Abigail Disney, a descendant of one of the Disney Company founders, has announced that she is disclaiming her share of the family’s investment in the Israeli cosmetics company Ahava, due to the fact that it is located in the West Bank and is engaged in the “exploitation of occupied natural resources.”
Disney announced Monday that she will donate the profits and a sum equal to the worth of her shares to “organizations working to end this illegal exploitation.” Disney, 52, a filmmaker and businesswoman, is the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, who co-founded The Walt Disney Company with his brother Walt.
Her move, however, has more of a symbolic significance than a financial one. Shamrock Holdings, the family firm in which she is a partner, has demonstrated a distinct interest in investing in Israel, as evidenced by the wide-ranging activity of its Israeli affiliate, Shamrock Israel.
According to various media reports, Shamrock has invested some $400 million in Israeli companies – about a fifth of its capital. It has invested at least $12 million in Ahava, which is based in Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem, an Israeli settlement located on the Dead Sea in the West Bank.
After informing her family and partners in the firm of her decision, Disney released the following statement:
“Recent evidence from the Israeli Civil Administration documents that Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories sources mud used in its products from the occupied shores of the Dead Sea, which is in direct contravention to provisions in the Hague Regulations and the Geneva Convention forbidding the exploitation of occupied natural resources.
“While I will always hold my colleagues and coworkers in the highest regard, I cannot in good conscience profit from what is technically the ‘plunder’ or ‘pillage’ of occupied natural resources and the company’s situating its factory in an Israeli settlement in the Occupied West Bank.
“Because of complicated legal and financial constraints I am unable to withdraw my investment at this time, but will donate the corpus of the investment as well as the profits accrued to me during the term of my involvement to organizations working to end this illegal exploitation.”
Shamrock also has a stake in the Teva Naot footwear company, which is located in the Etzion Bloc south of Jerusalem, and in the Orad company, which makes, among other things, control and monitoring technology for the separation barrier running through the West Bank.