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Boycott turns into ‘buycott’ for West Bank lotions

The Brooklyn Paper
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Controversy sells — and in Brooklyn Heights, it’s also good for the skin.

Local Jewish leaders and anti-Israel protesters faced off on Montague Street — again — on Tuesday, holding a raucous debate over whether West Bank-made lotions sold at Ricky’s cosmetics shop support Israel’s “illegal” occupation of the embattled region.

Not that there was any actual “debate,” of course, just shouting across the sidewalk, as those who called for a boycott of Israeli-manufactured Ahava cosmetics and purchasers of said projects faced off for the second time in as many months.

In the end, the boycott supporters ended up actually promoting the Ahava products, as Heights residents flocked to Ricky’s with their wallets open.

“I came in when I saw the flags — I think [the boycotters] are absurd,” said Ginger Berman, who bought a tub of Ahava bath salts. “There are so many other big issues to protest, why this?”

The reason, say opponents from Brooklyn for Peace, is that Ahava products use mud from the Dead Sea and other minerals from the West Bank — resources that rightly belong to Palestinians.

Protesters say that the Geneva Conventions is on their side in this millenial Mideast conflict, but Raskin and his crew say that a 1995 agreement between Israel and the Palestinians granted control of a large part of West Bank land to Israel — including the part where Ahava products are made.

Protesters may have outnumbered the supporters of the cosmetics company — including Rabbi Aaron Raskin of Congregation B’nai Avraham on Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights, who has called the protests anti-Semitic.

Anti-Semitic, perhaps, but great for business. Ricky’s employees said that they sell out of Ahava products every time there is a protest — and there have been others in Manhattan, a neighboring city.

The timing of this week’s protest seemed designed to make a point, given that Israel’s 10-month moratorium on settlement-building in the West Bank expired on Sunday.

“This issue isn’t about Jews, it’s about justice for Palestinians whose minerals have been stolen,” said Felice Gelman at the rally. “We’ve asked Ricky’s to stop selling them, and they won’t.”

Given the soaring sales for Ahava products on Tuesday, the group may want to reconsider its boycott strategy.

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Reader Feedback

Publius from Bklyn Heights says:
As with the last astroturf protest by the paid Code Pink operatives, I will make another Ahava purchase at Ricky's on Montague St. tomorrow.
Sept. 29, 2010, 1:48 am
dovber from crown heights says:
I was there, and I would like to thank all the protesters for advertising these Ahava products - not all supporters of Israel even knew that Israeli products were being sold there, and now I'm sure they will regularly buy from there.
Sept. 29, 2010, 4:09 am
Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
Only the immoral and grotesquely stupid would support a boycott of Israel.

Thankfully, such morons are few and far between--at least in the United State.
Sept. 29, 2010, 12:54 pm
Brian from Bensonhurst says:
Dear Author: you described the occupation as "illegal" in air quotes, like you're not really sure. For clarity, it isn't the occupation itself that's considered illegal by Geneva (to which Israel is a signatory), it's the presence and expansion of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories - like the ones where Ahava products are made - that are illegal. That's not a fringe position - it's the view held by every world government outside of Jerusalem, including our own State Department. So you can safely use the word "illegal" without air quotes as long as you are describing the settlements and not the occupation.

I don't know the hearts and minds of these protestors, so I can't prove their anti-Semitisim or lack thereof. I seriously doubt the Rabbi can either. I assume he is familiar with another West Bank boycott - the Ariel actors boycott, where dozens of Jewish-Israeli actors have refused to participate in theater productions in the settlements - along with a support letter signed by several Jewish-American actors including Mandy Pitinkin, Wallace Shawn, and Cynthia Nixon. So I'm sure Rabbi is fully aware that criticism of Israeli policy can be rooted in a feeling other than anti-Semitism.
Sept. 29, 2010, 1:17 pm
Penny Clark from Brooklyn Heights says:
Why, I think the Rabbi was magnificent! He is so brave. I didn't see any of our other neighborhoods rabbis out there valiantly battling these terrorists in sheeps clothing! Thats for sure. I remember 9/11 and how they all cheered as the towers came down.

He was wonderful!
He brought with him 25 or so Hassidic boys and they danced and heckled right back at all the anti-Jewish trash that those horrible people kept insulting passersby with. And to think! In OUR neighborhood, these hooligans rant and chant like they are in taliban country- I am not even Jewish and I was insulted that such nasty things could be said about anyone in our country with the police standing there and doing nothing. A shame!

On top of that the Arab protestors were waving an American Flag next to their Arab flag of some sort...
Sept. 29, 2010, 2:43 pm
Publius from Bklyn Heights says:
For some truthful and moral clarity, PM Netanyahu's recent speech to the UN is enlightening and relevent to this issue:

http://www.standwithus.com/app/iNews/view_n.asp?ID=1599
Sept. 29, 2010, 3:17 pm
Carl B. from Coney Island says:
Stop being so ignorant! People who buy Ahava are supporting Israel, an apartheid state that constantly ignores international laws.

Boycott groups are calling for equal rights for both Israelis and Palestinians, but in Israel, Jews have far more rights than Palestinians who are treated as human garbage by the Israeli government.

In Palestine, houses have been demolished, families have been made homeless, children have been arrested, shot and killed. Palestinian movement is controlled though a series of checkpoints, barriers and blockades and the apartheid wall and Israel uses overwhelming force against Palestinians. Many places even within the West Bank are off limits to Palestinians and Gaza has been described as the world's largest open air prison.

BtW, I'm Jewish and have seen all of this with my own eyes.

What is needed is a regular vigil outside Rickys to remind those who purchase Ahava cosmetics - Jew or Gentile - how morally repugnant their actions are. Those who purchase Ahava in spite should hang their heads in shame! The owners of Rickys should be prosecuted for selling stolen goods. In England, they're showing us the way.

Code Pink and other peace groups should be commended for the excellent work they are doing. Its only a matter of time, as Israel is dying a death by a million cuts.
Sept. 29, 2010, 8:35 pm
Barbara from Boro Park says:
Whatever your opinion on this issue, please stop the hateful name calling. Code Pink and other peace groups protested against the US war in Iraq without being called "anti-American" in this paper, why do you start calling them "anti-Israel protesters" now?

Although other groups have, Brooklyn For Peace, who called to picket, has not adopted a blanket boycott of Israel. This particular product is made by an Israeli company based in a settlement in the occupied West Bank of Palestine - although Ahava labels them as “products of Israel.” These settlements are illegal under international law. Even those who say the occupation is necessary for security (and I think the occupation makes everyone less secure) should know that profiting from resources taken from an occupied territory is also illegal.

More important that the legal argument, these settlements are the biggest obstacle to reaching a negotiated solution that would be best for both sides in this conflict.
I believe that in this case, the boycott is justifiable.
However, I know there are different opinions on how best to help bring peace to the region. One would hope we could have a rational discussion on the subject. This is not helped by baseless claims of being "anti-Israel," or much worse, "anti-Semitic."

There should be no place for anti-Semitism or any other kind of racism in these arguments. I would be the first to condemn it if I saw it here.
But the dangers of anti-Semitism should not be lessened by throwing the term around where it does not apply. The crowd picketing Ricky's appeared to be majority Jewish, with many others, including a few Palestinians. All were clear about the actions of Israel they disagreed with. None were in any way anti-Semitic, and I think it outrageous that the Brooklyn Paper, or Rabbi Aaron Raskin, should use the term so loosely.
Sept. 29, 2010, 9:15 pm
Matt from Manhattan says:
It is quite clear that these protesters truly do not know their history. They simply repeat the information that they have read and most probably will continue to read from pamphlets and the such. News flash for you: if you were to pick up a history book that is not written by a political activist and read just the facts on the ground, most people would recognize a situation where the Palestinian leadership has never missed a chance to miss a chance at peace.

While you may say that a settlement is illegal, or that there is an illegal occupation, by simply saying those comments without giving those who listen a context within which such actions take place is not only wrong but disgusting. As has become more and more obvious to those who follow the news from around the world today everything can be given a spin. And by leaving out the necessary context to fully understand a given situation you protesters are in effect attempting to dupe the world (or perhaps you yourselves have been duped).

I am not Jewish, I do not hate Palestinians, I do not hate Muslims. I do not blame the Palestinian people for their situation, nor do I blame the Israeli people for the situation. Who I do blame is the Palestinian leadership, whether that comes in the form of Abbas or Hammas (a group which the whole world (aside from the Muslim world) views as being a terrorist group and was Democratically elected in Gaza).

The leadership which the Palestinian people have been so unfortunate to have, whether by no fault of their own or sole fault of themselves, have never cared about attaining peace in the region nor providing for the Palestinian people. In fact, it was only in the mid 90's when the PLO charter took out of its language the call for the destruction of the Jewish people (not only the Jewish state, which would be bad enough). Simply put this ideology is Anti-Semitic. There are no ifs ands or buts about it.

I have noticed that many on this board have argued that since many of these protesters are Jewish that they must not be Anti-Semitic or that they must be right in some way. Again this argument has no logic to it. Simply because someone happens to belong to a certain religion does not give them some type of authority on political issues. Additionally, simply because someone belongs to a group does not mean they are not self hating (whether that means people who are Roman Catholic but hate the Catholic Church and everything it stands for, or Jewish people who hate their Jewish heritage and everything it stands for).

What the Jewish presence does tell you is that Jews in the Western world are a product of their societies, and often will be bent on trying to prove to their countrymen that they are in fact aligned with them and are not part of a "competing" nation. In fact, this exact set of circumstances is nothing new, and has happened numerous times in the past (including in Germany prior to the Nazi Holocaust, in France prior to the French Revolution, in England prior to the Jewish expulsion from England in the 12th century -- don't believe me, pick up a history book on these topics).

As for what makes people secure and can secure a lasting peace in the region, its simple. Discontinue the education of hate that exists within the Muslim world at large as well as within the Palestinian education system and the extremist mentality which threatens each and every person who values Western ideals will eventually fade. There are numerous organizations around the world whose sole purpose is monitor the media within the Muslim world at large (of which the Palestinian people are no exception). What has been shown to children is appalling, including clips of Mickey Mouse telling children that they are commanded by G-d to cleanse the world of the Jewish filth.

Or a childrens show where a young boy says to his uncle that he had met a nice Jewish boy who he has become friends with, at which point the uncle yells at the boy and asks if he is crazy, explaining that the Jews are deceitful and that they are only looking for the opportunity to stab them (the rest of the world?) in the back. The uncle goes onto to warn the boy not to tell anyone else that he had made friends with a Jew, or they would be heckled by their peers and perhaps physically harmed. This is why no peace process has been able to succeed in the region, because materials like these indoctrination tools must be taken off of the air.

I truly hope that that region does find peace, and soon. I hope even more that the Palestinian people decide to represent themselves and stop being taken advantage of for the political aspirations of others (whether individuals or organizations). Only then can the Israeli government (which is by no means completely clean themselves) have a suitable partner in peace.
Sept. 30, 2010, 10:20 am
Publius from Bklyn Heights says:
Matt: Thanks for the sanity check.
Sept. 30, 2010, 10:37 am
Carl B. from Coney Island says:
Matt, between your lenthy and pointless discourse, you fail to realise that Hamas was DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED by the Palestinian people and has provided the Palestinian people with essential social services. It is not the perfect organisation, but once again, for your benefit, let me repeat that it was DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED.

The Palestinian people support Hamas because is the only Palestinian organisation taking care of Palestinians. Palestinians dont have an army to defend themselves from Israel. Hamas is all they have.

Hamas is a not just a militant organization, but a political party, a very popular organization because they have been forming a militia to defend Gaza. But in early 2008, they had a battle with Fatah's militant organization in Gaza and they won the battle. There, the people had to decide between Fatah or Hamas, they voted Hamas over Fatah.

Fatah now controls the West Bank, but they are letting the Israelis build settlements there. In Gaza, Hamas rejects Israelis building settlements. So Israel favors Fatah because it is basically powerless, while Hamas is much stronger and more politically active than Fatah's members.

Unlike you, I am Jewish - and many Jews like myself have always taken a stand against human rights abuses. Jews have been in the forefront of the struggle for equal rights, including the civil rights struggle here in America and were active in the campaign to end to Apartheid in South Africa. By the way, many South Africans admit the Palestinians have it much, much worse than Blacks did during the bleakest days of apartheid. What do you say about that? Jews like myself are also very active to end the apartheid system that exists in Israel. From both within and outside of the country.

You fail to realise that the majority of people want equal rights for BOTH Israelis and Palestinians. Currently, thats not happening. Palestinians are being persecuted with overwhelming force, are losing their homes and undergoing a slow-motion genocide at the hands of Israel. As an example, approx. 1,417 Palestinians were killed during Operation Cast Lead vs. 15 Israelis (many as a result of friendly fire). Lets also not forget the Mavi Marmara. Its like taking a hammer to the head of a young child that throws a paper ball at you.

Matt, as they say in your part of town, wake up and smell the coffee.
Sept. 30, 2010, 12:10 pm
Marguerite from Brooklyn Heights says:
The BDS movements goal is not to change Israel policy through financial pressure- the goal is the continuing delegitimation of the only Jewish state in the world.
If the goal was simply economic, the BDS'ers would have quit years ago. BDS has been failing for ten years now. Israeli exports in the last half of 2009 increased 33 %- the Israeli economy is considered one of the few bright spots in the world wide recession. The Israeli GNP has grown over 80 billion dollars since BDS began.
BDS'ers simply do not accept the right of the Jewish people to self detremination in their ancient homeland. And without that, there can be no peace.
And yes, I spent $75 at Ricky's, buying frighteningly expensive hand cream and bath salts that I frankly don't want or need, as a gesture of support for tiny Israel, who really is engaged in a battle for her life.
Sept. 30, 2010, 1:37 pm
Jerry from Manhattan says:
It seems pointless to me to try to rebut all of the misstatements in the screeds posted by Carl from Coney Island since his point of view obviously stems from some deep hatred, but I do want to say that Carl saying things like the Palestinians are "undergoing a slow-motion genocide at the hands of Israel" means either that Carl doesn't know what words like "genocide" mean, or is a flat-out liar -- in either case what he says is not to be trusted.
Sept. 30, 2010, 1:57 pm
Carl B. from Coney Island says:
Marguerite, you say that: "BDS'ers simply do not accept the right of the Jewish people to self detremination in their ancient homeland....

Marguerite, just because you believe Israel has a historical and biblical right to colonise the West bank does not make it so. The International Court of Justice, the highest court in the world, for one does not agree with you. Just out of interest, do you believe Israel has a "historical and biblical right" to conquer all of the historical land of Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates, or would you be happy with simply ethically cleansing all of historic Palestine?

Jerry, here's some facts for you to mull over: Mitzpe Shalem is located 6 miles north of the green line, in an area that is internationally recognised as occupied Palestinian territory, therefore it is an ILLEGAL Israeli West Bank settlement. Between 1948 and 1967 the area was under Jordanian control and the Kibbutz was established in 1970.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitzpe_Shalem

Ahava CEO Yaacov Ellis recently confirmed the products are manufactured in the West Bank in this letter:

http://stolenbeauty.org/downloads/AhavaLetter.pdf

Note: "Ahava’s manufacturing facility is located at Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem, on the North‐Western shore of the Dead Sea, just 6 miles north of the “Green Line”, within the area usually referred as the West Bank"

Whether the products are extracted and processed in the West Bank or simply processed there, they are still from an ILLEGAL settlement.
Sept. 30, 2010, 3:21 pm
Carl B. from Coney Island says:
Marguerite, you say that: "BDS'ers simply do not accept the right of the Jewish people to self detremination in their ancient homeland....

Marguerite, just because you believe Israel has a historical and biblical right to colonise the West bank does not make it so. The International Court of Justice, the highest court in the world, for one does not agree with you. Just out of interest, do you believe Israel has a "historical and biblical right" to conquer all of the historical land of Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates, or would you be happy with simply ethically cleansing all of historic Palestine?

Jerry, here's some facts for you to mull over: Mitzpe Shalem is located 6 miles north of the green line, in an area that is internationally recognised as occupied Palestinian territory, therefore it is an ILLEGAL Israeli West Bank settlement. Between 1948 and 1967 the area was under Jordanian control and the Kibbutz was established in 1970.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitzpe_Shalem

Ahava CEO Yaacov Ellis recently confirmed the products are manufactured in the West Bank in this letter:

http://stolenbeauty.org/downloads/AhavaLetter.pdf

Note: "Ahava’s manufacturing facility is located at Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem, on the North‐Western shore of the Dead Sea, just 6 miles north of the “Green Line”, within the area usually referred as the West Bank"

Whether the products are extracted and processed in the West Bank or simply processed there, they are still from an ILLEGAL settlement.
Sept. 30, 2010, 3:21 pm
Raul from Flatbush says:
to Carl:
" you fail to realise that Hamas was DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED by the Palestinian people ...blah blah blah..."

There is more to a democracy than democratic election (Have you noticed there have been NO elections in Gaza since?) Since Hamas came into power, Sharia law has been imposed. Internet cafes are firebombed. The Christian minority is under siege- the owner of the only Christian bookstore in Gaza was tortured and killed. Women are persecuted for having their hair uncovered- even on the beach!. The Morality police are everywhere. Political dissenters are shot. Essential humanitarian supplies meant for the people of Gaza are diverted for the exclusive use of Hamas. While much of the population of Gaza lives on $2 a day, Hamas members make $50,000 and function as a ruling elite. Haniyeh is building himself a $4 million dollars villa in Gaza. The new water park, built for 2 million dollars, featuring pools, canals and water slides was torched because men and women were seen socializing there together. Really Carl- is that a democracy? It seems like a totalitarian theocracy to me.

"It is not the perfect organisation, but once again, for your benefit, let me repeat that it was DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED. "

So was George Bush. Does That mean we owed him unconditional allegiance?
" Hamas is all they have."
Actually, if elections were held today, polls indicate Hamas would lose power. That’s why we wont see any elections any time soon.

And the comment about "slow motion genocide?" That must be a joke, Carl. Its more like "genocide in reverse"- the population of Palestinians has quadrupled in the years of Israel's "brutal" occupation. Life expectancy is among the highest in the Arab world, and infant mortality is among the lowest. Carl - someone born in Gaza has a higher life expectancy than someone born in Turkey. Perhaps the flotilla was heading in the wrong direction

JUst one more thing Carl- the west bank and Gaza are "disputed" territories, not occupied territories, according to some of the best legal minds of our generation
Sept. 30, 2010, 5:51 pm
Carl B from Coney Island says:
I never said that Hamas is perfect, or that I agree with their policies, however they were DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED. Hamas provided essential and other social services for Palestinians where others failed. Americans voted for George Bush, but not everyone agreed with his policies.

Raul, you fail to address Israel's record on its treatment of Palestinians that has ben condemned by just about every government in the world, Raul, you fail to say why Israel ignores calls from world bodies to obey international law, Raul, what makes your warped definition of "disputed" territories above the accepted international definition of what they really are - occupied territories.

"Ahava’s manufacturing facility is located at Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem, on the North‐Western shore of the Dead Sea, just 6 miles north of the “Green Line”, within the area usually referred as the West Bank"

Mitzpe Shalem is located 6 miles north of the green line, in an area that is internationally recognised as occupied Palestinian territory, therefore it is an ILLEGAL Israeli West Bank settlement. Between 1948 and 1967 the area was under Jordanian control and the Kibbutz was established in 1970.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitzpe_Shalem

Ahava CEO Yaacov Ellis recently confirmed the products are manufactured in the West Bank in this letter:

http://stolenbeauty.org/downloads/AhavaLetter.pdf

Whether the products are extracted and processed in the West Bank or simply processed there, they are still from an ILLEGAL settlement.

When a population isn't made homeless by an Israeli government that bulldozes their homes, so that Jewish settlers can build ILLEGAL settlements, when a population living in a land does not have their movements strictly controlled, when Israel ceases to use overwhelming lethal force on Palestinians, when Palestine refugees have the right of return, etc, etc. then I will stop using the word "genocide".

Raul, you are very brave sitting behind your keyboard. I suggest you go to the West Bank (you can't go to Gaza, because Israel is imposing an ILLEGAL blocade) and see the atrocities with your own eyes.

When you buy Ahava, from this 'little shop of horrors' on Montague Street, this is what your purchase is funding.
Oct. 1, 2010, 3:33 am
Publius says:
Carl B. = Code Pink astroturfer.
Oct. 1, 2010, 1:15 pm
Carl B. from Coney Island says:
Comment by Publius = short but pointless.

Most people of conscience are hard-pressed to defend the policies of the state of Israel. Most people of conscience can't defend the racist philosophy of Zionism, which is akin to Apartheid and other nameless political philosophies which put one group of people above others.

Ahava uses products from the Occupied Territories. Those who buy it and other Israeli goods are no different from those who broke the boycott of Germany during the 1930's. Come to think of it, they were Zionists too. Birds of a feather…
Oct. 1, 2010, 3:02 pm
Publius says:
Readers notice that "Carl B." doesn't deny his affiliation as a paid astroturfer of Code Pink/"Brooklyn for Peace".

These paid operatives are working their anemic showings at "demonstrations" to the max by attempting to take any publicity they receive and magnifying it through talkbacks and other social media.

Welcome to the Internet Age folks, where the most shoestring Astroturfing propaganda machine can claim legitimacy.
Oct. 1, 2010, 5:09 pm
Fred from brighton beach says:
The issue is International Law and gross violations of human rights of non-Jews in Israel and in the occuooied territory. There are actually roads for Jews Only and the colonies are to build housing that only Jews can live in. Houses of non Jews, both Christians and Moslems, are blown up in Jerusalem to be replaced by housing tht is for Jews Only. This is ethnic cleansing of non-Jews, which Israel has been doinf for decades.

Our tax dollars are supporting these horrific policieds. Since our government does nothing to stop these apartheid actions by Israel, people of conscience must do something, that's why boycotting is so important.
Oct. 2, 2010, 8:05 am
to Fred from Ocean beach says:
Fred if the roads are Jew only, why are highway signs in English arabic and Hebrew? You've never been to Israel, so you don't know. you are just repeating lies you've heard. I have seen road signs in Saudi Arabia that say Muslims only. I challenge you to show me one highway sign in Israel that says Jews only. there are none.
If they existed, there would be a photo on the web. find it and link to it. Or admit it doesn't exist
Oct. 2, 2010, 8:59 pm
Terri from rockaway says:
Sorry, Fred. Whats with this "ethnic cleansing of non-Jews" bit? The Arab population of this land has quadrupled in the last generation. Israelis the only country in the Middle east where the christian population is increasing (mostly form those fleeing muslim areas). And Israel gave the Bahai, fleeing genocidal persecution in Iraq sanctuary. Israel remains a pluralistic, diverse democracy, and a sanctuary for the persecuted refugees from all over the Middle east
Oct. 3, 2010, 5:20 am
Carl B. from Coney Island says:
Yesterday, people of conscience occupied and closed the Ahava store in London, England for the fourth time.

For a full report and photos, go to: www.freepalestinefortnightlydemo.wordpress.com

Maybe we should do something like this in Brooklyn. Sounds like a great idea!
Oct. 3, 2010, 10:45 am
Carl B. from Coney Island says:
As a public service, at no charge, here's the report:

The central London branch of Israeli settlement company Ahava was occupied by Pro-Palestine activists from 11:30am until 3:00pm today, shutting the shop for business for entire time. Two activists managed to bring a concrete slab with tubing going through the middle into the shop and lock their arms together inside it, thus blockading the shop. The shop assistant attempted to remove them from the shop but gave up when she realised they had locked their arms inside.

The police arrived on the scene after 15 minutes and moved supporters carrying a banner outside the shop, where they proceeded to engage with a supportive public about the Palestinian issue and the nature of Ahava’s business.

Instead of waiting for the trained lock on cutting team, at 2pm the police began to dismantle the lock on themselves with a hammer, risking injury to the activists whose arms were locked inside. Luckily no one was hurt and by 2.30pm they had removed the activists from the lock on and arrested them activists for aggravated trespass; committing trespass with the intent to stop a lawful activity. The aggravated trespass charge will of course be challenged by asserting that Ahava’s business is not lawful and so no lawful activity was halted.

When activists supporting the action left the scene at 3pm, the store was still closed, brining the total closure time to at least 3.5 hours, over half of the trading time on the day on which Ahava generally receives the most business; Saturday.

Ahava sells beauty products that are manufactured in the illegal Israeli West Bank settlement of Mitzpe Shalem, on the Dead Sea shore, 6 miles north of the Green Line. Despite operating from a settlement, Ahava label their goods ‘made in Israel’, and so are not only guilty of breaching international law by operating on occupied land, but are also dodging British tax by taking advantage of tax breaks offered as part of Israel’s enhanced EU trading agreement, tax breaks that the European High Court confirmed in February do not apply to settlement goods after a case involving settlement company Soda Club Inc .

An international boycott campaign against Ahava has been gaining momentum for the last three years. Actions have taken place in London, Tel Aviv, New York, Las Vegas, Paris, Washington DC, Santa Monica, Chicago, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Austin, Montreal and the Czech Republic. The American peace group CODEPINK launched its official campaign against Ahava called ‘Stolen Beauty’ in July 2009.

Since January 2009, three occupations have been staged inside the Ahava shop on Monmouth Street. The charges were dropped for the first one and the prosecution for the last two collapsed in August after the store manager failed to turn up for court, possibly under pressure, as she would have been forced to expose the illegality of Ahava’s business in a court of law.
Oct. 3, 2010, 10:47 am
Carl B. from Coney Island says:
The central London branch of Israeli settlement company Ahava was occupied by Pro-Palestine activists from 11:30am until 3:00pm today, shutting the shop for business for entire time. Two activists managed to bring a concrete slab with tubing going through the middle into the shop and lock their arms together inside it, thus blockading the shop. The shop assistant attempted to remove them from the shop but gave up when she realised they had locked their arms inside.

The police arrived on the scene after 15 minutes and moved supporters carrying a banner outside the shop, where they proceeded to engage with a supportive public about the Palestinian issue and the nature of Ahava’s business.

Instead of waiting for the trained lock on cutting team, at 2pm the police began to dismantle the lock on themselves with a hammer, risking injury to the activists whose arms were locked inside. Luckily no one was hurt and by 2.30pm they had removed the activists from the lock on and arrested them activists for aggravated trespass; committing trespass with the intent to stop a lawful activity. The aggravated trespass charge will of course be challenged by asserting that Ahava’s business is not lawful and so no lawful activity was halted.

When activists supporting the action left the scene at 3pm, the store was still closed, brining the total closure time to at least 3.5 hours, over half of the trading time on the day on which Ahava generally receives the most business; Saturday.

Ahava sells beauty products that are manufactured in the illegal Israeli West Bank settlement of Mitzpe Shalem, on the Dead Sea shore, 6 miles north of the Green Line. Despite operating from a settlement, Ahava label their goods ‘made in Israel’, and so are not only guilty of breaching international law by operating on occupied land, but are also dodging British tax by taking advantage of tax breaks offered as part of Israel’s enhanced EU trading agreement, tax breaks that the European High Court confirmed in February do not apply to settlement goods after a case involving settlement company Soda Club Inc .

An international boycott campaign against Ahava has been gaining momentum for the last three years. Actions have taken place in London, Tel Aviv, New York, Las Vegas, Paris, Washington DC, Santa Monica, Chicago, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Austin, Montreal and the Czech Republic. The American peace group CODEPINK launched its official campaign against Ahava called ‘Stolen Beauty’ in July 2009.

Since January 2009, three occupations have been staged inside the Ahava shop on Monmouth Street. The charges were dropped for the first one and the prosecution for the last two collapsed in August after the store manager failed to turn up for court, possibly under pressure, as she would have been forced to expose the illegality of Ahava’s business in a court of law.
Oct. 3, 2010, 10:49 am
Publius says:
"Carl B." (actually Code Pink astroturfer), let your anti-Zionist hatred flow! Feel the power of the dark side!
Oct. 3, 2010, 12:18 pm
Carl B from Coney Island says:
You still haven't answered my question Publius.
I'll accept that you can't.

Does your Mom know that you are using her computer?
Oct. 3, 2010, 1:45 pm
Faizel S from Cape Town says:
We held a very successful protest against AHAVA on 2 October. This campaign against companies who steal Palestinian resources will continue to grow. The Apartheid policies of Israel will continue to be protested.

@Ocean beach: Apartheid roads do exist in the West Bank where racist Settlers are allowed to drive on roads forbidden to Palestinians. Even under Apartheid South Africa we could all use the same roads.
In Hebron Palestinians aren't allowed to walk on what was previously the main road, Shuhada Street, yet tourists and Settlers are. The murderer Baruch Goldstein is venerated as a folk-hero by Settlers and apologists for Israeli human rights abuses. who continue to steal land while pretending to be negotiating for peace.

You will never silence opppsition to Apartheid-Israel despite trying to claim that every protest is anti-Semitic. Oppositon to human rights abuses by Israel will continue and the boycott against Ahava will grow.
Oct. 4, 2010, 1:50 am
Dusty from Flushing says:
No, Faizel, the statement people took offense at was that Israel had Jew only roads and that was a lie. There are citizen only roads in certain areas, but there are Christian, Muslim, and Jewish citizens of Israel. Roads are not segregated by religion.

Why did Israel feel the need to restrict access in some communities just to citizens? Perhaps it was because of highway ambushes , like the murder of Tali Hautel, and her four small daughters

Tali Hatuel and her four daughters were killed when two Palestinian terrorists fired on their car. Their white Citroen station wagon spun off the road after the initial shooting, then the attackers approached the vehicle and shot the occupants dead at close range. Tali, 8 months pregnant at the time was killed trying to protect her girls. The Hatuels' car was riddled with bullets, and the carpet inside was stained with blood. The girls were killed hugging one another. The youngest were still in their car seats.

After the murder, P.A. Radio praised the "Heroic Attack" On "Settler-Terrorists".
Oct. 4, 2010, 1:14 pm
Shimon from Israel says:
Matt nabbed it great.

Publius, there is a new term to define people who engage in the type of behavior Carl B engages here its called WEBTARD.

I used to enjoy debating on israel issues however I have come to the final conclusion that it is pointless, as israel itself have figured long ago. Haters of israel have massed huge conventional armies to wipe off israel in the past and lost...what i mean is they already sent their missiles tanks and planes at israel what are few more words of hate gonna matter? doubt the hate can get to any new peaks, it is always around and it stems largely in arab population due to environmental effects like those micki mouse movies Matt mentioned

If you ever saw an anti israel demonstration notice the high percent of arab origin pro-palestinian protesters...it is always a herd of arabs with the occasional liberal here and there at my experience.

I'll also bring the point that if you or anybody wishes to boycott israel you should also boycott Intel,windows xp or higher,almost every air craft in US air force,advanced medical services like cam-pill,computer anti-virus among a long list of important world advancing Israeli influenced products.

I will not reply to trolling so do not bother(Carl B..), if you wish to chew on it go dig about Palestinian and you'll discover the real Palestine is Jordan(at current day a country with majority palestinian arab civilians and parliament..go check it yourself..) and Palestinian people never existed until after 1967 when they were made up as part of a long term arab strategy against israel, research that in your zion free computer :)
Oct. 4, 2010, 2:04 pm
Carl B from Coney Island says:
No doubt Shimon had to serve in the IOA (Israeli Occupation Army). One wonders if he served in one of the units that manned a checkpoint that forced Palestinians to wait hours to pass, or maybe he was one of the soldiers that protcted an illegal Israeli settlement? Then he could of been one of the brave warriors that murdered women and children in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead or perhaps he was stationed in Hebron where he probably took part in one of the forced evictions of Palestinian families? I wonder if Shimon knows how to drive a bulldozer like the one that ran over Rachel Corrie?

I don't blame Shimon for being so filled with hate towards Palestinians, as he was taught at a very young age that they are enemies of Israel.

Fortunately there are many brave Israeli peacemakers who defy their government, risking arrest and long term imprisonment by refusing to undertake military service, and/or participate in civil disobedience against the illegal occupation and take a brave stand against injustice.

Shimon is like Israel: Seeing enemies everywhere, thanks to its own aggressive policies and blaming the victim of its aggression for the crime; just like Israel blamed the nine activists of the Mavi Marmara who were murdered by them for their own deaths. The government of Israel does this quite often. It's like blaming the woman for the rape or the corpse for the murder.

The are that is now called Israel was settled by Palestinians long before the country came into existance. Over 500 Palestinian villiages were wiped off the map and thousands of Palestinians (including women and children) were murdered by Zionist forces. It is not Judiasm or Islam that is the cause of all these troubles, but Zionism.

Oct. 4, 2010, 5:45 pm
Fred from brighton says:
The roads for Jews Only are from the settlement areas to Israel proper. NonJews cannot use them. The settlements on land confiscatedm(stolen) from non Jews (both Christian and Moslem) are also for Jews Only. If this isn't aparthedi, then I don't know what is. Non Jews are also not given permission to build and when they do, they are bulldozed by Israelis.

Jewish supremacy is a powerful force in Israeli society, and anti-gentile laws are just that -laws. Check it out and get informed, unless you would rather live not knowing the crimes Israel commits against people simply because they were not born Jewish. Israel, has become a very right wing, anti-gentile nation.
Oct. 4, 2010, 11:22 pm
Tamara from Bayside says:
Fred, repeating it over and over still will not make it true. There are several citizen only roads in sensitive areas that are open to all Israeli citizens, Jews, Christians and Muslims. These are in areas where Israelis have been ambushed and killed (see Dusty's comment)

Israel is the most pluralistic and egalitarian society in the Middle east, ranked 38 out of 168 on the Economists Scale of Democracy.

According to Israel's declaration of Independence

(Israel) will will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions....

No supremact there.
Contrast that with the Hamas charter that states:
"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. "

"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."
Oct. 5, 2010, 7:51 pm
zionism is self determination says:
Carl B from Coney Island says:

It is not Judiasm or Islam that is the cause of all these troubles, but Zionism.

What does he mean? Zionism is Jewish self determination- the belief that the Jewish people want an idependent homeland. Its likely the oldest movement for self determination in the world.

Carl, do you believe all people in the world have the right to self determination EXCEPT the Jewish people? Why? Why do you want to deprive the Jewish people of the right to be free people in their homeland?
Oct. 5, 2010, 8:42 pm
fred from brighton says:
Tamara, the settlements are for Jews Only. and the roads to them are for Jews only. Christians and Moslems cannot live in these settlements.

95$% of the land in Israel cannot be bought or leased by nonJews. Israel dmolishes homes of non Jews to build housing for Jews Only. Israel does not build houses, even segregated ones, for non Jews.

Non Jews who call for equal rights, under the law, have been held in detention for months by the Shin Bet. Jews and non Jews cannot get married in Israel. A non Jew, not born in Israel, cannot become a citizen of Israel unless he or she converts to Judaism. Israeli Arab citizens cannot get citizenship for their spouses if they are from outside Israel. You call this a democracy? These are rasist policies, pure and simple. A non Jew has been jailed for having consensual sex with a Jewish woman.

How can any decent human beig support this?
Oct. 5, 2010, 10:30 pm
But Fred, you are wrong says:
ARAB ACCESS TO LAND IN ISRAEL
source: http://www.meforum.org/370/can-arabs-buy-land-in-israel

How do the Israeli Arabs fare in terms of land? Here we must distinguish between government, JNF, and private lands.

State-owned lands. Israeli Arabs have equal access to state-owned land—four-fifths of the entire country—both in theory and in practice. Indeed, about half of the land they cultivate is directly leased to them by the Israeli government through the ILA.

Moreover, when it comes to residential land, the ILA sometimes offers Israeli Arabs more favorable terms from than it does to Israeli Jews. Thus, the ILA charged the equivalent of $24,000 for a capital lease on a quarter of an acre in new Jewish communities near Beersheva while Bedouin families in the nearby community of Rahat paid only $150 for the same amount of land.16 In a different case, when a Jewish policeman from Beersheva, Eleizer Avitan, applied to the ILA to lease land in a Bedouin community under the same highly subsidized terms available to the Bedouins, the ILA refused to lease him land there under any terms, so he sued. Israel's Supreme Court ruled in favor of the ILA, saying that what might be viewed as ILA discrimination against the Jewish citizen Avitan was justified as affirmative action for Bedouin citizens.

JNF lands. The purpose of the JNF, according to both its original charter and its 1953 Israeli charter is to purchase land for the settlement of Jews, and this has been interpreted to mean that JNF land should not be leased, at least on a long-term basis, to non-Jews.18There are, thus, formal restrictions on the lease of JNF land to Arabs. That JNF lands are now administered by a government agency does not change this restriction, for JNF land is privately owned and to lease it on exactly equal terms to Jewish and Arab Israelis would violate the 1960 agreement that placed JNF lands under government administration.

So much for official restrictions. In practice, JNF land is leased to Arab citizens of Israel, for both short- and long-term use. Thus, the ILA has leased on a yearly basis JNF-owned land in the Besor Valley (Wadi Shallala), near Kibbutz Re'em, to Bedouins for use as pasture.19 Arab citizens have also leased JNF-owned land for housing purposes via a legal device that evades the restrictions against precisely such long-term use: The land in question is traded to the government so that it can be leased out and the JNF receives other land in return.20Such swaps have sometimes taken place under threat of court action.

Private lands. There are no restrictions on the purchase of private land in Israel. Israeli Arabs or non-citizens, including Arab foreigners, may freely purchase it. The Israeli authorities have placed no obstacles in the way of such purchases, which are proceeding, as Israel's Deputy Housing Minister Meir Porush recently noted:

The Palestinian Authority is encouraging purchases of land in Israeli territory by wealthy Palestinians. It is a matter of Palestinian figures tied to the real estate business, and living mainly in London, who try to purchase homes and lands in Jerusalem through agents and lawyers who live mainly in Ramallah.21
Clearly, many journalists reporting on Israel's land policies have uncritically accepted charges leveled by activists and Palestinian spokesmen. Typifying the problem was a New York Times article in which reporter Joel Greenberg made four major errors in one sentence:

"In Israel, Palestinians cannot buy state land, which is 91 percent of the country's territory, and state land held by the Jewish National Fund cannot even be leased to Israeli Arabs."

In fact, state land amounts not to 91 percent of Israel's territory but to roughly 80 percent; neither Arabs nor Jews can buy state land; the Jewish National Fund holds no state land; and JNF land is leased, with some restrictions, to Israeli Arabs.
Oct. 5, 2010, 10:47 pm
Fred from Broghton says:
Joel Greengerg had his facts correct. Most of the land belonging to the JNF was taken from nonJews without compensation, They are prohibited by law from leasing the land.

The settlements are for Jews Only-non Jews are excluded from the settlements. The Israeli government does not build housing-even segregated housing, for non Jews. This is apartheid, and this is why there is a boycott. Fairminded people, people against apartheid, and people in favor of equal rights for non Jews in Israel, should support the boycott.
Oct. 6, 2010, 11:26 am
Shimon from Israel says:
Fred, say you and I had a land, and there was another natural land between us. One day you decided to attack my land unfortunately for you this plan had failed and surprisingly I(the defensive side) happened to capture all the natural land and a part of your land in my counter attack.

According to international law since I was attacked not only am I allowed to create new defensible boarders but I am legally the owner of the land I had captured from you during our war.

Will you still claim this land is your and I stole it after the war? well it is logical to presume you will do that since it serves your agenda of getting this land back, how ever it doesn't make it correct. You attacked me and I won so I get the land and you get nothing such is the way of things.

I also discovered a gold mine now in this land which used to be yours, you never knew about the gold mine so never used it...if i am selling the gold now am I stealing it from you?...obviously not

You are not getting to the very simple bottom of this.
Oct. 6, 2010, 1:37 pm
Fred from Brighton says:
Shimon, according to International Law, the conquering of a territory does not give the conquering power the right to confiscate, settle, or remove people from their land. The conquering power is obliged to protect the conquered people and their property.

Israel violates international law by stealing and settling the land, and viokates God's moral law which states "Thou Shalt Not Steal".

In addition to that, Israeli settlements are not only illegal but they are apartheid settlements because the settlements are for Jews Only, and many of it's laws are based on Jewish supremacy, in law, over non Jews. If you are in favor of equal rights in Israel for Jews and Non Jew, and if you follow International Law and God's commandments, you should support the boycott so that Israel changes it's cruel policies towards the non Jewish population of Israel and Palestine.
Oct. 6, 2010, 5:57 pm
to Fred from Bensonhurst says:
Fred, in the apartheid West Bank, an Arab can be put to death for selling land to a Jew. Talk about unjust! Talk about unfair! Talk about apartheid!

Why does a future Palestinian state need to be Jew free, Fred? Why is Israeli obligated to be a bi-national state when the West Bank and Gaza refuse to be?

I'm just wondering.
Oct. 7, 2010, 2:59 am
Shimon from Israel says:
Fred while your care for what you refer to as apartheid is commendable you are ignoring basic facts and not passing the most shallow level of understanding the subject. Just historical FYI it is arab countries who attacked israel who promoted the civilians in the west bank to flee into jordan in 67, the arab leaders promised them they will return to all of israel after they 'push the jews into the sea'

The question you need to answer is why do the Palestinians suffer?.. although they do not suffer only playing on your initial empathy towards injustices, and exploiting you for political gain. It is a classic case of wolf in a sheep cloth, and this type of behavior is common in arabic culture. It is even part of Islam called taqyiaa or 'war of deception'.

If after educating yourself with an open mind you will still choose to ignore basic facts and stay at superficial level of understanding and mentally support a bunch of lying cry babies, who are actually terrorists who lost some fights and will do anything to harm Israeli interest including playing on your emotional responses so that they can increase their political power, then their plan has worked in your case and they gained your favor with their deception and good propaganda, by definition one side half truths and lies.

If you are an arab or Muslim you can ignore what I wrote, tis pointless to argue with people who follow a 'holy' book that says Jews are the sons of the apes and pigs who are eternally programed to be evil to muslims.
Oct. 7, 2010, 9:02 am
Carl Bruce from Coney Island says:
@Shimon, you say:

"...tis pointless to argue with people who follow a 'holy' book that says Jews are the sons of the apes and pigs who are eternally programed to be evil to muslims".

Showing your true racist, anti-Muslim colors now Shimon?

You give us Jews a bad name.
Oct. 7, 2010, 9:41 am
Fred from brighton says:
Shimone,
It is you who are biased and closed minded. Don't just blame Muslims fo things that Jews are guilty of. The Jews show great contempt for gentiles in the Talmud, calling them less than human, and saying tht Jews can steal from them and kill them and it is not a crime. Read the Talmud and learn about your religion (but you probably know about it already).

Also, The UN gave part of Palestine to Israel, but they didn't ask the Palestinians to agee to that, and they did not. Can you blame them? By the way, Israel is destroying Judaism. It's not wise to have a religion tied to a political state.
Oct. 7, 2010, 9:44 am
Matzpen from Canarsie says:
To say that Boycotting Israel, or any pro-Palestinian opinions, is somehow "anti-Semitic" is a cynical use of the memory of the Holocaust to change the subject, and is odious falsehood. To say that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic is itself anti-Semitic for it generalizes all Jews and creates an equivalence between all Jews everywhere and Israeli policies.
http://sherrytalksback.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/is-boycotting-israel-anti-semitic/
Oct. 7, 2010, 10:37 am
Shimon from israel says:
Fred,I do not deny i am biased, I am from Israel&proud of it..and I am also allowed to be biased to favor israel like you are biased to dislike it, there is nothing wrong with it since I know enough about the subject to make up my mind, it doesn't seem to be this way in your case, hopefully you will change this.

I never read the talmud it is not an official part of Judaism, and i am religious jew and actively visit synagogues. I did read tones of —— about it coming from israel haters, in fact the first time in my life I heard of the talmud was when I argued with israel haters a while back,If you wish to analogue it to your Islam it is closer to a remote hadith.

About anti semitism, well I didn't mention it but if you insist so here think about it.. all real anti semtics boycott israel but not all israel boycotters are anti semtic though some of them are bound to be cause all the anti semits hate jews and israel and therefore most of them(supposedly) also boycott israel, saying that is absolutely unrelated with anti semtism cannot possibly be correct.

History lesson:The UN gave 20% of trans-jordan(israel) to the jews, and 80% of trans-jordan(jordan) to arabs, arabs defied the un and attacked with forces out numbering the fresh out of holocaust jews 50:1, you seem to justify this 1948 arab israeli war you said "can you blame them?"

Well yea I can blame them, like any sane person would, and guess you are not that empathic and caring as you try to present yourself as you don't care for arab atrocities against jews or maybe you are just biased to love arabs, or maybe you are anti semitic I dunno.

lets see what you webtards can bring next, maybe the khazar story or the protocols of elders of zion and claim they are not anti semtic.
Oct. 7, 2010, 4:12 pm
Fred from brighton says:
No one should be proud when their nation is unjust to others. I am not proud of my country, the US, now because of it's war making. One can be proud of ones country it it is moral and follows International Law. Right now, leaders of both Israel and the US are guilty of war crimes or crimes against humanity. or both.

The ethical traditions of the Jewish people, in my opinion, are being thrown into the gutter by the state of Israel. I repeat what I said before, I think that Israel is destroying Judaism, because Israel says it represents the Jewish people, and acts in their name.

Both groups should live in that land with total equality for both. Nothing short of this should be acceptabe to decent human beings.
Fred
Oct. 13, 2010, 4:40 pm

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