Unless Wellness Warehouse removes Ahava products from its shelves before 4 February 2011, Open Shuhada Street will be forced to launch demonstrations at its stores.
International victories for the campaign against Ahava products – Wellness Warehouse must drop Ahava or face protests.
From Open Shuhada Street, 24 January 2011
This month the international campaign against Ahava achieved two significant victories. Two major retailers in the UK and in Canada have decided to stop selling Ahava products. Open Shuhada Street welcomes this exciting news and calls on Wellness Warehouse to follow suit or face protest at its stores.
The UK retailer John Lewis announced early this month that it is no longer stocking Ahava products. In a letter to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, John Lewis’s Managing Director wrote, “As a socially responsible retailer, John Lewis takes very seriously the treatment of workers and their working conditions. We expect all our suppliers not only to obey the law, but also to respect the rights, interests and well-being of their employees, their communities and the environment.” He went on to say: ‘In relation to your specific enquiry about Ahava Dead Sea products, I can confirm that John Lewis has ceased stocking these particular products”. 
Video of Open Shuhada Street’s Ahava protest in October 2010:
On the other side of the Atlantic, The Bay, a major Canadian retailer, announced this month that it has decided to drop Ahava products.  The Bay publicly claimed that its decision to stop selling Ahava was not informed by “political considerations” but due to slow sales.  However, the international decline of Ahava’s sales is a direct result of the ongoing boycott campaign, as the CEO of Dead Sea Laboratories Ltd. recently admitted. 
Open Shuhada Street lauds John Lewis’s principled stance. We only hope that South African retailers will come to the same admirable conclusion. Like John Lewis, Wellness Warehouse professes to have high ethical standards. On its website, Wellness Warehouse claims to be “passionate about making it possible to live life well; a life that is healthy, environmentally sustainable, socially aware and responsible. This means caring for the earth and its people. It also means empowering our communities and suppliers.”
In transparent contradiction of this mission statement, Wellness Warehouse has refused to comply with Open Shuhada Street’s request that it stop selling Ahava.
Ahava products are manufactured by Dead Sea Laboratories Ltd., a privately held Israeli cosmetics company using minerals and mud from the Dead Sea. Their main factory is located in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the occupied West Bank. Ahava’s factory appropriates the water and land resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and operates without license from the Palestinian Authority. Selling Ahava products thus amounts to tacit support for the illegal Israeli occupation and human rights abuses.
Furthermore, selling Ahava products violates South African trade law. Ahava products are labelled as “Made in Israel,” but according to international law the West Bank cannot be considered part of the State of Israel, it is Occupied Palestinian Territory. Under South African trade law it is unlawful to market or sell products that carry false labels of origin.  Last year, Open Shuhada Street filed an affidavit with the South African Police Service charging Wellness Warehouse and Ahava’s South African importer, SDV Pharmaceuticals, with selling deceptively labelled Ahava products in violation of South African law.
John Lewis and The Bay decided to stop selling Ahava products this month. Now, it is Wellness Warehouse’s turn. Open Shuhada Street reiterates its call to Wellness Warehouse – stop tacitly supporting the illegal Israeli occupation!
Unless Wellness Warehouse removes Ahava products from its shelves before 4 February, 2011, Open Shuhada Street will be forced to launch demonstrations at its stores.
 “BDS Movement Victory: John Lewis Stops Stocking Ahava Products in Britain” (http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2011/01/14-0)
 Report on The Bay dropping Ahava products from the Stolen Beauty (http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/424/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=5536)
 “The Bay drops Ahava, but not because of boycott” JTA, January 14, 2011. (http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/01/14/2742561/the-bay-drops-ahava-but-not-because-of-boycott)
 “The Canadian Retailer The Bay Drops Cosmetics Line as Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories Admits Declining Sales and Attempts to Rebrand; Victory for Human Rights Boycott Campaign”
 “Our Philosophy” Wellness Warehouse (http://www.wellnesswarehouse.com/about/?id=6)
 See section 7 of the Merchandise Marks Act (17 of 1941 as amended).
Circling the Drain is a term used in medical circles to describe a patient for whom death is impending and yet continues to cling to life.
Video courtesy of Seymour Alexander
Despite the Palestine Solidarity Campaign AGM being held, as well as other events going on today, over thirty human-rights demonstrators (plus a few new faces), campaigned, chanted, leafleted and spoke to local residents, shoppers and visitors informing them regarding Ahava’s corporate complicity in violations of international law over the sale of natural resources that are pillaged from illegally occupied territory. More than a few customers decided to impose their own boycott of Ahava after hearing about the human rights abuses committed by the Israeli Government against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
An observation in a previous post entitled The Return of Roberta Moore - that the Zionist Federation organised counter-demonstration is ‘melting away’ seems to be coming true. During the first half of today’s picket, no Zionist turned up which demonstrators, the police and even the Israeli security guard employed by Ahava welcomed. Protestors spread out in front of the shop and started to talk to people and leaflet from outside both pens without any interuptions or interference from any Zionists.
Last month, Ahava shop manager Rita made it clear that she considered the Zionists’ presence unwelcome and their behaviour detrimental to Ahava’s trade. So perhaps Zionist Federation Co Vice-Chair Jonathan Hoffman spent his Saturday in the pub, called it quits and admitted that his Ahava cause is a lost one.
In a new low, only TWO embarrassed-looking Zionist Federation counter-demonstrators eventually turned up (a third one was spotted, but left shortly afterwards) which made their cause look even worse, if that’s possible, when compared to the over thirty human-rights demonstrators present who were campaigning for altruism, equality, compassion and freedom, as well as the closure of the illegal settlement company Ahava.
I’ll leave you with a few photographs.
Report, The Electronic Intifada, 20 January 2011
Canadian and United Kingdom solidarity activists have scored recent victories towards deshelving cosmetics made in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.
Canadians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East (CPJME) reported that on 11 January, Canadian retail chain The Bay dropped Ahava products from its stores. Ahava cosmetic products are made from materials from the Dead Sea in the West Bank, assembled in the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem, and are labeled “made in Israel.”
The company itself is partially owned by Mitzpe Shalem and another settlement, Kalia. An international campaign focusing on the boycott of Ahava products has been making waves across Europe and North America over the last two years.
CPJME stated that The Bay dropped Ahava products because they had not “been meeting expectations,” and that the company had “quietly informed” its customers who had objected to the store stocking Ahava products that they would not continue to do so (“The Bay drops controversial AHAVA products,” 13 January 2011).
However, two days later, The Bay (known also as HBC), issued a joint statement with Canada-based Jewish groups who had immediately protested the retail chain’s decision. The move to drop Ahava products was “solely for commercial reasons,” and that “at no point did political considerations enter into” the decision, the statement claims (“The Bay drops Ahava, but not because of boycott,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency,” 14 January 2011).
The announcement adds that Ahava products will be rebranded and will be back on shelves across Canada by this spring. The Bay “neither subscribes to nor endorses politically-motivated boycotts of merchandise from countries with which Canada has open and established trading relationships, including Israel,” the statement says.
The Stolen Beauty campaign, which has been a key organizer of international boycotts of Ahava products, released an action alert this week encouraging boycott supporters to thank HBC, regardless of its future plans and reasons for stopping its sales of Ahava. “Your message of thanks is crucial as right-wing, pro-occupation groups berate and pressure The Bay to reinstate sales of Ahava,” the alert stated (“Thank you for dropping Ahava products!“).
Nevertheless, The Bay’s decision followed a similar move by British retail chain John Lewis, which had publicly announced on 7 January that it has stopped stocking and selling Ahava products.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign issued a press release welcoming John Lewis’ decision, and reprinted part of a letter drafted by the company to the activist group (“John Lewis stops stocking Ahava products in Britain,” 14 January 2011).
Andy Street, John Lewis’ managing director, wrote: “As a socially responsible retailer, John Lewis takes very seriously the treatment of workers and their working conditions. We expect all our suppliers not only to obey the law, but also to respect the rights, interests and well-being of their employees, their communities and the environment … In relation to your specific enquiry about Ahava Dead Sea products, I can confirm that John Lewis has ceased stocking these particular products.”
Sarah Colborne, director of operations with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, stated that Ahava and other companies that profit from Israel’s illegal occupation are being sent a clear message by consumers.
“Although governments, including our own, are failing to end Israel’s violations of international law and human rights, we can all take action by refusing to buy Israeli goods and joining the movement for [boycott, divestment and sanctions],” Colborne said. “The [Palestine Solidarity Campaign] will continue to ensure that companies which profit from Israel’s occupation pay the price for their complicity in Israel’s crimes.”
Meanwhile, across the world, solidarity activists continue to campaign with the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment and sanctions.
Ireland artist join boycott pledge
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) announced that two hundred Irish artists have signed onto its Israel boycott pledge, with singer-songwriter Dylan Walshe joining as the latest signatory.
IPSC launched its national campaign in August 2010 in an effort to encourage Irish cultural workers to “avail of any invitation to perform or exhibit in Israel, nor to accept any funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights (“Irish artists’ pledge to boycott Israel reaches 200 signatories,” 13 January 2011).”
Walshe joins high-profile Irish artists who have committed to the boycott, such as actor Stephen Rea and musician Christy Moore. Raymond Deane, IPSC Cultural Boycott Officer and contributor to The Electronic Intifada, stated in the press release that “[a]s the Israeli state becomes ever more racist, expansionist and oppressive, we have seen the growth in its isolation by international civil society through the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”
Deane, who is also a composer and himself a signatory to the pledge, added, “[t]he success of this boycott pledge is indicative of wider feelings toward Israel, both in Ireland and around the world. Indeed, similar pledges and initiatives are being organized in many other countries.”
Boycott of Israel Philharmonic’s US tour urged
Palestine-based activists with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) issued a statement on 16 January calling for US solidarity groups to boycott the upcoming American tour of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, scheduled for February (“Boycott the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra on its US Tour!,” 16 January 2011).
PACBI said the orchestra is scheduled to perform in Palm Beach, New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. “We urge activists to continue the principled tradition of activists in New York and Los Angeles in 2007, when they protested the [orchestra's] appearance in their cities,” states the press release.
“As befits an institution that identifies with the Israeli state, the [Israel Philharmonic] proudly announces its partnership with the army under a scheme whereby special concerts for Israeli soldiers are organized at their army outposts,” PACBI adds. “The orchestra has lent itself to the official Israeli propaganda campaign titled Brand Israel, which aims to divert attention from Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian rights to its artistic and scientific achievements.”
PACBI encourages boycott activists in the US to protest and boycott the orchestra’s concerts, saying that as long as it continues to partner with the Israeli government in “planning, implementing and whitewashing war crimes and international law violations,” Israel’s cultural establishment “cannot be exempted from the growing boycott movement.”
Israeli activists initiate boycott campaigns
Activists with the Israeli group Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call From Within (BFW) drafted a letter to British Telecom (BT) on 18 January, calling for the company to cut ties with the Israeli telecommunications company Bezeq International (“Boycott From Within’s letter to BT,” 18 January 2011).
In January 2010, BT incorporated Bezeq International, a subsidiary of Bezeq Israel, into its Global Alliance. The Bezeq corporation provides telecommunication services to illegal Israeli settlement colonies in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Thousands of British customers of BT have already joined a campaign calling for the companies to cut ties.
“We are saddened and dismayed by your company’s complicity in severe breaches of international law and the violation of human rights through your relationship with Bezeq International, and call on you to end this relationship at once,” states the activists’ letter. “By partnering with Bezeq, [British Telecom] is supporting the infrastructure which enables illegal Israeli settlements, built in violation of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, to exist,” the letter adds.
“We maintain that such willful blindness to Israeli crimes is not only immoral, but is also in contrast to [British Telecom's] fiduciary responsibility to its investors, as it may put the company’s high-regard in the international community at risk.”
Meanwhile, BFW activists say they helped play a key role in the recent decision by French pop star Vanessa Paradis to cancel a planned concert in Tel Aviv.
After the group drafted a letter urging Paradis and her partner, American film icon Johnny Depp, to cancel their upcoming visit, the singer announced on 15 January that her performance was cancelled.
The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that insiders close to the star claimed that Paradis “acceded to calls to cancel the show made by Palestinian solidarity groups” (“Did pop star Paradis cancel Israel concert over politics?,” 16 January 2011).
BFW activists have launched a similar campaign directed at American singer Macy Gray, who this week posted on her Facebook page that she was considering canceling her performance in Tel Aviv due to Israel’s “disgusting” treatment of Palestinians.
“I’m getting alot [sic] of letters from activists urging/begging me to boycott by NOT performing in protest of Apartheid against the Palestinians,” Gray posted on her page.
Activists with BFW stated that “[c]oming to perform in Israel has become a political act, a statement of support for the State of Israel’s ongoing crimes and human rights violations. It is also an act against a rapidly growing nonviolent, human-rights based civil society Palestinian movement (“Macy Gray, Performing in Israel is Already Political – Stand for Human Rights and Cancel!“).”
By Mary-Jo Nadeau | January 20, 2011
This month, the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) have discontinued sales of Ahava cosmetic products. Ahava is an Israeli company that has been a target of the Palestinian campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
HBC was the main retailer in Canada that carries Ahava’s line, and has been targeted by a number of Palestine solidarity group over the past 18 months. Many participated in the campaign across the country, including Tadamon in Montreal, the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid in Toronto, with Canadians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East being the latest group to join in.
HBC’s decision was seen as a major BDS victory, and is being widely celebrated by BDS activists. After receiving a deluge of angry pro-Israeli e-mails and supportive pro-Palestinian e-mails, HBC partnered up with the Canada-Israeli Committee (CIC) to issue a joint statement announcing that the discontinuation of Ahava was a business decision, not a political one.
In addition to revealing that Ahava sales have been declining for some time, and admitting that it was not profitable to carry their products, HBC also affirmed their support for Israel and promised to launch a reformulated Ahava line the spring. Pro-Israel groups quickly declared victory and proclaimed that HBC made a business decision that had nothing to do with BDS.
A debate is now taking place within the BDS movement about whether the HBC decision is a victory. We believe that it is, and here’s why.
Ahava: a major international boycott target
In 2005, over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations endorsed a call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law. All Israeli companies profit from and contribute to Israeli apartheid and are therefore targets of the BDS campaign.
Ahava became a focus of BDS activists because of its particularly egregious role in the occupation of the West Bank. The company is majority-owned by two West Bank settlements, has manufacturing facilities in those settlements and its entire product line is manufactured from materials stolen from the Dead Sea, which is located in the occupied West Bank. Building settlements in and extracting resources from occupied territories is illegal under international law. Ahava’s entire operation is therefore in contravention of the Geneva Conventions. Companies that sell Ahava products are also in violation of international law.
HBC decision: Apolitical business decision or BDS victory?
The ultimate goal of the BDS campaign is to put economic and political pressure on Israel, but a key step in achieving this goal is education and raising awareness about Israeli apartheid. Every time a BDS story makes headlines, we achieve a victory because it engages the public in a debate about Israel, Palestine and the BDS campaign. When these debates happen, people around the world increasingly side with Palestinians precisely because the facts emerging from a 60-year history of Palestinian dispossession, displacement and ethnic cleansing by Israel are undeniable.
Moreover, the Ahava debate is taking place as we mark the two-year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s massacre in Gaza, which left over 1,400 Palestinians dead, over 5,000 injured and at least 6,000 homes destroyed or severely damaged. After five years of the growing BDS campaign and in the wake of atrocities like Cast Lead, the on-going siege on Gaza, home demolitions and the continued construction of the apartheid wall, the Israeli narrative is rapidly losing ground. The Zionist outcry about HBC’s decision shows their increasing fear of BDS.
Beyond their educational value, the purpose of consumer boycotts is to hit Israeli companies where it hurts — their bottom-line. By HBC’s own admission, Ahava sales have been declining for some time now. Ahava is reformulating and rebranding because their image has been so badly damaged by the BDS campaign. This is all good news — the BDS campaign is affecting this company’s profits.
Significantly, these declining sales have happened despite efforts by the CIC’s Buycott campaign, which has urged supporters to buy Israeli goods, including Ahava products. Their strategy is clearly failing to stop BDS and apparently is not even effective enough to keep Ahava profitable in Canada. This is more good news.
BDS and big business
The BDS campaign is not built on the naive assumption that corporations will drop Israeli products out of some moral imperative. HBC is Canada’s oldest corporation and has been profiting off of colonialism and genocide here in Canada for generations. We do not expect HBC or any other big business to take a courageous stand against Israeli apartheid. Our goal is to apply intense public pressure so that carrying Israeli goods ceases to be profitable. It will take time to build the kind of momentum needed to make that a reality, but we are well on our way. Ahava is no longer profitable to HBC and the BDS movement will continue to educate and agitate until this true of all Israeli goods sold in Canada.
Mary-Jo Nadeau is a member of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) and Faculty 4 Palestine.
THE RETURN OF Roberta Moore
By Bradley Marchal
Before hearing a few weeks ago that the figurehead of the far-right Islamophobic English Defence League’s (EDL) Jewish Division, Kahanist Roberta Moore recently made a brief appearance in the media, I always wondered what happened to Moore, who was at one time Ahava’s and Jonathan Hoffman’s biggest supporter on Monmouth Street, only to suddenly disappear without a trace.
Moore, who never really enjoyed much popular support, was eventually reduced to pleading on the Jewish Division’s Facebook page for non-existent sympathizers to mobilise for counter-demos, threatening them with expulsion if they failed to turn up. The last time Moore and her skanky cohorts came out to show their support for Zionism was during the Ahava demonstration on Saturday, 23 October. That was the day before Kahanist Moore and American ‘Surfing Rabbi’, Nachum Shifren delivered speeches before EDL supporters outside the Israeli Embassy in London. The highlight of that event was when someone had enough of Moore’s drivel and threw water on the sound system in the middle of her speech. If you can stomach it, you can view that here, with the interruption edited out at 3:40.
Many people, including myself, wondered why Moore abandoned Ahava, Hoffman and the Zionist Federation, who at the moment look like they’re all down for the count. The decision, recently publicised by John Lewis not to sell Ahava – comes right on the heels of the Canadian department store chain The Bay to do the same, which means at the moment, things are really looking dire.
Just as bad for the Zionists, is that during the past few Ahava actions, several demoralised counter-demonstrators offered not to turn up if boycott activists agreed to call off their campaign, which confirms that cracks are definitely beginning to appear in the Zionist Federation camp.
Some possible answers to questions regarding the motives of Moore and the EDL can be found by reading blogs posted on thejc.com, the Jewish Chronicle’s website. Browsing through thejc.com must be comparable to rummaging through a rubbish tip, as now I understand why some notable people refer to it as “JCrap”, but eventually I found some of the missing pieces of the puzzle.
Why did Moore stop attending the counter-demonstrations?
On a 20th November JC blog posting entitled “Buycott Day 1. Not a good show”, Moore, using one of her pseudonyms, “Ufara Bat-Asherah” explains the EDL’s reasoning for not attending the Saturday counter-demonstrations:
“The Jewish Division believes that Ahava must start court proceedings against the demonstrators on harassment and racist charges and not tolerate such protests outside” “But they (the EDL) do not see fit to waste their weekends doing repetitive counter-demonstrations outside the Ahava if the shop itself will not take a firm action against it.”
Observing the Jewish Division’s very small turnout, one also suspects a more obvious reason for pulling out rather than the one stated above by Moore.
Was Moore and the EDL motivated by any other factors?
Despite their alleged allegiance to Zionism, Moore and the EDL may have had an ulterior motive, which was to use the Ahava BUYcott for financial gain.
Activists monitoring the Jewish Division’s Facebook page throughout November 2010, confirmed Moore was seeking two other people to mount an all-night security detail (described as “a soldier’s duty”) outside the Ahava shop during the night of Friday, 19 November, hours before the BUYcott was due to start.
In the 20 November blog, this is what “Ufara Bat-Asherah” (Moore) writes:
“Furthermore Ahava were hesitant to appoint security to protect their shop the night before the buycott, and the EDL thinks that this was the minimum they could have done to protect themselves and not expect others to volunteer to keep their shop safe.”
So were the EDL expecting payment for their services? Whatever the answer, we now know that there was no EDL goon squad standing guard outside the Ahava shop during the night of Friday, 19 November.
As it turned out, thanks to a widely-promoted EDL rally on Monmouth Street that never materialised, activists reported a very low turnout on Saturday, the first day of the BUYcott. By sheer coincidence, sometime during the early hours of Sunday, 21 November, Ahava’s locks were allegedly superglued and the shop remained closed for an extended time until a locksmith arrived - which sealed the BUYcott’s fate and turned it into a non-event.
Who organises the Ahava counter-demonstration?
Moore (again using her “Ufara Bat-Asherah” pseudonym) also trashes the Zionist Federation Co Vice-Chair Jonathan Hoffman’s claim that the fortnightly Ahava counter-demo is organised solely by himself and not the ZF.
In a 22 October 2010 blog entitled: “Letter published in JC today about Ahava demos”, Hoffman writes:
“First, this (the Ahava counter-demonstration) is not a ZF-organised demonstration. The ZF does not organise events on Shabbat. I organise it.”
The Zionist Federation doesn’t organise events on Shabbat? Not entirely true Jonathan. On a JC blog posted 18 November, Hoffman claims that the Ahava BUYcott, held during the weekend of the 20/21 November “is a Zionist Federation initiative.” The weekend BUYcott was also publicised on the Zionist Federation’s website.
Almost one month after Hoffman made his claim that he alone organises the counter-demonstration, Moore, using her ‘nom de guerre’, writes in a 20 November blog:
“…since the ZF is responsible for arranging this counter-demo at the Ahava, they (the EDL) do not want to steal their limelight.”
So there you have it. The truth laid bare and Jonathan Hoffman is exposed once again – this time by Moore, a close ally who inadvertently spills the beans.
Not only is the Ahava counter-demonstration organised by the Zionist Federation (on Shabbat nonetheless), but Moore admits that she pulled out because she didn’t “want to steal their limelight.”
Now if only Ahava would pull out as quickly as Moore did, that would make this a truly happy ending.
January 14 – Ahava’s goods, processed on stolen Palestinian land, are becoming too hot to handle. Leading British retail business John Lewis is now refusing to stock this toxic brand. Canadian retailer The Bay has also confirmed that it had also discontinued sales of Ahava products. John Lewis’ decision signifies yet another victory for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Consumers are refusing to buy goods from companies profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation.
John Lewis’ Managing Director, Andy Street, wrote to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in a letter dated 7 January:
‘As a socially responsible retailer, John Lewis takes very seriously the treatment of workers and their working conditions. We expect all our suppliers not only to obey the law, but also to respect the rights, interests and well-being of their employees, their communities and the environment.’
He ended by stating:
‘In relation to your specific enquiry about Ahava Dead Sea products, I can confirm that John Lewis has ceased stocking these particular products’.
Sarah Colborne, PSC’s Director of Campaigns and Operations, said:
‘PSC welcomes John Lewis’ decision to stop stocking Ahava products. Israel’s continued attacks on the Palestinian population – whether living under a brutal blockade in Gaza, under illegal occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, or under constant assault inside Israel, has led to a seismic shift in public opinion, with the movement for peace and justice for Palestinians gaining massive support internationally.
‘Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israeli cosmetics company, has its manufacturing plant and visitors’ centre based in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the West Bank. The company is 44 per cent owned by Mitzpe Shalem and another settlement, Kalia, so Ahava’s profits subsidise these illegal colonies.
‘Ahava’s manufacturing plant is in an illegal Israeli settlement, on stolen Palestinian land. Its beauty products can’t conceal the role Ahava plays in Israel’s dirty occupation. Ahava, and other companies profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation, are being sent a clear message by consumers who are refusing to buy their products. Although governments, including our own, are failing to end Israel’s violations of international law and human rights, we can all take action by refusing to buy Israeli goods and joining the movement for BDS. The PSC will continue to ensure that companies which profit from Israel’s occupation pay the price for their complicity in Israel’s crimes’.
In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call for international boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel. PSC launched its national boycott campaign in 2002, and supports fortnightly protests outside Ahava’s store in Covent Garden, London.
 The Bay has confirmed that it had discontinued sales of Ahava products – with their CEO Bonnie Brooks saying on 13 January 2011: ‘the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) discontinued sales of AHAVA beauty products, primarily because of sales results which had been declining for several years.’ It acknowledged that ‘Although this decision was made by HBC solely for commercial reasons, it occurred at the same time as an aggressive campaign by several groups advocating a boycott of AHAVA products.’
Thank John Lewis for their decision not to sell Ahava products:
Call their Customer Service team on 08456 049 049, any time between 7am and midnight, 7 days a week. (Local rate number for BT users only. As mobile and other network call charges may vary, please refer to your service provider for more details.)
Write to: Customer Services, John Lewis plc, PO Box 19615, Erskine PA8 6WU.
The Canadian Retailer ‘The Bay’ Drops Cosmetics Line as Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories Admits Declining Sales and Attempts to Rebrand; Victory for Human Rights Boycott Campaign
Yesterday was an amazing day when, in open recognition of declining sales and the toxicity of the brand, the CEO of giant Canadian retailer The Bay, together with the heads of Canada’s main pro-Israel lobby groups, let slip that Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israeli cosmetics manufacturer based in an illegal settlement in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank, is pulling its products off the shelf, curtailing international distribution of its signature line and attempting to rebrand its now tarnished image.
This victory for the Stolen Beauty Ahava boycott was made possible by the extraordinary efforts of grassroots human rights campaigners from North America, The United Kingdom, France, The Czech Republic, South Africa, Israel, and Palestine, among others countries, to hold Ahava accountable for its violations of international law and its unconscionable occupation profiteering.
But even with this acknowledgement of the success of our campaign, now is not the time to let up the pressure. In the same statement announcing its rationale for dropping Ahava from its inventory, The Bay announced that Ahava would be back with a new, re-branded product line in the spring. This attempt to fool international consumers with a repackaged brand will not go unchallenged, and our campaign will continue.
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. 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.
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 was created in 2005 in response to Israel’s many violations of Palestinian rights. The BDS movement 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. Says Rae Abileah, a Jewish American of Israeli descent and a campaigner with CODEPINK, “Ahava means love in Hebrew, but there is no love in occupation. We are part of a grassroots effort to bring about a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.”
Email ’The Bay’ (Stolen Beauty form letter - just fill in your details).
NEXT AHAVA DEMO: Sat 22 Jan, 12-2, 39 Monmouth Street WC2
Video courtesy of Mr Alex Seymour
After a break during the Christmas and New Year period, pro-Palestine human rights demonstrators came together for the first Ahava protest of 2011. As usual, no fewer than eleven police were in attendance as were a small number of Zionists to oppose the campaign.
Over the two-hour period, campaigners chanted, sang and spoke with passers-by about the Ahava and the broader campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Many members of the public were attracted by Debbie’s operatic voice and came to see what was going on and enquire about it. A significant number of passers-by were supportive of the campaign and pleased to see demonstrators out in force, similarly, those who weren’t aware of the campaign, were pleased to find out more.
Among the people campaigners spoke to included a self-described left-wing Israeli man and his wife who said that they both deeply ashamed of their government and assured us that many of their fellow citizens share their feelings. They fully supported the boycott campaign and wished us the best of luck.
Co Vice-Chair of the Zionist Federation, Jonathan Hoffman, as usual, was bumbling about despite Ahava management on the 23rd Dec asking him not to be present. Calling the boycott campaign a “nazi boycott”, he was similarly determined as ever to make unsupported accusations about human rights campaigners, which is no real shock considering Israel’s recent denouncement of Israeli human rights organisations as acting against their interests.
Ahava has been the subject of an ongoing international campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against both Israeli and settlement produce. All of Ahava’s products, baring their tweezers, are manufactured on the illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem. The settlement and the factory are in violation of the Fourth Geneva Conventions and in addition, the products contravene UK DEFRA (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) guidelines on labelling, as they are claimed to have been produced in Israel, which the guidelines explicitly state would be a crime.
The next protest against Ahava will take place on Saturday 22nd January from 12 noon till 2pm. New faces are always welcome.
Adidas – Don’t Run with Apartheid
Protestors Demand Adidas Kick The Occupation to the Kerb
08 Jan 2011
Today, Palestine solidarity activists visited the Adidas store in Covent Garden, London, to protest the company’s sponsorship of the Jerusalem Marathon, due to take place in March 2011.
A small group of protestors entered the shop and spoke with a member of management explaining the issue and presenting a letter to be forwarded to the UK and European head offices. The management were cooperative and aware of the issue at hand. Protestors continued outside the shop to give leaflets to passers-by and those entering the shop which asked them to demand that Adidas withdraw’s its sponsorship. Passers-by were supportive and engaged and mentioned to us about the Ahava campaign that was going on round the corner in Monmouth Street. It was a boost to all to know local people did take notice and knew about the issues.
Over recent weeks a global campaign has kicked off against Adidas under the mantle, “Adidas: Don’t Run with Apartheid”. Protests and letters have been sent from across the globe and there is some prospect that Adidas may respond to citizen pressure.
Currently, through its sponsorship, not only does Adidas’ support for this event undermine the Palestinian call for a cultural and sporting boycott of Israel, the proposed route of the marathon goes through the illegal settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev.
Where the construction of these illegal settlements are a violation of international law – namely the Fourth Geneva Convention, Adidas’ sponsorship of the marathon acts to aid and abet this war crime.
In addition, the marathon is organised by the same municipality that routinely organises house evictions and demolitions in East Jerusalem.
The construction of illegal settlements has caused the death of numerous Palestinian demonstrators who have gone to non-violently protest the theft of their land. We mourn the recent death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah who died as a result of inhaling tear gas fired at her by Israeli soldiers on 31/12/2010. Only a year previously, her brother, Basem Abu Rahmah died having been shot at with a tear gas canister directly to his chest at a protest in the same location.
More reasons why Adidas should withdraw its sponsorship of the Jerusalem Marathon can be found here.
The global campaign is asking for people worldwide to take the time to contact Adidas and demand they withdraw their involvement.
Here’s a sample letter:
I want to express my concern and disapproval at Adidas for sponsoring the forthcoming Jerusalem Marathon on the 25th March 2011. The route of the marathon will pass through Israeli controlled West Jerusalem, before winding its way around the illegal settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev which has been built on stolen Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem.
Where these settlements are located is a violation of international law, in particular, the Fourth Geneva Convention. Adidas’ sponsorship acts to aid and abet this war crime.
It is important to note that Adidas’ sponsorship of the marathon, whether in the current form or in a revised one, undermines the Palestinian call out for a cultural, sporting and economic boycott of Israel. In 2005, hundreds of Palestinian civil society, trade union and charitable organisations came together in unison to call for global non-violent citizen action through a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign to pressure Israel into conforming with its human rights and international obligations.
Since 1967 Israel has moved over 260,000 Settlers into the Occupied Palestinian Territories, flouting international law and dozens of UN resolutions and forcing Palestinians of their land.
The marathon is organised by the same municipality that routinely organises house evictions and demolitions in East Jerusalem. Adidas’ sponsorship signals an international ‘business as usual’ message to apartheid and occupation, perpetuated by Israel, on behalf of Adidas.
I ask that Adidas withdraws its sponsorship of the Jerusalem Marathon and stands up and join the many companies, athletes, singers, celebrities, politicians and citizens worldwide who have already done so, for human rights and for an end to the apartheid occupation.
In the event that Adidas chooses to sponsor this event, people in London and throughout the world will ensure that every patron who walks through the doors of your shops, as well as Adidas stockists, will be informed as to exactly what they are supporting.
Add your voice to the growing numbers and make a real impact!
you can send a message to Adidas UK here.
08 Jan 2011
On the way back, we noticed this poster at an underground (subway) station (below) advertising a photo exhibition at London’s Natural History Museum sponsored by Veolia, a firm complicit in the ongoing occupation and dispossession of the Palestinian people.