993-era Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Area C incorporates all West Bank settlements.)

“Local Jewish leaders find the idea of a boycott of Israel to be a misguided and one-sided approach to a complex and deeply troubling conflict,” said Rabbi Andy Bachman, a signatory to the letter and a member of the liberal group J Street’s Rabbinic Cabinet. “The problem with a boycott is there’s one side that’s all right and another side that’s all wrong. If that’s what the boycotters think, then there really is nothing to discuss. But if not, then why not boycott Palestinian business for years of rejecting peace accords?”

So far, Ricky’s has not budged, and continues to sell Ahava products. Dominick Costello, the president of the store, refused to comment.

The relentless targeting of Ahava hasn’t gone unnoticed by the company. A letter that has recently been circulated by Ahava to its business partners states that “our company and products have been the subject of unfortunate, ugly and clearly politically motivated smear attacks” that are being pushed by a “couple of small radical fringe organizations, which are part of a larger and more insidious campaign aimed against the State of Israel.”

The surge in attention to the boycott campaign is a sign that “we’ve gotten attention to issue of settlements like we never got before,” said Naomi Allen, an activist who sits on Brooklyn for Peace’s board and is involved in the group’s Israel/Palestine committee. Beginning this month, Brooklyn for Peace plans to hold protests outside the Ricky’s shop in Brooklyn on the last Tuesday of every month.

“This is not an argument that we’re going to lose, because [what's] right and international law are on our side,” Allen said. “The issue of Ahava is a clear-cut issue. There’s no excusing the fact that this is occupied territory which is being stolen from the rightful owners and exploited for profit that isn’t being shared with the rightful owners.”

Continue reading

NEWS FROM THE BOYCOTT CAMPAIGN IN FRANCE

On September 13, five members of the French BDS group “Boycott 68″ were due to appear in court charged with “incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence” after distributing leaflets asking shoppers to boycott Israeli products. At the trial in Mulhouse, the pro-Israeli organisations who are suing the five activists have asked for the trial to be postponed saying they were not ready. The Mulhouse trial is now postponed until 29 November – which is also the International Day of Solidarity with Palestine!

Most of the cases against solidarity activists have been brought following pressure from Bureau National de Vigilance Contre l‟Antisémitisme (BNCVA) with assistance from other pro-Israel pressure groups and are part of a wider campaign of attacks against Palestine solidarity activism. “Altogether, we have filed over 80 similar complaints, everywhere in France,” the President of BNCVA boasted recently.

French MEPs Jacky Henin and Nicole Kill-Nielsen recently spoke out against the repression of Palestine activists. “In that case, justice is used for political purposes,” said Henin.

‘Action: Ahava, We Do Not Want’. Paris. 16 July 2009

 

Last year, Sakina Arnaud was fined €1000 for attaching a “Boycott Israel” sticker to a fruit juice carton. Ms Arnaud will appear in court again on September 24 to appeal the decision. The campaign for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005, is a non-violent, just and effective way of pressuring Israel to comply with international law and end its institutionalised discrimination and violence towards Palestinians. People of conscience all over the world, including many progressive Israelis and Jews, engage in BDS campaigns as a form of solidarity with an oppressed people, suffering under Israeli occupation and apartheid.

BDS is based on unambiguous respect for international law and universal human rights; as such, it is categorically opposed to all forms of racism and racial discrimination, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. The BNC is therefore deeply troubled by state-sanctioned smear campaigns against BDS activists.  The BNC has previously criticised the French Prime Minister for making unfounded and inflammatory insinuations about the movement to boycott Israel. According to activists, police regularly demand the names and addresses of those present at BDS demonstrations. The BNC is astounded that the authorities in a country that has historically contributed so much to the development of the principles of citizenship and human rights would succumb so easily to the demands of the Israel lobby and curtail political freedoms so blatantly.  The BNC hopes that these comments will enrich the debate in France about the repression of those who stand in solidarity with Palestinians.

The support shown to the activists, both in France and abroad, has been outstanding. French activists expressed their appreciation to everyone and in particular, Scottish comrades, for their solidarity. The next step is to encourage merchants to display a poster in their windows stating:  “I support Palestine and don’t sell Israeli products”.

‘Sephora! No Beauty Without Freedom!’  Paris. 11 September 2010:

The five activists in Mulhouse were accused of wearing T-Shirts with “Free Palestine” (Palestine Vivra) on the front and “Boycott Israel” on the back and distributing a leaflet calling for the boycott of Israeli goods.  BDS activists are calling for as many people as possible show solidarity by wearing the same T-shirt. Far from having the T-shirt banned in France, we’ll make it even more popular throughout the whole world. The Free Palestine T-shirts are already being worn in the UK, Holland, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy… and even Australia!

There were many demonstrations and rallies held both within France and abroad this weekend (Sept 11/12) in solidarity with all the defendents. In addition to a well-attended rally that recently took place in front of the court in Mulhouse, in several towns throughout France, at the same hour, activists and supporters stood in front of the tribunal of their own town with the same T-shirts and held placards reading:  “I BOYCOTT TOO! SUE ME!”

Video (In French): SEPHORA in Court!

The actions taken by French state bodies to shield Israel from legitimate criticism and opposition show the strength of the BDS movement on one hand, but also reduce the possibilities of a just and lasting peace, present a serious threat to freedom of expression, and bolster Israel‟s impunity in violating human rights on the other. The failure of the French government to end its complicity in maintaining and protecting Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian rights, let alone to hold Israel accountable for these violations, calls into question France’s compliance with its own obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice against Israel’s Wall and colonial settlements. Its active repression of principled activists who attempt to remedy this failure is reprehensible. BNC Secretariat

The BNC warmly salutes all French BDS activists due to appear in court and is inspired by their stated intention to step up their campaigns in reaction to this repression. We call upon the French government to:

  • Drop all charges against activists engaged in non-violent, morally commendable solidarity campaigns aimed at challenging Israel’s grave violations of international law and official French complicity;
  • Take measures to ensure that France‟s rich history of political freedom is maintained and that freedom of association and freedom of speech are not curtailed in this shameful way again;
  • End France’s complicity in maintaining Israel’s occupation and apartheid and hold Israel accountable for its persistent violation of international law.

The BNC also calls upon people of conscience and international solidarity groups to:

  • Send messages of support to the activists due to appear in court by email at campagnebdsfrance@yahoo.fr
  • Write to the French embassy in your country demanding that these charges be dropped and condemning France’s repression of basic freedoms and civil rights.

UK EXCLUSIVE: CEO OF AHAVA RATTLED BY GROWING BOYCOTT!

CEO of Israeli Cosmetics Firm Ahava Rattled by Growing Boycott; False Claims Put Out by Company Are Refuted by ‘Stolen Beauty’ Campaign

In a recent, quietly circulated letter from the desk of Yaacov Ellis, CEO of Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories—a company at the center of a growing international boycott campaign—and directed at the company’s retail partners, Ellis deploys specious information about his own company’s business practices, contradictory claims about Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, and unfounded innuendo about boycott campaign supporters. This letter comes after a year of pressure, lead in the United States by the women’s peace group CODEPINK and their “Stolen Beauty” Ahava Boycott campaign, and total refusal by the CEO to respond to press queries about his company’s illegal business practices.

Background on Ahava’s illegal business practices

Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories is an Israeli cosmetics company that has its manufacturing plant and visitors center near the shores of the Dead Sea in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank. Despite Ellis’s claim in the letter that “Mitzpe Shalem is not an illegal settlement,” all Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law. The company is 44% owned by Mitzpe Shalem and another settlement, Kalia, so that the company’s profits are subsidizing these illegal colonies. Although its goods are manufactured in the West Bank, Ahava labels them as “products of Israel,” a practice that is illegal under European Union law and is currently being investigated in the UK and Holland.

Nancy Kricorian, Stolen Beauty Campaign Manager, said:

Ahava makes beauty products, but there is nothing beautiful in occupation. Rather than openly defending his company’s dubious record, which would not stand up to public scrutiny, Ellis is sending out a private letter that is full of false claims.

Read the full letter here (http://stolenbeauty.org/article.php?id=5548).

The growing influence of the international boycott campaign

Since its launch in July 2009, the Stolen Beauty Ahava Boycott has scored a number of successes. The first victory came after pressure on Oxfam, an international human rights organization, which had publicly condemned all Israeli settlement products, to suspend its Goodwill Ambassador Kristin Davis from publicity work for the duration of her contract as Ahava spokeswoman. Davis, best known for her work on HBO’s Sex and the City, allowed her contract to expire a few months later. Abroad, coalition partners in London engaged the UK’s Camden Trading Standards Office to investigate the legality of Ahava’s labeling. Dutch activists and a Minister of the Parliament succeeded in convincing the Dutch Foreign Ministry to launch its own investigation of Ahava’s business methods. Partners in Paris have recently filed suit against the cosmetics chain Sephora for carrying Ahava products.

Part of a growing international movement

Modeled on the worldwide campaign against apartheid-era South Africa, the movement for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel called in response to Israel’s many violations of Palestinian rights has grown and achieved significant successes, particularly following Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip in 2009, which killed over 1400 Palestinians. The Stolen Beauty campaign is a part of this growing international movement.

For more information on CODEPINK’s Stolen Beauty Ahava Boycott Campaign please visit www.stolenbeauty.org .
 
(Setting the Record Straight http://www.stolenbeauty.org/article.php?id=5548).