Tag Archives: justice

BDS Movement Victory: John Lewis Stops Stocking Ahava Products

From CommonDreams.org

WASHINGTON – January 14 – Ahava’s goods, processed on stolen Palestinian land, are becoming too hot to handle. Leading British retail business John Lewis is now refusing to stock this toxic brand. Canadian retailer The Bay has also confirmed that it had also discontinued sales of Ahava products.[1]

No Love for Ahava

John Lewis’ decision signifies yet another victory for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Consumers are refusing to buy goods from companies profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation.

John Lewis’ Managing Director, Andy Street, wrote to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in a letter dated 7 January:
‘As a socially responsible retailer, John Lewis takes very seriously the treatment of workers and their working conditions. We expect all our suppliers not only to obey the law, but also to respect the rights, interests and well-being of their employees, their communities and the environment.’
He ended by stating:
‘In relation to your specific enquiry about Ahava Dead Sea products, I can confirm that John Lewis has ceased stocking these particular products’. 
Sarah Colborne, PSC’s Director of Campaigns and Operations, said: 
‘PSC welcomes John Lewis’ decision to stop stocking Ahava products. Israel’s continued attacks on the Palestinian population – whether living under a brutal blockade in Gaza, under illegal occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, or under constant assault inside Israel, has led to a seismic shift in public opinion, with the movement for peace and justice for Palestinians gaining massive support internationally.
 
‘Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israeli cosmetics company, has its manufacturing plant and visitors’ centre based in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the West Bank. The company is 44 per cent owned by Mitzpe Shalem and another settlement, Kalia, so Ahava’s profits subsidise these illegal colonies.
 
‘Ahava’s manufacturing plant is in an illegal Israeli settlement, on stolen Palestinian land. Its beauty products can’t conceal the role Ahava plays in Israel’s dirty occupation. Ahava, and other companies profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation, are being sent a clear message by consumers who are refusing to buy their products. Although governments, including our own, are failing to end Israel’s violations of international law and human rights, we can all take action by refusing to buy Israeli goods and joining the movement for BDS. The PSC will continue to ensure that companies which profit from Israel’s occupation pay the price for their complicity in Israel’s crimes’.
In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call for international boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel. PSC launched its national boycott campaign in 2002, and supports fortnightly protests outside Ahava’s store in Covent Garden, London.
 
[1] The Bay has confirmed that it had discontinued sales of Ahava products – with their CEO Bonnie Brooks saying on 13 January 2011: ‘the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) discontinued sales of AHAVA beauty products, primarily because of sales results which had been declining for several years.’ It acknowledged that ‘Although this decision was made by HBC solely for commercial reasons, it occurred at the same time as an aggressive campaign by several groups advocating a boycott of AHAVA products.’
 

TAKE ACTION!

Thank John Lewis for taking this decision:

By email

By telephone
Call their Customer Service team on 08456 049 049, any time between 7am and midnight, 7 days a week. (Local rate number for BT users only. As mobile and other network call charges may vary, please refer to your service provider for more details.)

By post
Write to: Customer Services, John Lewis plc, PO Box 19615, Erskine PA8 6WU.

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A Victory!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Canadian Retailer ‘The Bay’ Drops Cosmetics Line as Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories Admits Declining Sales and Attempts to Rebrand; Victory for Human Rights Boycott Campaign

Yesterday was an amazing day when, in open recognition of declining sales and the toxicity of the brand, the CEO of giant Canadian retailer The Bay, together with the heads of Canada’s main pro-Israel lobby groups, let slip that Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israeli cosmetics manufacturer based in an illegal settlement in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank, is pulling its products off the shelf, curtailing international distribution of its signature line and attempting to rebrand its now tarnished image.

This victory for the Stolen Beauty Ahava boycott was made possible by the extraordinary efforts of grassroots human rights campaigners from North America, The United Kingdom, France, The Czech Republic, South Africa, Israel, and Palestine, among others countries, to hold Ahava accountable for its violations of international law and its unconscionable occupation profiteering.

But even with this acknowledgement of the success of our campaign, now is not the time to let up the pressure. In the same statement announcing its rationale for dropping Ahava from its inventory, The Bay announced that Ahava would be back with a new, re-branded product line in the spring. This attempt to fool international consumers with a repackaged brand will not go unchallenged, and our campaign will continue.

Background on Ahava’s illegal business practices
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, and activists with Open Shuhada Street in South Africa filed a police complaint against a local retail chain that carries Ahava.


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. Says Rae Abileah, a Jewish American of Israeli descent and a campaigner with CODEPINK, “Ahava means love in Hebrew, but there is no love in occupation. We are part of a grassroots effort to bring about a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

TAKE ACTION!

Email ‘The Bay’ and tell them why they should not stock Ahava products (form letter – very easy!).