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Canadian B’nai Brith suggests The Bay is practicing boycott without saying so

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From Canadian B’nai Brith, Monday, January 17: “Inconsistent explanations from The Bay regarding removal of Ahava products from shelves.” 

There have been a variety of responses from representatives at The Bay throughout the past week regarding the removal of the Ahava products from their shelves; yet, each of these representatives has provided a different explanation for the removal of the products, which has led to much confusion. The responses given were variations of the following: 

1. The Bay has discontinued Ahava products because they have not been selling well.
 
2. The manufacturer (Ahava) has discontinued the products because globally sales were down.
 
3. Ahava is rebranding and repackaging their product, and in the interim, The Bay has pulled their products off the shelves, but will stock the new products this coming spring.
 
4. The products have been removed from the shelves for political reasons.
 
5. The decision to restock Ahava products in the spring has not necessarily been finalized.
 
These responses, however, remain problematic for several reasons. Firstly, to pull off everything from the shelves just at the time of the protests targeting The Bay leads one to doubt that the swift removal of the Ahava products by The Bay is merely coincidental.
 
Moreover, there has also been evidence from other jurisdictions that sales of Israeli-made products have actually increased during such protests, so taking the Ahava products off the shelves at this point is a decision that does not make sense from a retail perspective – The Bay is seemingly losing business. Moreover, other retail outlets continue to sell Ahava products and report very good sales.
 
Most unnerving is the fact that while The Bay continues to make its claims, the anti-Israel boycott campaigners are claiming a major victory in that the store has emptied its shelves of all Ahava products.
 
Adina Klein
Project Assistant
League for Human Rights
B’nai Brith Canada
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