BDS Movement Victory: John Lewis Stops Stocking Ahava Products in Britain

For Immediate Release

BDS Movement Victory: John Lewis Stops Stocking Ahava Products in Britain

WASHINGTON - Ahava’s goods, processed on stolen Palestinian land, are becoming
too hot to handle. Leading British retail business John Lewis is now
refusing to stock this toxic brand. Canadian retailer The Bay has also
confirmed that it had also discontinued sales of Ahava products.[1]

John Lewis’ decision signifies yet another victory for the growing
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Consumers are refusing
to buy goods from companies profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation.
 
John Lewis’ Managing Director, Andy Street, wrote to the Palestine
Solidarity Campaign in a letter dated 7 January: ‘As a socially
responsible retailer, John Lewis takes very seriously the treatment of
workers and their working conditions. We expect all our suppliers not
only to obey the law, but also to respect the rights, interests and
well-being of their employees, their communities and the environment.’
He ended by stating: ‘In relation to your specific enquiry about Ahava
Dead Sea products, I can confirm that John Lewis has ceased stocking
these particular products’.
 
Sarah Colborne, PSC’s Director of Campaigns and Operations, said:
 
‘PSC welcomes John Lewis’ decision to stop stocking Ahava products.
Israel’s continued attacks on the Palestinian population – whether
living under a brutal blockade in Gaza, under illegal occupation in the
West Bank and East Jerusalem, or under constant assault inside Israel,
has led to a seismic shift in public opinion, with the movement for
peace and justice for Palestinians gaining massive support
internationally.
 
‘Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israeli cosmetics company, has its
manufacturing plant and visitors’ centre based in the illegal Israeli
settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the West Bank. The company is 44 per cent
owned by Mitzpe Shalem and another settlement, Kalia, so Ahava’s
profits subsidise these illegal colonies.
 
‘Ahava’s manufacturing plant is in an illegal Israeli settlement,
on stolen Palestinian land. Its beauty products can’t conceal the role
Ahava plays in Israel’s dirty occupation. Ahava, and other companies
profiting from Israel’s illegal occupation, are being sent a clear
message by consumers who are refusing to buy their products. Although
governments, including our own, are failing to end Israel’s violations
of international law and human rights, we can all take action by
refusing to buy Israeli goods and joining the movement for BDS. The PSC
will continue to ensure that companies which profit from Israel’s
occupation pay the price for their complicity in Israel’s crimes’.
 
In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call for international
boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel. PSC launched its national
boycott campaign in 2002, and supports fortnightly protests outside
Ahava’s store in Covent Garden, London.
 
[1] The Bay has confirmed that it had discontinued sales of Ahava
products – with their CEO Bonnie Brooks saying on 13 January 2011: ‘the
Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) discontinued sales of AHAVA beauty products,
primarily because of sales results which had been declining for several
years.’ It acknowledged that ‘Although this decision was made by HBC
solely for commercial reasons, it occurred at the same time as an
aggressive campaign by several groups advocating a boycott of AHAVA
products.’
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