September 16, 2009
We at CODEPINK Women for Peace are writing to you today to urge your clients to decline any request that might be forthcoming from Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories to serve as a spokesperson. As you might know, CODEPINK (www.codepinkalert.org) is well known for its use of non-violent direct action in opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the wake of Israel's attack on and blockade of Gaza, we have joined the international movement to push Israel to adhere to international law and to respect the human rights of Palestinians.
This past spring CODEPINK launched a boycott campaign against the Israeli cosmetics company Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories. At the time, Sex & the City star Kristin Davis was working as a spokeswoman for Ahava, as well as a Goodwill Ambassador for Oxfam. We reached out to Ms. Davis asking her to end her connection with Ahava, a company whose practices blatantly contravene international law.
Ahava's main manufacturing plant and its visitor center are located in an illegal Jewish settlement in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank. (All these settlements are illegal under international law and are an impediment to peace in the region). In addition, Ahava also excavates mud from the shores of the Dead Sea. According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, it is illegal for an occupying power to exploit for profit the natural resources of an occupied territory. Ahava also labels its products as "Product of the Dead Sea, Israel" when they are actually from the Occupied Palestinian West Bank. This labeling is blatantly misleading and the European Union is working on legislation to make it illegal.
In response to our campaign, Oxfam began circulating a letter saying that they had suspended Kristin Davis from publicity work because the organization is against what they called "settlement products." This apparent conflict of interest was reported on Page 6 of the New York Post. Less than a month later, Gawker reported that Ahava had fired Kristin Davis, in part because of her connection to Oxfam. Davis's representatives said only that "the contract had expired."
We assume that Ahava will be looking for a fresh and beautiful new face to use to burnish their tainted image. We urge you to prevent Ahava from using the good name of one of your clients to whitewash their illegal practices.
Thanks for your attention to this important matter. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Stolen Beauty Campaign Coordinator
CODEPINK Women for Peace