|12 February 2013
Dear Joan Raymond,
In response to the Frequent
Flyer column featuring Ahava North American CEO
Elana Drell-Szyfer, we thought it important to bring
to your attention the fact that Ahava is subject to
an international boycott campaign because of the company's
illegal practices. The company's main production facility
and visitors center is located at Mitzpe Shalem, an
illegal Israeli settlement in the Occupied Palestinian
Territories. The company sources mud for use in its
products from the Occupied Shores of the Dead Sea; this
is forbidden as pillage of occupied natural resources
under the Geneva Conventions. In addition, Ahava labels
its goods as "Product of Israel," when
they are in fact made in the Occupied West Bank. This
labeling has been challenged as fraudulent in South
Africa, the U.K., the Netherlands and France. Illegal
settlements and the goods produced in them are almost
universally recognized as an impediment to a just and
lasting peace in Israel and Palestine.
Ahava has been the subject of numerous reports detailing
its exploitation of Palestinian resources and its violations
of international law. I am including links to three
of them below.
You can read more about the international boycott campaign
at our web site (www.stolenbeauty.org).
There have been numerous press reports of action taken
by activist groups and government bodies against Ahava
for its violations of international law. Only yesterday,
Ahava was featured in a Spiegel
piece about the EU's move to crack down against
illegal settlement goods. Here are the relevant paragraphs
"Products from Israeli cosmetics firm Ahava
are also the subject of dispute. The company produces
creams and shower gels that contain minerals from the
Dead Sea. The products' packaging includes the details,
"Dead Sea Laboratories. Israel." In truth,
the products are manufactured at the edge of the Dead
Sea in the occupied West Bank.
The company refused to answer detailed legal questions.
'Ahava works in coordination with the German authorities,
the European Commission and under the law,' the company
stated, tersely. But the apparent calm was feigned.
Ahava immediately informed the Israeli Embassy in Berlin
about SPIEGEL's reporting.
The German importer of Ahava products is based in Wiesbaden,
so any control of its products is the responsibility
of the city, which is the state capital of Hesse. In
a written response to a query from SPIEGEL, the city's
consumer protection department wrote that because the
company's headquarters is officially located within
the recognized borders of the state of Israel, 'nothing
misleading can be detected.'"
It is highly unfortunate that the New York Times Business
section allowed itself to be used to put a pretty face
on Ahava's blatant disregard for international law.
We hope that you will rectify this by providing your
readers with information about the international campaign
to hold Ahava to account for its illegal practices.
Nancy Kricorian for the Stolen Beauty Ahava boycott