JCrap.com (the Jewish Chronicle) today posted the news on their website that the campaign against Ahava has scored a direct hit. The landlord, Shaftesbury PLC will not renew Ahava’s lease after over a year of regular fortnightly demonstrations and direct actions. The shop’s neighbours are also keen to see Ahava leave and most have voiced support for the BDS campaign against the company.
It’s interesting to note that this news broke a week after the trial of four activists who locked themselves to an oil drum full of concrete inside the shop on two separate occasions. A verdict concerning their fate has been postponed until next month.
As one activist said, “Ahava is on the run.” This is a victory for the BDS Movement and everyone who worked so hard on this campaign. The JCrap article exposes for all to see, the ulterior motives of this ‘little shop of horrors’ – much to no one’s surprise.
Odelia Haroush, the shop Manager and Director of Dead Sea Laboratories UK, should rest assured that no matter where Ahava might relocate, the campaign against injustice will continue.
Let’s savour this victory, but not rest on our laurels. Demonstrations in Monmouth Street should continue until we see an empty shop.
Here’s the article:
Protests drive Ahava out of Covent Garden
By Robyn Rosen
Created 31 Mar 2011 – 11:01am
The UK branch of Israeli cosmetics store, Ahava, is moving from its central London shop after years of pro-Palestinian demonstrations.
Protesters claim that the products sold in the store are manufactured in a factory in Israeli settlement, Mitzpe Shalom in the West Bank but are “misleadingly” labelled as produced in Israel.
The owner of the shop, currently in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, is looking for other sites after owners of neighbouring stores complained to the landlord
Supporters claim it has been “chased out” of its location by regular “noisy and intimidating” demonstrations.
A spokeswoman for Shaftesbury PLC, which owns the property as well as several others in the Seven Dials area, said: “When Ahava’s lease expires in September, we will not offer them a new one.”
Pro-Palestinian protesters have been demonstrating fortnightly outside the shop, which opened in April 2007, for more than two years. A counter group of pro-Israeli supporters also demonstrate outside.
Police were drafted in to control the protests and set up a meeting last October
between the protesters and other shop managers.
Last week, four demonstrators stood trial for aggravated trespass after they chained themselves to a concrete block inside the store last year.
Colin George, manager of clothes shop The Loft, next door to Ahava, said: “I’m
pleased Ahava is leaving. It’s brought the street down. I’ve complained to the
landlords, as has everyone here. Everyone would like them to leave. I wish they
had left two years ago.
“Protesters are just going to follow them around, wherever they go. Maybe they should be an online business instead.”
Ahava UK’s accounts up until the end of 2009 show a total loss of more than £250,000, despite receiving more than £300,000 from its Israeli parent company, with no repayment plan.
Odelia Haroush, director of the UK branch of Ahava, Dead Sea Laboratories UK, said: “We are now in the process of looking for another location.”
She said that she was looking in several places, including sites in north-west
“Shaftesbury PLC own most of Covent Garden and some of the other
properties in our street belong to them,” she said. “Other retailers
are very upset with what’s going on and Shaftesbury PLC doesn’t want to inflame
“It’s very important to the Israeli company to have a presence in the UK. It’s not
just about making money. It has a big cosmetic market and we want to be a
RichardMillett, who attends the counter-demonstrations, said: “Maybe the
neighbours could have had a more positive role and spoken to the protesters,
rather than take it out on Ahava.
“It’s sad that this country will allow a lawfully trading shop to be chased out
because of the politics of people who disagree with Israel’s basic