Ahava Blockaders Finally on Their Way to Court

By ISM London

On the 9th, 10th and 11th of August 2010, four protestors will appear in court facing the charge of aggravated trespass for having twice blockaded the Israeli-owned cosmetics shop, Ahava. Intending to prevent the sale of illegal settlement goods, the trial forms part of an ongoing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against the cosmetics shop and other consumer goods retailers which trade in products manufactured or grown on Israeli Settlements which have been recognised as illegal under international law by both the United Nations and the British government.

The London based campaign against Ahava compliments a larger international campaign against the company which mis-labels it’s products “Dead Sea: Israel”. Protests against Ahava have taken place in the US, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and France, with the French collective CAPJPO (Coordination pour une Paix Juste au Proche Orient) bringing the case against Ahava to French courts.

Irregular protests had taken place outside the shop over the course of 2009, including the first ever blockade in the midst of Operation Cast. In September 2009 two protestors went into the shop and locked onto a concrete block to prevent them being moved, in December 2009 the action was repeated.  However it was in 2010 that the campaign really gathered momentum and has seen protests take place outside the Covent Garden shop on a fortnightly basis. In addition, the actions have been supplimented by formal complaints to Camden Trading Standards calling for investigations, formal complaints to police, parliamentary questions and lobbying of MPs.

The campaign incorporates a wide number of organisations inclusive of ISM-London, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Kings College Palestine Solidarity, and many others. What the blockaders set out to accomplish was what the government, Camden Trading Standards and the police have so far refused to do; stop the trade in illegal settlement goods. They are now due in court to prove their actions were justified.

In response to the forthcoming court case a large demonstration has been called for the 14th August from 12 noon till 2pm. Bringing together concerned people to send a clear message regarding the ongoing trade in settlement produce and Israeli produce in general. More information on the trial and what comes from it will be posted in the forthcoming week so do look out for notifications.


Ahava’s products are manufactured on the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem and where the factory is a cooperative integral to the settlement, consequently profits go towards making the illegal settlement financially viable. Where the Fourth Geneva Conventions state that it is illegal for an occupying power to transfer civilian population into an occupied territory, and that an occupying power must not appropriate natural resources from an occupied territory, Ahava’s business practices thus serve to violate international law. Additional information on Ahava can be found here.

Furthermore, Ahava’s business practices are due to come before the Russell Tribunal on Palestine which will next convene in London in November 2010. The peoples tribunal will place the company’s actions within the context of international law and consider its complicity in possible war crimes

The BDS initiative [7] was born in 2005 through a call by Palestinian civil society groups and organisations seeking a global non-violent means to challenge the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. It has been taken up by numerous groups and organisations internationally and has become a unifying global movement for those seeking justice for Palestine.

Ahava, 39 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, London , WC2H 9DD