EXCLUSIVE: Another retailer drops Ahava!

Crouch End’s Petter Pharmacy: No Ahava sold here anymore!

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the upcoming first anniversary of the closure of Ahava’s shop on London’s Monmouth Street than by revealing the exclusive news that another retailer is refusing to carry the notorious brand made using stolen Palestinian natural resources.

Ahava is no longer available at Petter Pharmacy, a well-known chemist and beauty clinic that’s been serving locals in North London’s up-market Crouch End district located in the London Borough of Haringey for over 40 years.

As many already know, Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israeli cosmetics firm, uses Palestinian natural resources plundered by the company near Kalia, a West Bank settlement and has its manufacturing plant and visitors centre based in another settlement, Mitzpe Shalem.

Like all Israeli settlements in the West Bank, both Kalia and Mitzpe Shalem are considered illegal under International Law. If that’s not enough, Ahava has also been accused by many of flouting both UK consumer and tax laws.

The company, alone among beauty product manufacturers, refuses to publicly disclose details of its distributors and sufferers from much unwelcome attention which is a result of being the target of an international boycott campaign.

Tarnished by bad publicity and a series of international setbacks, Ahava retailers have been subjected to numerous complaints, legal challenges and high-profile public demonstrations organised by activists and human rights campaign groups. In 2011, an Ahava spokesperson admitted: “The protests damaged our image and created negative media coverage.”

Petter Pharmacy first came to our attention some time ago when we heard that a few courageous local people of conscience appealed to the owner not to sell Ahava, but unfortunately no campaign ever materialised like the successful one on Monmouth Street that resulted in the highly publicised closure of its only UK shop in September 2011.

The sight of two shelves of stolen natural resources (below) confronted us during our first visit to Petter’s.

There’s no love for Ahava at Petter Pharmacy.

However, during a recent trip prior to the start of an upcoming campaign, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that not one bottle or jar of Ahava was on display.

“We no longer sell Ahava” said the sales assistant who also indirectly hinted her awareness of the poisonous brand’s reputation. This was echoed by a manager who told us that the decision to discontinue selling Ahava was made “some time ago.”

Petter Pharmacy joins other retailers, including Selfridges, Harrods and major UK department store chain John Lewis, who in January 2011 confirmed that they no longer carry the brand.

This comes on top of the recent news that the EU is considering a ban on imports of products originating from Israel’s illegal West Bank settlements.

Good news indeed!

Why not thank Petter Pharmacy for their decision to discontinue stocking Ahava. Email them at: contact@petterpharmacy.com

We’ll leave you with some images of Crouch End:

The Crouch End Clock Tower, a local landmark.

A nice representation of the name CROUCH END in an art gallery window incorporating some local landmarks and scenes of life in the area.

We LOVE Crouch End even more now that it’s Ahava-free!

Film, wine, apartheid and the British Council

UPDATED 13 June 2012

Wine from illegally occupied Golan Heights offered at British Council sponsored event

Golan Wines: Definitely not Kosher.

Between June 14th -18th, the first ever Israeli film and television festival called SERET (“movie” in Hebrew) will be taking place at the Odeon Swiss Cottage (where most of the screenings are), the Everyman cinemas in Hampstead, Belsize Park, Maida Vale and Baker Street, as well as at the Jewish Community Centre for London located at 94-96 North End Road, NW11.

Sponsors of SERET include amongst others, the British Council, BICOM, the Embassy of Israel in the UK and the Golan Heights Winery, who are offering tastings before many of the screenings.

Several British academics who are members of BRICUP (British Committee for the Universities of Palestine) recently sent an open letter to the British Council urging Chief Executive Martin Davidson CMG, as well as Director Arts Graham Sheffield CBE to withdraw their sponsorship since Golan wines come from the illegally occupied Golan Heights and are an illegal product under international law.

Odelia Haroush – What next?

One of SERET’s organisers is none other than Odelia Haroush, the hapless ex-manager of Ahava’s only UK shop that closed in September 2011 as a direct result of a two-year campaign waged by human rights activists.

Haroush, not exactly the brightest spark, once served in the IOF’s intelligence corps, yet claimed the West Bank was part of Israel and was also responsible for employing Ahava’s staff, one of whom infamously told a Jewish human rights campaigner filming outside the Ahava shop that the Jews killed Christ.

A surreal interview with Haroush is featured in The Times of Israel whose headline Israeli culture festival to open amid ambivalent atmosphere in UK was recently softened from “Amid rampant anti-Israel sentiment in UK’s cultural spheres, a new Israeli festival opens“.

The same story’s byline warns that “…police have been invited just in case,” but neglects to add that a large police turnout failed to stop successful actions at the Royal Albert Hall in September 2011, the Globe Theatre in May 2012 – or at the Ahava shop, where police were also present.

The Zionist Jewish Chronicle newspaper offers similar propaganda under the laughingly misleading headline The Ahava woman who beat the boycotters.

That’s news to us!

Beat the boycotters? This was the UK’s only Ahava shop shortly after it closed in September 2011 as a result of a two-year campaign waged by human rights campaigners.

A screenshot from the SERET site advertising Golan Wine tastings before the screening.

The British Council, the Israeli Embassy in the UK, Golan Heights Winery, BICOM and Eden (Springs) are among the sponsors of SERET. Given Haroush’s past employment, it’s no surprise that Ahava isn’t also included.

Here’s the BRICUP letter:

London, 12 June 2012

Dear Martin Davidson and Graham Sheffield,

We’re worried about something. The British Council appears to be inviting London film-goers to collude in a breach of international law. Can you confirm whether or not this is your intention?

The first ever Israeli Film and Television Festival is due to take place in London cinemas this week, starting June 14. The British Council are sponsors, along with the Israeli embassy, BICOM, and various British and Israeli business interests, including the Golan Heights Winery. This is what particularly worries us.

The festival is promising ‘a special tasting by Golan Wines’ before many of the screenings. But the Golan Heights Winery is in territory illegally annexed by Israel. We’ve checked UN Security Council resolution 497 of 1981, which says the Israeli annexation is ‘null and void and without international legal effect’. The British government voted for this resolution, and we can’t find any evidence that it’s officially changed its position.

Your sponsorship of a festival that is offering illegally produced wines from illegally annexed territory to London film-goers is troubling, to say the least. Will you be warning everyone before they raise a glass to their lips that the wine producers are breaking international law? And since it’s the British Foreign Secretary who is, according to your website, ‘answerable to parliament for the policies, operations and performance of the British Council’, did you check with him before you entered a partnership that violates UK government policy?

We respectfully request you, as a matter of urgency, to withdraw your sponsorship from the festival and the related ‘Industry Day’.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Haim Bresheeth
Jenny Morgan
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead

Take Action!

Express your outrage that the British Council is complicit in violations of international law and demand they withdraw their sponsorship from this event immediately.

UPDATE

13 June 2012

The following is The British Council’s response to this post:

Thank you for your posting.

We have a long record of work in education and culture in both Israel and the Palestinian territories. For the Film and TV festival we have contributed to the costs of bringing 7 film makers from Israel to visit London to take part in a training workshop, present their films and TV shows and meet with audiences and professionals.

We’re supporting this part of the festival because we believe that international cultural exchange makes a contribution to a more peaceful and prosperous world.

The festival is organised by SERET, so any questions about their choice of wine should be referred to them.

I hope this information is useful.

British Council

PROFESSIONAL BEAUTY dragged through the mud

Report by Carl B

Trades Exhibitions Ltd, organiser of the Professional Beauty 2012 show held on 4-5 March at London’s ExCeL centre, refused to provide an official statement why they permitted cosmetics company Ahava to sell their toxic and illegal products at one of the UK’s largest events for professionals in the health & beauty sector. Mark Moloney, owner of the company that organises the show was unavailable and failed to reply to emails and return phone calls.

Despite their official silence, the organisers admitted knowing all about the purveyor of illegal settlement Dead Sea cosmetics. “We know why you’re here” one employee told activists who enquired during a visit to the organiser’s office. In an attempt to whitewash their greed as much as their ignorance, the same person stated: “At the end of the day, we’re just a business.

Distributing flyers. And there were lots of takers!

Earlier, campaigners distributed several hundred flyers, further damaging Ahava’s already highly stigmatised image in the sector whose business the illegal Dead Sea cosmetics company is most keen to attract. More than one visitor said that they would not purchase any Ahava product and many also added they would urge their colleagues and friends to boycott the brand as well.

In January 2011, major UK department store chain John Lewis announced that it had joined a growing list of retailers who no longer carry Ahava and in September 2011, Ahava’s only UK outlet, near London’s Covent Garden, was forced to close as a result of a sustained campaign by human rights activists. Recently in Japan, The main distributor of Ahava products said that they would discontinue carrying the toxic brand.

In the UK, Ahava evades paying full duty on its exports by labelling its cosmetics as products of Israel, when in fact they are stolen from, processed and packaged in the occupied West Bank – recognised by the international community as illegally occupied territory. Ahava has also been accused of violating the UK Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations for false labelling.

Ahava - Docteur Renaud t-shirt worn by sales reps.

At Professional Beauty, Ahava was certainly keeping a low profile compared to earlier events – as one could easily walk by its stand without noticing it. Noticeable too was that they shared both space and staff with Docteur Renaud, a French cosmetics brand. Looking through their promotional literature revealed the two companies share the same UK business address, that suggests Ahava may very well be using another company to cross-sell their products.

Also noticeable and seen before, were several handwritten price lists hastily taped to bins containing small plastic containers of Ahava lotions – placed as if the company wanted to unload as much of their dodgy, toxic and illegal products as possible.

In a candid statement during a brief conversation, an Ahava representative openly admitted that they were told by company officials that the product is not illegal, presumably to pacify potential customers.

The low profile Ahava stand. Note the bins with the handwritten price lists in the corner.

Despite the show heaving with exhibitors selling direct to the health and beauty trade, Ahava was one of the few companies flogging their illegal goods to whoever would buy them, with no minimum purchase.

The next Professional Beauty event will be held in Manchester 14-15 October 2012.

There’s no beauty at this exhibition

Illegal settlement cosmetics company Ahava exhibits at Professional Beauty 2012

Report by London BDS

In September 2011, thanks to the work of human rights activists, along with a team of solicitors and barristers, Ahava closed its only shop in the UK as a result of a two-year campaign of fortnightly demonstrations, direct actions and legal challenges - though many would agree that the antics of the Zionist Federation’s Jonathan Hoffman also proved invaluable.

Not wanting to open another shop that would attract unwanted attention and generate further bad publicity for both themselves and their landlord, Ahava is seeking other ways to sell their dodgy lotions & potions. Nancy Kricorian, CodePink’s coordinator for its Stolen Beauty campaign, compared it to a game of whack-a-mole, as new places where Ahava is sold pop-up frequently.

For instance, we reported last November of a visit to the World Travel Market at London’s ExCeL centre where Ahava had a stand in the high-security Israel pavilion and in January 2012, the company began to peddle their wares direct to spa and salon owners up and down the country under the guise of a roadshow.

Professional Beauty, a beauty industry trade magazine, organises exhibitions throughout the UK targeted at salon owners and those who work in the beauty sector. According to the organisers, the two-day event at ExCeL last year drew over 33,000 visitors. Without a doubt and anyway you look at it,  Professional Beauty is one of the largest shows of its kind in Europe.

In October 2011, a coalition of human rights activists attended the Professional Beauty North show at Manchester Central where they staged a high-profile demonstration inside the venue, very near to the Ahava stand. Many more activists were outside, leafleting and engaging with the hundreds of visitors who attended that day.

London’s ExCeL centre.

Again exhibiting at Professional Beauty on the 4th and 5th of March at ExCeL is Ahava UK Ltd, who will again attempt to use the show as a platform to promote and sell their plundered potions to whoever they can. Ahava (at Stand H16) are still desperate to unload stock from their closed Monmouth Street shop and are even offering the gullable a 20% discount on their products. 

Organiser Mark Moloney: Ahava is a “law-abiding business.”

The company that organises the Professional Beauty show have repeatedly ignored appeals to bar Ahava. In an interview in Exhibition NewsTrade Exhibitions Managing Director Mark Moloney naively referred to Ahava as a “law-abiding business.”

Perhaps factually challenged or perhaps blinded by the substantial fee paid by every exhibitor to his company, Moloney may not realise that Ahava, a company found to be complicit in Israeli war crimes, violates the 4th Geneva Convention (of which the UK is a signatory), as well as the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. Moloney may be ignorant of the fact that Ahava cheats the UK government out of much-needed revenue by claiming – contrary to international consensus - that its products originate in Israel, thus eligible for a reduced tariff under the EU-Israel Trade Agreement. Also under doubt is whether Moloney knows anything about life under Israeli military occupation or has ever visited the region.

As covered in a February 2011 post, London activists were present both inside and outside of last year’s Professional Beauty exhibition at ExCeL, engaging with and distributing flyers to both visitors and exhibitors, exposing the notorious illegal settlement cosmetics company.

At ExCel in February 2011.

We hope that Trade Exhibitions Ltd and especially its owner, Mark Moloney will see sense and bar Ahava from exhibiting at any future Professional Beauty event.

After all, supporting apartheid can be bad for business.

*****

KNOW YOUR ENEMY: AHAVA

Pat Strutt, Ahava UK’s Managing Director.

Here’s an interview with the Managing Director of Ahava UK Ltd, Pat Strutt, posted on the Professional Beauty site on 12 September 2011 – about a week before the Ahava shop on Monmouth Street closed for good. The page also includes a link to Ahava’s training programme.

If you’re going to be in London on the 4th & 5th of March (Sunday and Monday), you can register to attend Professional Beauty 2012 for free here.

On Facebook, you can leave a message on the Professional Beauty Facebook page or tweet: @pro_beauty

And contact details for Trade Exhibitions Ltd:

3.21 The Plaza
535 Kings Road
London SW10 0SZ
Tel: 020 7351 0536
Email: info@professionalbeauty.co.uk
 

In August 2011, CodePink activists were at the COSMOPROF beauty exhibition in Las Vegas where Ahava was exhibiting. This video is definitely worth watching:

Visit www.stolenbeauty.org to find out why Ahava is such a dirty business.

The INDEPENDENT: Natural History Museum attacked over links to ‘illegal’ Israeli company

London's Natural History Museum

UPDATED: 23 January

 EXTRA, EXTRA!

 Note: The article and letter below were published in the 17 January 2012 edition of The Independent, a major UK national daily newspaper. 

It’s beyond belief that the Natural History Museum is so deeply involved with both Ahava and Veolia - two companies that were proven beyond a doubt to be complicit in Israel’s violation of international law – and yet care so little about public opinion, despite receiving funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.  

We encourage all people of conscience to contact the Natural History Museum on one of their many platforms and urge them to immediately terminate their involvement with both Ahava and Veolia.

Please see the ‘WHAT YOU CAN DO’ section at the bottom of this post for contact information and links.  

ARTICLE: Natural History Museum attacked over links to ‘illegal’ Israeli company
The INDEPENDENT, Tuesday 17 January 2012
 
By Cahal MILMO
 

The Natural History Museum is today accused by a coalition of prominent academics and cultural figures of helping to break international law by leading a research project which involves an Israeli cosmetics company based in an “illegal” settlement in the occupied West Bank.

In a letter to The Independent (scroll down), leading scientists and the film directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, condemn the London museum – which is the fourth most visited in Britain – for its research collaboration with Ahava – Dead Sea Laboratories (DSL), which sells beauty products based on minerals extracted from the Dead Sea.

The museum, which has a substantial academic research team, is co-ordinating NANORETOX, a European Union-funded project looking at any risks to human health and the environment posed by so-called nanoparticles – microscopic engineered materials which scientists are developing for multiple uses from cancer treatment to double glazing.

Ahava-DSL, which is one of a dozen institutions and companies involved in the project including two University of London colleges, has its registered headquarters listed in Israel but most of its activities are carried out in Mitzpe Shalem, a Jewish settlement on the edge of the Dead Sea in the West Bank.

Settlements in the Occupied Territories have been declared illegal under international law by the United Nations and the International Court of Justice. But despite international condemnation, the Israeli government insists that a large number of the settlements, including more than 120 on the West Bank, are not illegal.

In their letter, the 21 signatories, who include the eminent biologist Sir Patrick Bateson, president of the Zoological Society of London, and leading intellectual Sir Jonathan Miller, claim that the Natural History Museum’s connection with Ahava-DSL means that it is “co-ordinating an activity that breaks international law”.

They said: “[Ahava-DSL] extracts, processes and exports Palestinian resources to generate profits that fund an illegal settlement. Israel’s settlement project has been held… to break international law. Organisations which aid and abet this process may well themselves be found to be in violation.

“We find it almost inconceivable that a national institution of the status of the Natural History Museum should have put itself in this position. We call on the museum to take immediate steps to terminate its involvement in [the project] and to establish safeguards that protect against any comparable entanglement.”

The NANORETOX project began in December 2008 and is due to conclude at the end of this year, although campaigners say the involvement of Ahava-DSL has only now come to their attention. The company, which has conducted extensive research on nanoparticles for its products, was appointed to the project to supply materials and carry out toxicity tests.

The Natural History Museum yesterday defended its role in the research, saying that Ahava-DSL was chosen from a listed of scientific partners approved by the European Commission and suggested that any decision to boycott the project could be a challenge to “academic freedom”.

In a statement, Professor Ian Owens, the museum’s director of science, said: “We work within the legal and policy boundaries established by politicians and policy makers, and would not participate in any academic or educational boycotts that could restrict academic freedom.”

Ahava-DSL, which has been the subject of a boycott campaign targeting its shops in Europe and America, did not respond to requests for a comment. The company has previously said that the Dead Sea mud and materials used in its products are excavated from Israeli land outside the occupied territories and that Mitzpe Shalem is not an illegal settlement.

LETTER: Museum must drop West Bank link
The INDEPENDENT, Tuesday 17 January 2012
 

It is extraordinary, but true, that one of our great national museums is co-ordinating an activity that breaks international law. That museum is the Natural History Museum, which is collaborating in research with an Israeli commercial firm located in an illegal settlement in the Palestinian West Bank.

The firm is Ahava/Dead Sea Laboratories, whose business is manufacturing cosmetics out of mud, which it excavates from the banks of the Dead Sea. Ahava/DSL is located at Mitzpe Shalem, a settlement 10km beyond the Green Line. The collaboration with the Museum is through an EU-funded project called Nanoretox, in which Kings College London, Imperial College and a number of foreign institutions are also involved. The museum is the coordinating partner for this project.

Ahava/DSL is based on occupied territory. It extracts, processes and exports Palestinian resources to generate profits that fund an illegal settlement. Israel’s settlement project has been held by the International Court of Justice to break international law. Organisations which aid and abet this process may well themselves be found to be in violation. We find it almost inconceivable that a national institution of the status of the Natural History Museum should have put itself in this position.

We call on the museum to take immediate steps to terminate its involvement in Nanoretox and to establish safeguards that protect against any comparable entanglement.
 
Professor Sir Patrick Bateson FRS, University of Cambridge
 
Professor Malcolm Levitt FRS, University of Southampton
 
Professor Tim Shallice FRS, SISSA, Trieste
 
Mike Leigh
 
Ken Loach
 
Jonathan Miller
 
Victoria Brittain
 
Baroness Tonge
 
Dr Gillian Yudkin
 
Professor Laurence Dreyfus FBA, University of Oxford
 
Professor Jacqueline Rose FBA, Queen Mary University of London
 
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, London School of Economics
 
Professor John Armitage, University of Bristol
 
Professor Haim Bresheeth, University of East London
 
Professor Barry Fuller, University College London
 
Professor Colin Green, University College, London
 
Dr Ghada Karmi, University of Exeter
 
Professor Adah Kay, City University
 
Professor David Pegg, University of York
 
Professor Steven Rose, Open University
 
Professor Lynne Segal, Birkbeck College
 

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Contact the Natural History Museum: NHM, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, Tel: 020 7942 5511, or send them an email via a reply form.
  • Leave an appropriate message on the Natural History Museum’s Facebook page.
  • Tweet the Natural History Museum: @NHM_London
  • Contact your MP to  let them know how you feel. The Natural History Museum receives funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
  • Join us outside the Natural History Museum on Saturday, January 28th between 12-2pm. All welcome!

A visit to London’s World Travel Market

Security tight around Ahava’s stand at major UK travel exhibition

Two Israeli security operatives (circled) opposite the Ahava stand, ready to pounce on any demonstrators (or photographers) at London's World Travel Market.

Report by London BDS

Even though campaigners have been successful in closing the UK’s only Ahava shop, it would be premature to say that the campaign against the company is over, since our motto is: ‘The resistance must be continuous.’

In Wales, activists have been campaigning to rid Ahava from a local beauty salon with tactics that include leafleting, lobbying, filing complaints with Trading Standards and getting coverage in the local press.

Just last month, activists in Manchester held a demonstration inside a major beauty trade show where Ahava was exhibiting, showing the hundreds of exhibitors and visitors attending the ‘Professional Beauty 2011′ event that ‘there’s no beauty in occupation.’

And in London, Kings College students are presently campaigning to divest their university from its partnership with Ahava in an EU-funded research project.

So when we heard that Ahava was going to be exhibiting at the World Travel Market 2011, touted as ‘The Leading Global Event for The Travel Industry,’ we knew it was an opportunity to further publicise the campaign against this toxic brand and registered to attend the four-day event held at the ExCeL exhibition centre in East London’s Docklands.

Bringing along a good number of Ahava boycott campaign postcards on the day we visited, which was ironically dubbed ‘World Responsible Tourism Day,’ we found the location of the Brand Israel pavilion NOT in the Middle East area of the exhibition where you would expect, but in the EUROPE section, sandwiched between the Czech Republic and Romania.

Since when was Israel in Europe?

Under the Israeli big tent, there were about thirty-five agencies, municipalities, organisations and businesses that fuelled the apartheid state’s tourism and hospitality sectors. The larger exhibitors included the Israel Ministry of Tourism, the Jerusalem Tourist Authority, El Al airlines and the Dan Hotel chain.

There was also a refreshment and seating area in the centre serving up free Israeli wine and snacks. A noticeable number of vicious-looking, security staff dressed in ill-fitting suits and wearing earpieces hovered menacingly around, unintentionally providing the few visitors with a taste of what life for Palestinians unfortunate enough to live under Israeli occupation is like.

Free wine in the refreshment area. The busiest part of the apartheid state's pavilion.

A novel feature was a small patch of ‘Holy Land’ that visitors to the pavilion could walk on (without fear of being interrogated, detained, shot or deported).

The Israel Ministry of Tourism stand freely dispensed maps which identified the West Bank as ‘Judea’ and ‘Samaria’ and at the Jerusalem Tourism counter we collected literature advertising the 2012 Jerusalem Marathon. On a cover of a flyer promoting the event, the logo of Adidas, a major sponsor was mysteriously absent even though other sponsors logos were prominently displayed.

Another Dead Sea cosmetics company, Dead Sea Premier, who flog their dodgy products from kiosks staffed by Israelis in shopping centres, was also exhibiting. This company - just like Ahava – has a notorious background.

In December 2009, eight Premier employees who staffed a kiosk in a Bristol shopping centre were arrested (and later deported) for working illegally in the UK. And in January 2011, activists scored another BDS victory by successfully getting Premier’s kiosks removed from Irish and Scottish shopping centres.

‘More than you could ever imagine’ is Premier’s highly appropriate tagline.

Premier’s representative when questioned about the source of the natural minerals used in their products replied: “I don’t know,” despite the free samples being labelled ‘Made in Israel.’ When asked about Premier’s presence in West Bank settlements, the representative offered a brochure and left to speak to a colleague.

Dead Sea Premier: "More than you could ever imagine"

At the larger Ahava stand around the corner, the display stands were filled with a wide assortment of their stolen goods for sale, which was probably stock from their former Monmouth Street shop. The prices were crudely drawn on pieces of lined paper with a biro - something that looked very much out-of-place.

We were later to find out why.

Playing the part of a potential customer, I casually asked one of Ahava’s ambassadors if anyone had questioned the legality of their products. The representative nodded their head and in a quiet voice said, “I  know, but I can’t talk about it.

That said it all.

After walking and leafleting around the world for several hours distributing Ahava boycott campaign postcards and chatting to countless exhibitors and visitors, we attracted the attention of some Spanish and African reporters who wanted to know more about the campaign and interviewed us.

At the end of a very productive day, we paid a visit to see the organiser and asked why Ahava was permitted to exhibit and sell their illegal goods. Apparently, the sale of products at the exhibition was against the rules and we were told someone would investigate.

Unfortunately, no one was able to provide a reason why Ahava, given their notoriety, was even allowed to exhibit, but the person at the front desk did provide contact details of one Paul Nelson, Reed Exhibition’s PR Manager.

Not surprisingly, neither Mr Nelson nor anyone else from Reed ever returned our emails or phone calls.

Returning the next day to the Israel pavilion, I was pleased to see that our visit resulted in some success, as no Ahava products were being sold.

Word must have spread about our efforts, as there were more security staff at the Israel pavilion than during the previous day, along with fewer visitors. Success!

Our observations proved without a doubt that behind Brand Israel’s slick facade, something sure stinks.

This overzealous Israeli wanted this image deleted in the interests of 'security,' but this is the UK, not the West Bank.

An opportunity to safely walk on Palestinian land.

Caught! Packing up Ahava's stolen goods which are clearly visible in the boxes.

The Palestine pavilion, unlike Israel's, was in the Middle East area of the exhibition.

King’s College London collaboration with Ahava

By London BDS

Just weeks after the UK’s only Ahava shop near Covent Garden closed as a direct result of regular demonstrations by human rights campaigners and months after major UK retailer John Lewis announced that it is no longer selling the poisonous brand comes news that Kings College London (KCL) is participating in an EU-funded nanoparticle research project alongside Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories Ltd.

Outraged students and faculty have called on KCL to immediately withdraw from the project, reject the grant it has received and take steps to ensure that the university does not find itself in a similar position in the future.

As a first step in achieving this goal, KCL students have created an e-petition that has been widely circulated and publicised, both in the UK and abroad.

The KCL-Ahava partnership attracts international condemnation

Within a fortnight, over 700 signatories including Noam Chomsky, Remi Kanazi, Ali Abunimah, Ahdaf Soueifas as well as academics, lawyers, artists, writers, journalists, filmmakers and people from all walks of life, in both the UK and throughout the world, have added their voices to call on KCL to immediately disengage from this project and distance themselves from Ahava.

One KCL student said: “We are asking all people of conscience, whether they are students or not, to add their name to the petition. We have been overwhelmed by the support and expressions of solidarity we have received and hope we can follow one success with another.”  

The petition states:

King’s College London is conducting research in close collaboration with Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israeli cosmetics company partly owned by and located in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem, deep in occupied Palestinian territory.

Noam Chomsky: Signatory

Ahava profits from, and helps to maintain, Israeli violations of international law. By collaborating with Ahava, KCL has itself become complicit with the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

Echoing the overwhelming international consensus on the illegal nature of Israeli settlements, we join KCL Action Palestine in calling upon the university to withdraw from the project immediately, reject the grant it has received as part of the project, and take active steps to ensure that the university does not find itself in a similar position in the future.

The campaign has been gathering momentum. Yesterday on October 12th, the University of London Senate voted to condemn ‘in the strongest terms‘ KCL’s collaboration with Ahava:

It has been recently uncovered that Kings College London is conducting joint research with Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories

Ahava is a commercial company located in the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem, a settlement in occupied Palestinian West Bank territory and hence illegal under international law

Ahava is profiting off Dead Sea resources that are being stolen illegally from the Palestinian land taken by Mitzpe Shalem

There has been a call by Palestinian civil society to boycott those companies implicit in Israeli war crimes, breaches of international law and abuses of Palestinian human rights

Union Believes;

Ahava represents a company directly benefiting and profiteering from the occupation of Palestine and appropriation of Palestinian land

It is unacceptable for an academic institution to lend, not merely legitimacy, but active support and research for such an entity that breaks international law

By conducting research with Ahava, Kings College is itself implicit with criminal activity and abuse of human rights

Union Resolves,

To condemn in the strongest terms the research project between Kings College and Ahava, and demand the immediate severing of the project

To support the campaign led by academics and students at Kings College, to achieve this aim

Votes: 9 – for, 0 – against, 3 – abstentions

Ahava eligible for EU funding?

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the EU’s commissioner for scientific research stated that some of Ahava’s EU-funded research may have been conducted in the West Bank, despite the EU’s judgement that Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal according to international law.

EU science grant applications state that projects that violate “fundamental ethical principles” are ineligible for funding, which leads one to ask why a €1 million grant was awarded to a company committing violations of international law while participating in this project.

Author/Activist David Cronin blogs more about this subject in an Electronic Intifada post entitled Occupation profiteer Ahava soaks up EU science grants.

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