19 December 2009
Ahava, an Israeli beauty product company that operates on stolen Palestinian land, was the target of protest on Saturday by approximately 20 pro-Palestine activists.
With Dead Sea mud covering their faces and dressed in bath robes on a freezing cold day, the protesters set out to highlight the complicity of Ahava in the expansion of Israeli settlements which are illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The activists came from a range of organisations that includes the International Solidarity Movement, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Jews for the Boycott of Israeli Goods and others. During the picket, numerous shoppers and passers by chatted with protesters, took leaflets and expressed their support and solidarity with the aims of the protest.
There was a tiny counter-demonstration by three or four “Pro-Zionists” who tried to encourage people to enter the shop via bribes of £5 store vouchers. They also tried to harass the pro-Palestine demonstrators, but were ignored.
The day of action in the UK was undertaken alongside international efforts by groups such as Code Pink in the USA. It took place a week following a blockade of Ahava which saw the Covent Garden shop closed for five hours as two protesters locked themselves inside.
The event is the most recent of a series of actions and demonstrations in the UK this year. The shop has been closed down three times and numerous other pickets have taken place. It also sits alongside international campaign efforts in the USA, Dubai, Israeli and Palestine which have set out to address the complicity of Ahava in the Israeli Occupation.