Sep 15, 2010

#BDS: CEO of Israeli Cosmetic Firm Ahava Rattled by Growing Boycott

False Claims Put Out by Company Are Refuted by ‘Stolen Beauty’ Campaign

WASHINGTON - September 14 - In a recent, quietly circulated letter from the desk of Yaacov Ellis, CEO of Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories—a company at the center of a growing international boycott campaign—and directed at the company’s retail partners, Ellis deploys specious information about his own company’s business practices, contradictory claims about Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, and unfounded innuendo about boycott campaign supporters. This letter comes after a year of pressure, lead in the United States by the women’s peace group CODEPINK and their “Stolen Beauty” Ahava Boycott campaign, and total refusal by the CEO to respond to press queries about his company’s illegal business practices.

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. Despite Ellis’s claim in the letter that “Mitzpe Shalem is not an illegal settlement,” 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.
Nancy Kricorian, Stolen Beauty Campaign Manager, said, “Ahava makes beauty products, but there is nothing beautiful in occupation. Rather than openly defending his company’s dubious record, which would not stand up to public scrutiny, Ellis is sending out a private letter that is full of false claims.” Read the full letter here.

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