Protests against Israeli cosmetics firm in Covent Garden continue

Report by Rose, ISM London

Video by Fourman Films

On Saturday 10th April, approximately 40 protesters gathered in front of Ahava in Covent Garden to voice their opposition to the shop which sells products manufactured on the illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem. After the protest, demonstrators linked up with another BDS action against Veolia at the Natural History Museum.

The event is a collaborative effort, bringing together members of ISM, PSC, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, Kings College London Palestine Solidarity Group, UCL Action Palestine and a variety of other groups, organisations and individuals. As activists gathered outside the shop, they chanted, gave out leaflets and spoke with members of the public explaining what exactly they were doing and the vile nature of Ahava’s business. Many people were surprised to hear about Ahava’s trade in stolen goods went on to show support for the protesters’ efforts.

An attempt at a counter demonstration was made by the Zionist Federation co-chair Jonathon Hoffman and about three others. Their presence was largely ignored by passers by, and their small numbers reflected the general lack of support for their position.

The demonstration went on from 12 noon till 2pm, at which point everyone moved on to the Natural History Museum to protest against the Veolia sponsored Wildlife photographer of the year exhibition.

Where Ahava’s factories are on stolen Palestinian land, it acts to ethnically cleanse the West Bank of Palestinians and also increases the stability of these illegal settlements by making them economically viable. The existing settlements and their continued expansion contribute to making impossible any prospective negotiations for peace and the possibility of creating a viable Palestinian state.

The protests against Ahava sit alongside the efforts that have been taking place elsewhere in New York and Tel Aviv to oppose this shop. They also act in solidarity with the protesters of Bil’in, who have carried out weekly demonstrations against the Apartheid wall that thieves their land.

Saturday was the third in a series protests to be carried out against this company on a fortnightly basis. Furthermore, these protests have been building since the start of January 2009 which has seen demonstrations and occupations of the shop at various intervals. These actions culminated in four people being arrested for physically occupying the shop and are due to appear in court on Monday the 19th April.

The next protest is due to take place on Saturday the 24th April at 12 noon. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join and support the cause.