[News] Boycott activists celebrate as Israeli Ahava quits South Africa

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Dec 13 19:15:19 EST 2013

  Boycott activists celebrate as Ahava quits South Africa

Submitted by Asa Winstanley on Fri, 12/13/2013 - 19:08

An Israeli cosmetics company based in an illegal settlement in the 
occupied West Bank has been forced out of South Africa 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/south-africa> after a sustained 
boycott campaign.

The news about Ahava <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/ahava> was 
revealed yesterday by the Israeli newspaper /Haaretz/.

A spokesperson for BDS South Africa 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/bds-south-africa> today described it 
as "a great victory for us." Itani Rasalanavho expressed surprise at the 
news, but noted that the company had been gradually reducing its 
presence in malls and shopping centers around the country for a while.

"It shows the influence we are having," he said. "It is something that 
needs to be celebrated."

According to /Haaretz/ 
"A few weeks ago, Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israeli cosmetics 
company, ceased operations in South Africa following a ... [boycott, 
divesment and sanctions <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/bds>] campaign."

Phone calls to Ahava South Africa <http://www.ahava.co.za/?page_id=390> 
and its distributor SDV Pharmaceuticals 
<http://www.lgfb.co.za/pebble.asp?relid=657&t=136> were not answered. A 
spokesperson for Ahava UK refused to comment.

She was "not allowed" to comment as the distributor, but said the 
pull-out from South Africa was "a surprise to me." A call to Ahava US 
was not answered. Emails to Ahava offices in South Africa, US and Israel 
were not answered before publication. (Friday afternoon is a weekend in 
Tel Aviv.)

    Sustained campaign

Palestine solidarity activists in South Africa have been working against 
Ahava for years, as seen in the video above. Groups such as BDS South 
Africa <http://www.bdssouthafrica.com/search?q=ahava> and Open Shuhada 
Street have been campaigning against Ahava 
since at least 2010.

Last year, Ahava was accused of violating South African trade 
by mislabeling its products "Made in Israel."

Ahava is most well known for its skin care products, which are created 
using minerals and mud extracted from the section of the Dead Sea 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/dead-sea> within the occupied West 
Bank <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/west-bank>. Its factory is 
based in the illegal Israeli settlement Mitzpe Shalem 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/mitzpe-shalem>, south of the 
Palestinian town Jericho <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/jericho>.

In 2011, the jurors at the London session of the Russell Tribunal on 
<http://electronicintifada.net/tags/russell-tribunal-palestine> said 
that Ahava was guilty of "pillage" of Palestinian resources (a technical 
term under international law).

Ahava has been the subject of sustained campaign around the world, with 
groups like CODEPINK <http://electronicintifada.net/tags/codepink> in 
the US taking it on.

In 2011, Ahava UK's flagship London store was forced to close down 
<http://www.bdsmovement.net/2011/ahava-london-move-5936> after the 
landlord declined to renew its lease 
Palestine solidarity activists had been holding fortnightly protests 
outside the high-profile Covent Garden store for a year.

It is no surprise then, that Ahava seems to have tried to avoid such 
negative publicity by pulling out of South Africa quite stealthily.

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