Ahava, the beauty products company that mines Palestinian lands, is feeling the heat. That comes through in this Code Pink presentation of evidence of Ahava’s illegal activities in the West Bank at Saturday’s London Session of The Russell Tribunal on Palestine.
The presentation begins at minute 24 or so. Rae Abileah says that Ahava is changing its labelling so that people don’t know where the products come from. It has lately eliminated the zip code, which is the zip code of a settlement in the occupied territories. “Ahava labels its products as products of Israel… [The] product now says Dead Sea, Israel.”
Nancy Kricorian quotes an Israeli government spokesman: “The Palestinians did nothing with this land when they had it. And the Palestinians still have access to the Dead Sea. If they wanted to they could set up a factory.”
Kricorian says this is highly dubious, as Palestinians can’t even bathe at the Dead Sea without going through checkpoints, and the Israeli Civil Administration has not allowed any Palestinian construction in Area C. Lately Ahava’s ceo Yaakov Ellis has sent out a letter to retailers, from which Kricorian reads several stretchers, including the dignification of the settlement as a kibbutz, and the strange interpretation of international law:
“Ahava does not interfere with the Palestinian population. Mitzpe Shalem is situated in an unpopulated area in undisputed territory in the Judea Desert, and there are no Palestinians residing in the vicinity of Mitzpe Shalem.”
“Mitzpe Shalem is not an illegal settlement. Ahava’s manufacturing facility is located at Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem, on the North-Western shore of the Dead Sea, just 6 miles north of the “Green Line”, within the area usually referred as the West Bank.”
“Ahava’s use of the Mitzpe Shalem facility is legal and does not violate any provision of International Law, especially as there is no recognized right of any peoples other than Israel to the West Bank.”
“So this is the crazy pants logic that this guy is spinning in response to our campaign,” Kricorian says. Code Pink has responded to the Ellis letter here. John Dugard says that when you criticize West Bank producers you can be accused of being a “fascist” and a “Nazi.”
Interesting back and forth re the Disney family’s investment in Ahava at 41 or so. Mention of Abby Disney, human rights crusader. Hmmm.