The Covent Garden store of Israeli West Bank settlement company Ahava was once again closed for business today after pro-Palestinian activists locked to concrete barrels occupied the shop for three hours.
The protest over Ahava’s complicity in the Israeli occupation of Palestine began a little before 11am in tense fashion, with a customer in the shop launching a torrent of racial abuse at one action supporter for ten minutes before police arrived and all supporters were removed from the shop, with the customer shouting “All Muslims are scum” and “Halal meat is barbaric” at a Muslim action support activists.
The protest ended at 2pm after police managed to remove the activists from the shop and arrest them on suspicion of aggravated trespass.
It is unclear whether they activists will be charged, and if they are whether the case will hold up in court, previous similar actions against the company have yielded no convictions. A case against four campaigners collapsed in August this year when the store manager failed to turn up to court, ostensibly because she was on holiday though it is suspected by those involved in the anti-Ahava campaign that she did not want to attempt to answer possible questions about the legality of Ahava’s business in court., questions that have only grown stronger thanks to evidence produced at this weeks Russell Tribunal on Palestine.
The shop sells Dead Sea beauty products manufactured in the illegal Israeli West Bank settlement of Mitzpe Shalem, and there is a growing case that the sale of the products from such settlements is actually illegal in itself. Although Ahava operates from an area outside of the recognised borders of the state of Israel, Ahava labels as ‘made in Israel’ and so may be guilty of mislabeling offences.
A regular picket of the shop takes place every other Saturday; the next will take place again next Saturday (27th November) between 12 and 2 pm.