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BDS Victory: Ahava moving factory out of occupied West Bank

on 31 Comments

Fantastic news, Haaretz reported Thursday that Ahava Dead Sea cosmetics, a company that pillages mud products from occupied Palestine and longtime target of Code Pink’s Stolen Beauty Ahava boycott campaign, plans to move their factory from the occupied West Bank to within Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

The announcement comes after 7 long years, an onslaught of protests including activists chaining themselves to concrete blocks inside Ahava’s London store, and persistent online social media actions by dedicated activists spanning continents since the campaign was launched in 2009.

The video below is the first recored protest by Code Pink activists after the decision was made, to target Ahava. It was taken in front of Hilton Tel Aviv after activists entered the Ahava store in the lobby of the hotel, stripped off their coats revealing their bodies covered in mud as activists crowded the lobby and hallway outside the entrance to the store:

Code Pink Press Release:

We at CODEPINK Women for Peace are pleased to hear that, seven years into the Stolen Beauty Ahava boycott campaign, Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories has announced plans to move their factory from the occupied West Bank to within Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

We attribute this move to the dedicated work of an international coalition of human rights activists—from the U.S. to the U.K., from the Netherlands to South Africa, from Palestine and Israel to France—who have been organizing protests against Ahava’s violations of international law since 2009. We thank all the concerned groups and individuals around the world whose principled actions helped make this change possible.

We will continue pressuring Ahava until the West Bank factory is fully closed. It also remains to be seen whether Ahava, under the new ownership of the Chinese conglomerate Fosun, will cease pillaging mud from the Dead Sea’s occupied shores in the Israeli settlement of Kalya, as has been their practice to date.

timeline of Stolen Beauty Ahava campaign milestones may be found here.



Haaretz: BDS Target Ahava to Relocate From West Bank Into Israel

Ahava, the Dead Sea cosmetics company that has been a major target of BDS for maintaining a manufacturing plant in the West Bank settlement of Mitzpeh Shalem, will be relocating the facility within Israel’s pre-1967 borders….

In 2011, Ahava was forced to shutter its London store in Covent Garden after months of noisy demonstrations by pro-Palestinian groups. In moving facilities inside Israel proper and out of a West Bank, Ahava is following the lead of SodaStream, the carbonated beverage dispenser manufacturer, which relocated last year from the West Bank industrial zone of Mishor Adumim to the Negev. The move followed an aggressive campaign against SodaStream by the BDS movement abroad.

……Ahava issued a statement …. did not explicitly confirm that the plant at Mitzpeh Shalem will be closing, but that is understood to be the case….

Ahava is privately owned by a number of partners including Gaon Holdings, the Livnat family and kibbutzim in the Dead Sea area including Kibbutz Mitzpeh Shalem. The current owners of the company have been in negotiations with the Fosun Group of China over the sale of the company for up to 300 million shekels ($77 million), but the parties still appear to be the preliminary stage of talks over a possible purchase by the Chinese firm.

Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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31 Responses

  1. jsinton on March 14, 2016, 6:44 pm

    Soda Stream, and now Ahava? And the Hasbara trolls try to tell me BDS isn’t effective?

  2. Kay24 on March 14, 2016, 9:44 pm

    Despite the false bravado, there is no doubt BDS is working. Losing billions a year is no joke, and it must be hitting the occupier where it hurts. I hope there is more to come.

    As for Nordstrom, it is disappointing they took this stance. Nordstrom has always had good policies, and show they are reasonable in their dealings. I don’t know what made them refuse to not carry Avaha products, it may be that they are afraid to offend Israel, whatever the reason is, it is only bringing negative publicity to Nordstrom, and they are losing their good image.

  3. echinococcus on March 15, 2016, 12:49 am

    It’s nice to see that the blows do register but there is no reason for relenting just because Zionists move factories from one place in occupied Palestine to another. Just for a South Africa simile, it would be like only boycotting exports from official Bantustans.

    Any exports from the Zionist entity and any cultural or scientific or even family ties with the Master Race Zionists help the occupation. Any exports and any cultural and scientific ties with the Zionist entity must be boycotted.

    Now we’ll see if the boycott movement in the West is effectively under (“liberal”) Zionist control or not.

    • annie on March 15, 2016, 1:41 am

      who’s relenting?

      • echinococcus on March 15, 2016, 2:25 am

        Good. The follow-up on pre-67 territory exports must be discussed: the paper leaves that out, no doubt because it’s not immediately essential, and some ambiguity remains.

      • annie on March 15, 2016, 12:51 pm

        by ‘the paper’ i assume you mean the article i wrote? or perhaps you meant haaretz. either way i left it out because it’s primarily an announcement Ahava say the plan to leave their location. there were other things i didn’t discuss too, like the pending sale/negotiations to a chinese firm. it’s likely this move comes because the boycott is a thorn in their side and holding things up. the chinese firm would naturally assume whatever baggage ahava is carrying the will inherit — including the pillaged resources.

      • echinococcus on March 16, 2016, 9:16 am


        Yes, I shouldn’t use the word “paper” here. Anyway, this is not faulting you but warning that what everybody impatiently expects to know is if pulling back into pre-67 occupation will make it all good (as expected by the pro-Zionism BDSers) or be the starting point for some anti-Zionist action (as expected by anti-Zionists.)

  4. Marnie on March 15, 2016, 2:10 am

    Code Pink and Annie – thank you for brightening up an otherwise dark stormy day! I have to laugh how the hasbara still dares to insist that israel has not suffered a whit from BDS and all’s fine in the land of Oz! GO BDS! CODE PINK – LOVE YOU ALL – YOU’RE AWESOME AND INSPIRING!

  5. on March 15, 2016, 3:03 am

    These CodePink activists are disgusting…always finding an excuse for displaying their exhibitionist tendencies. These people are an embarrassment to womankind and feminism.

    • Marnie on March 15, 2016, 9:34 am


      • Mooser on March 15, 2016, 12:30 pm

        “Marnie”, our little whirring, twirling, friend “rugal b” (“The Man Without an Archive”) sometimes spins so hard he falls right off his gimbal and onto his ass.
        He’s gonna burn out his bearings.

      • Marnie on March 15, 2016, 2:10 pm

        “He’s gonna burn out his bearings.”

        Or mine. I’m confused.

    • Misterioso on March 15, 2016, 10:39 am


      You’re putting us on, right? Anyone with an IQ over room temperature knows that “these people” standing up to fascism are true and courageous humanitarians, an example for all of “womankind,” indeed, humankind, to aspire to.

      • annie on March 15, 2016, 12:53 pm

        oh don’t even bother asking miserioso. i’d say check his archives but alas, he doesn’t have them.

      • amigo on March 15, 2016, 2:16 pm


        “oh don’t even bother asking miserioso. i’d say check his archives but alas, he doesn’t have them” .

        Hi Annie , speaking of this rugal b person and his lack of archives.Why not change MW comment rules to include !!.

        “Any poster who through their own action negates MW ability to maintain a record of their comments will be banned.The absence of a posters archives puts the other participants at a disadvantage and as such denies the others the right to play on a level playing field”.

        This should not present any major difficulty and will stand as an example to future attempts to circumvent MW rules of engagement.It is only fair.

        Big week in Ireland .We are celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Easter Rising when 2000 Paddies took on the might of the BE .Who said the Palestinians cannot make zionism disappear from the face of this planet.

      • annie on March 15, 2016, 3:03 pm

        congrats on your 100 year easter rising anniversary amigo!

        about that rule, technically this is not a posters ‘fault’ if they do not have archives. it is some glitch w/the archives. my personal theory (in case you’ve not already heard it) is that a certain poster was banned the day before rugal arrived. when a person is banned their archives are wiped out (MW does that). so i think rugal sort of “inherited” the banned persons archives, probably because it’s the same poster (w/the same obsession).

      • amigo on March 15, 2016, 3:59 pm

        Maybe we could arrange a more useful glitch –a civil (bad choice of word in their case) partnership between Hopknee and buglar with the same archive.Imagine , two of our worst eggs in one archive.If it works we can expand later.

      • tree on March 15, 2016, 5:30 pm


        my personal theory (in case you’ve not already heard it) is that a certain poster was banned the day before rugal arrived. when a person is banned their archives are wiped out (MW does that). so i think rugal sort of “inherited” the banned persons archives, probably because it’s the same poster (w/the same obsession).

        In actuality it has nothing to do with a4tech’s wiped archives. It’s his new moniker that is the problem causing a lack of archives. The underscore before the b is what throws the archive program for a loop. It ignores everything after the underscore and goes looking for comments by “rugal”, a nonexistent commenter, rather than rugal_b, and there are no such comments so his archive is blank. This problem with the software program has happened before. I mentioned it a few years ago but apparently it hasn’t been corrected.

        Creating a name with an underscore in it when commenting on MW should not be allowed until or unless the archiving system figures out a way to handle archiving names with underscores.

        Speaking of rugal_b, why hasn’t he been banned by now? I’ve never seen anyone here make as many racist comments as he does. You don’t even need an archive with him to see it, because he violates rule number one of the comments policy in nearly every other comment.

      • on March 16, 2016, 7:33 am


        First of all, hostility and distrust towards white activists who meddle in the internal affairs of other cultures and communities are widespread among many within society at large. This is because multitudes of factors, such as their display of undue entitlement, disrespect of wishes and objectives of their non-white allies, display of white savior complex and orientalism, and much more.

        Secondly, a vast majority of white activists are hypocritical and unprincipled. More specifically, CodePink staff often protest against the illegal occupation of Palestine, which is absolutely the correct stance to take. However, they will not condemn the various injustices that they themselves are complicit in, such as the occupation of native American land. They won’t even acknowledge their role in the continued settler-colonialism in America, with many proudly calling themselves American.

        This is not okay, considering the victims of the American occupation are still not compensated fairly and justice have not been served to them. If they are really feminist, they must be acknowledge that all systems of oppression are interlinked, and their activism must be intersectional, especially since they all benefit immensely through their whiteness, of the theft and occupation of native lands and black labor. These people own multiple properties in America, participate in the capitalist economic system, and legitimizes the illegal American government through their pledge of allegiance to the state yet they somehow feel it’s okay for them to tell Israelis what is right and wrong.

        Lastly, white America’s problems and dysfunctions are endless. As such, I find it curious that these supposedly social-justice focused group would expend their limited funds and energy not to fix their own shit, but to play morality police with others. Getting unsolicited advice would be annoying enough, but getting one from the divorced deadbeat loser would almost be an insult to most decent people. The same applies to white American activists trying to tell anyone what their opinion is.

        TLDR : White activists are complicit in systems of oppression that vastly benefit them over others, and therefore should be more introspective wrt to the goals and directions of their activism.

    • rosross on March 15, 2016, 7:39 pm


      Off on a tangent then? Easier than facing reality.

  6. Tom Suarez on March 15, 2016, 7:26 am

    No, this is NOT a victory for boycott — not yet

    The location of the factory is important, yes, but it is a secondary issue—the principle crime is the theft of Palestine’s minerals, and that seems to be unaddressed. I am afraid that we are being hoodwinked in our enthusiasm to see victories.

    If in fact Ahava will simply truck Palestinian minerals over the Armistice Line for processing, then nothing of substance has changed. If this is the case (and it certainly appears to be) it is important that Ahava’s shenanigans be exposed and we NOT pretend victory.

    • echinococcus on March 15, 2016, 8:09 am

      It’s a real bad idea to yell victory before all exports of the entire occupied Palestine, as of 11/1947, are hit.Limiting boycott appeals to post-67 occupation only helps the Zionists –that is the “liberal Zionists” who have correctly identified the latter portion of the occupation as a PR liability.
      The state that keeps Palestine occupied is the same Zionist entity and all its exports must be hit, not to mention all its cultural ties.

      • Marnie on March 15, 2016, 9:33 am

        I think it’s okay to express joy with successes made wrt to israel and Palestine as there is so little good news compared to bad. Especially with the daily horrors documented by kate. Not wearing rose-colored glasses either, just enjoy some good news, some progress. GO BDS!!!!!!!!!!!

      • rosross on March 15, 2016, 7:40 pm

        I believe it is possible to celebrate small victories. You are correct of course.

  7. amigo on March 15, 2016, 11:21 am

    I used to shop at Nordstoms when I lived in the Bay Area.I rarely missed their twice yearly sales .I recently contacted them re ordering clothes from their web site and cost of shipping to Ireland.I was not aware of their collusion in the Occupation of Palestine.I am sad to say , I will not be wearing my new threads from Nordstrom this spring or next or the one after that until they start adhering to international Laws.

  8. rosross on March 15, 2016, 6:18 pm

    This is great news but really, why is the Zionist propaganda term West Bank used when what we are really talking about is not a bank, left, right or middle, but Occupied Palestine.

    Surely Mondoweiss should use the correct terms.

    • annie on March 16, 2016, 12:51 am

      the term west bank is not a zionist propaganda term.

      • echinococcus on March 16, 2016, 6:54 am

        It’s perhaps not a Zionist propaganda term, but it sure supports the absurd idea that post-1967 occupation is the only illegal one.

  9. rosross on March 15, 2016, 7:42 pm

    The place which needs to be hit and which will hurt Israel the most given its egoistic view of its intellectual superiority is in the areas of academia and science.

    It was sport which was the Achilles heel of South Africa and Academia is the Achilles heel of Israel because of the belief that Israelis are smarter than everyone else, well, the Jewish Israelis are smarter than everyone else, one presumes they see the non-Jewish Israelis as sub-human like the non-Jewish Palestinians.

    • echinococcus on March 16, 2016, 6:51 am

      Precisely! While the “official” BDS movement continues to concentrate on post-1967 occupation only (may we call it “Zionist-lite BDS” without offending the delicate?)

  10. Eva Smagacz on March 21, 2016, 4:23 pm

    Recently in Dubai (!) I found Dead Sea (spa) Magic brand of cosmetics which are produced by innocuously sounding Finders International LTD ( operating from England and run by Richard Czik. I bet you he does not purchase his Dead Sea Minerals in Jordan.

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