Sep 14, 2010

#BDS: Setting the Record Straight

In a letter from Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories President and CEO Yaakov Ellis that is being circulated to cosmetics retailers, Elllis 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.

Below are the Stolen Beauty Campaign's responses to some of these claims:
1. On the legality of our boycott campaign in the United States.
"These organizations are orchestrating a political boycott of the Ahava® products, and through it cause damage to the State of Israel. As you know, such boycotts are not only abhorrent, but illegal in the United States."
Ahava is telling its retail customers that our boycott campaign is illegal under U.S. law. This is not true. The National Lawyers Guild has advised us that activists are completely within the law to engage in a political campaign using the time-honored tactic of economic boycott to press Israel to comply with international human rights laws and end its abusive occupation of the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza. Our boycott campaign targets Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories because of the company's violations of international law. This campaign is protected by the First Amendment, as free speech and association. Boycotts were integral to the success of the anti-apartheid movement against South Africa, the civil rights movement in the southern United States in the 1960s and 1970s, the movement to force California grape growers to recognize their workers' union, and many other similarly honorable nonviolent struggles for human rights that Ahava would not dare to condemn now, in hindsight.

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