At 11am on the 18th September two members of the International Solidarity Movement entered Ahava in Covent Garden, London and closed the shop by locking themselves inside. Under the banner of “Stolen Beauty from Stolen Land”, the action was in support of the International Day of Action Against Ahava which had been called for by a number of international groups inclusive of Code Pink, Adalah NY, International Solidarity Movement, Palestine Solidarity Camapaign and the Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign.
Ahava’s cosmetic products are manufactured in the illegal settlement of Mizpe Shalem. Based inside Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Israeli Settlement has stolen land and natural resources away from Palestinians. Furthermore, the sale of these products acts to finance and support war crimes committed by the Israeli state.
Under the Fourth Geneva Convention and further ruled by the International Criminal Court Act 2001, Israeli settlements are illegal. They have drawn significant condemnation internationally and are seen as a key obstacle to realising any peace agreement.
The day of action -19th September 2009 – supports the Palestinian non-violent efforts at resisting the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine through the movement for international boycotts, divestments and sanctions.
The two people locked inside were eventualy cut out of the concrete blocks they were attached to at around 4:30pm. They have since been bailed and are due to appear in court on the 29th September. The people in support outside undertook significant outreach with passers by explaining what was going on and why and generated lots of interest which was a key success of the day.
Previously, three people locked themselves inside Ahava for 6 hours on the 10th January 2009 during the height of Operation Cast Lead. Despite arrest, all charges were eventually dropped. Since then, there have been a series of pickets and protests outside the London store. There have further been protests, pickets and actions internationally against Ahava for their complicity with war crimes and the sale of stolen goods.
Following the efforts of Adalah NY to highlight the use or Kristin Davis, the Sex and the City star as the face of Ahava, in August 2009 Oxfam finally suspended Kirsten Davis from being a goodwill ambassador.
Kristin Davis is no longer the face of Ahava.