Online shopping site GILT, with over nine million members, drops Ahava cosmetics made in an illegal Israeli settlement in the Occupied West Bank from its roster of products
Press Contact: Nancy Kricorian, Stolen Beauty Campaign Manager
New York City, October 28, 2014 - GILT, a luxury online retailer, has dropped Ahava goods from its roster of products. The move comes following a letter exchange between the campaign manager of the Stolen Beauty Ahava boycott and GILT Co-Founder and Chairman Kevin P. Ryan, who also serves on the board of Human Rights Watch, which has repeatedly emphasized its disapproval of illegal Israeli settlements and occupation profiteering.
Ahava, an Israeli cosmetics firm with its factory and visitors center in an illegal West Bank settlement, is a privately held corporation. Approximately 37% is held by the West Bank settlement of Mitzpe Shalem, 37% by Hamashbir Holdings, and 7.5% by Kalia, another illegal West Bank settlement. The Roy Disney family fund Shamrock Holdings owns about 18.5% of the company.
Since 2009, Ahava has been the subject of an international boycott campaign because of the company’s illegal practices, including fraudulent labeling and pillage of occupied natural resources. Ahava’s brand has been tarnished by bad publicity and a series of international setbacks. In August 2009, Oxfam suspended Kristin Davis from publicity work as a Goodwill Ambassador for the duration of her contract as Ahava’s spokesmodel. In January 2012, a group of prominent U.K. academics and intellectuals denounced Ahava’s collaboration in an E.U.-funded research project. In February 2012, the company lost its Japanese distributor because of controversy surrounding Ahava’s illegal practices. In April 2012, Norway’s Vita chain announced it would no longer stock Ahava products. In May 2012, the United Methodist Church voted to boycott Israeli settlement products and in July of the same year the Presbyterian Church (USA) followed suit, specifically naming Ahava in its settlement boycott resolution. Around the same time, South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry announced new labeling rules for Israeli settlement goods. Ahava was mentioned by name as a company whose goods were fraudulently labeled as “Product of Israel” when their place of origin is the Occupied Palestinian Territories. In August 2012, Abigail Disney, whose family’s fund Shamrock Holdings owns 18.5% of the company, renounced her share of the corpus and interest on the investment. In September 2014, another major Norwegian retailer stopped stocking Ahava products.
Nancy Kricorian, campaign manager for the Stolen Beauty Ahava boycott, said, “We are thrilled that GILT is no longer selling Ahavaproducts. The only way we can help end Israel’s brutal and seemingly permanent occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza is to take the profit out of that occupation. Boycotting illegal settlement goods such as Ahava is a nonviolent gesture towards dignity, equality and justice at a time when Israel is violently colonizing occupied Palestinian territory in total disregard of international law and official US government policy.”