January 13, 2011
Yesterday was quite a lively day! On January 12th, representatives of Canadian retailer The Bay acknowledged that the chain was no longer carrying cosmetics products from the Israeli company Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, but said the “de-listing” was purely a business decision and not in response to any organized boycott. Whatever the reason for the decision, we applaud the fact that The Bay will no longer be supporting Ahava and its occupation profiteering, and we want to thank them for taking this stand.
In January 2011, Canadians for Just Peace in the Middle East selected Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories settlement products as their consumer boycott target for the month. Previously our allies at Tadamon had organized protest actions against Ahava at The Bay in Montreal.
In response to the announced CJPME month-long boycott of Ahava, a local coalition calling itself “Buycott Israel” called for January 11th to be a day on which its members would purchase Ahava products. When the “buycotters” arrived at The Bay's retail outlets, they discovered that shelves were bare of Ahava.
Will you act now and send a thank you note to The Bay's President and CEO Bonnie Brooks, Chairman Richard Baker, and Director of Beauty Products Shelley Rozenwald?
The Bay is under pressure to reinstate sales of Ahava. Whether or not they cave, this issue has attracted press and public attention and the boycott will keep building! Please send a letter of thanks to The Bay today!
Want to know more about the boycott? Read on below! And please contact us if you have questions!
Nancy K and Rae
Stolen Beauty Boycott
So what's wrong with Ahava products?
Ahava has been the subject of an international boycott campaign since June 2009 because the company manufactures its products in an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank. 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.
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 with Ahava 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 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. Ahava means love in Hebrew, but there is no love in occupation. The Stolen Beauty Boycott is a part of the grassroots effort to bring about a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.