CODEPINK Protests AHAVA Cosmetics in Tel Aviv, NYC, LA, Paris
by MainStreet, Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 06:44:18 AM EDT
CODEPINK activists showed the muddy truth of the AHAVA company, whose factory is located in Occupied Palestine, during an international delegation visit to Israel in June, 2009.
With Netanyahu's obstinacy prevailing over the two states solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as other impediments like the right wing parties which dominate the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, it is conceivable that the BDS Movement, boycotts, divestment, and sanctions, is now the only alternative that can lead to Palestinian statehood. Nobody who is waiting for this solution is waiting on Obama to somehow save the day. Settlement expansion, house demolitions in East Jerusalem, and the siege of Gaza continue as if Obama had never uttered a word.
This story from Alternet is about the boycotting of yet another Israeli company, that profits from Israel's illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories. The Ahava Company, meaning love, which is located in the West Bank, has recently become the focus of CODEPINK.
Israeli Cosmetic Company Is About to Learn It Can't Cover Up Its Role in the Occupation was written by Nancy Kricorian.
July 22, 2009
Israeli and international corporations are directly involved in the occupation: in the construction of Israeli colonies and infrastructure in the occupied territories, in the settlements' economy, in building walls and checkpoints, in the supply of specific equipment used in the control and repression of the civilian population under occupation.
Israeli companies that gain advantages from the special conditions of the occupation in exploiting Palestinian resources, markets and labour.
As the dust settled on the destroyed homes, schools and lives in the aftermath of Israel's assault on Gaza earlier this year, mainstream human rights groups from Amnesty International to Physicians for Human Rights/Israel issued reports condemning Israel's attack and alleging that the Israeli government and the Israeli Defense Forces had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. The staff of CODEPINK Women for Peace re-opened a discussion of what we could do about Israel's flagrant flouting of international law and the brutality of the ongoing blockade of Gaza, the occupation of the West Bank and the home demolitions in East Jerusalem. We decided to revisit the idea of a boycott against Israeli products--a boycott that was having more difficulty gaining traction here in the United States than in Europe. But the best way to end an occupation is to make it unprofitable, and one of the best peaceful ways to make something unprofitable is to organize a boycott.
While doing research on the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement for Palestine, I came across the web site, Who Profits, a project of the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace.On that site I found a list of Israeli and international companies that are directly involved in and profit from the occupation of the Palestinian West Bank. It seemed strategically and morally important to select for our campaign a corporation whose practices were clearly in contravention to international law. Many of the corporations on the Who Profits list were either unfamiliar to me, discouragingly huge, or didn't seem like obvious targets for a women's peace group. But I saw one name that I recognized: Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories. In fact, I knew there was a plastic bottle of Ahava Eucalyptus Mineral Bath Salts sitting on the windowsill next to the tub in my bathroom.
AHAVA Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israeli cosmetics company, has situated its main manufacturing plant and showroom at the Israeli Jewish settlement Mitzpe Shalem in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank near the shores of the Dead Sea. Mitzpe Shalem, built on occupied land in 1970, is an illegal settlement, as are all Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Ahava's capture of Palestinian natural resources from the Dead Sea is, according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, a patently illegal use by an occupying power of stolen resources for its own profit. To add insult to injury, Ahava's labels claim that the country of origin of its products is "The Dead Sea, Israel"--this type of labeling has been decried by Oxfam, among other human rights groups, as blatantly misleading.
CODEPINK women can be as abstinent Netanyahu. Just paraphrasing the Alternet story:
While the CODEPINK women were putting together the AHAVA boycott campaign which they called STOLEN BEAUTY, they had led several delegations into Gaza to protest the siege. During one delegation, several of their activists went on a fact-finding mission to the Ahava plant in the West Bank. Their findings were conclusive. Colloborating with Israeli Jewish and Palestinian peace activists, they eventually staged a protest (ABOVE) at a Ahava store at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv. Some put on bikinis, others wrote on their bodies with mud NO AHAVA/NO LOVE, while still others carried signs with slogans such as "There is no love in occupation."
Kristin Davis, a model and spokesperson for Ahava, was targeted. by CODEPINK at Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue. Two of them went to the store but were escorted out. A week later, the CODEPINK bikini brigade showed up at the "Tel Aviv Beach Party"--part of the Israeli government's multi-million dollar "Re-brand Israel" campaign--in New York's Central Park. The bikinis and their anti-occupation message made local Fox News.
Although they sent letters to Ahava's headquarters in Holon, Israel, as well as to Ahava USA and Kristen Davis, they also sent copies to Shamrock Holdings, the investment company of the Roy E. Disney family, which owns 19% of Ahava's shares.
The CODEPINK women then showed up in bikinis and mud at the North America Trade Show in Las Vegas to let Ahava representatives know they were launching our STOLEN BEAUTY campaign, and sent letters to over 100 retailers requesting that they stop stocking Ahava products.
In August, the CODEPINK women report that they will be outside of a drugstore, department store or mall near us, exposing Ahava's dirty secrets and showing that real beauty is more than skin deep.
You can go to StolenBeauty.Org to find out how to join their campaign. They say that you don't have to wear a bikini to do it. That means men can also apply.
Addendum: in Paris, July 16 on the Champs Elysees, French activists also participated in a spirited protest directed at a retailer that stocks Ahava products:
As for Kristin Davis, it was noted by the author that she used to have her picture on settlement builder and diamantaire Lev Leviev's website, but when she was told about Leviev's settlement construction, she requested it be removed. Apparently she doesn't mind associating her good name with a settlement-based company when they pay her enough.