A battle waged over years by the BDS movement against the Israeli cosmetics company, Ahava, has ended in victory for anti-Occupation activists. After business news sites reported recently that a Chinese company was in talks to buy the company, the company announced today that it would move its plant from Mitzpeh Shalem in the West Bank to Kibbutz Ein Gedi. The Kibbutz is near the original plant, but firmly within the Green line. Construction of Ahava’s new facility will take two years.
Though Yediot Achronot’s headline falsely portrays the company’s announcement as a concession that it was “vanquished by hate,” this is clearly false. It was without doubt solely a business matter. Likely, the new Chinese corporate owners, who purchased the company last September for $75-million, didn’t want the headache of constant protests around the world and having their name dragged through the “mud.” They would much rather buy a product with tremendous potential and grow the business without distractions. The current Israeli owners would far prefer to cash out on their investment than to uphold the principle that Jews have the right to every inch of the Land of Israel. Money vanquished “principle.” In this case, money was right, principle wrong.
Keep in mind that the $75-million purchase price will be divided amongst the current Israeli owners who are kibbutzim (Kalia, Dead Sea, and Mitzpeh Shalem) sited on Occupied Palestinian land, and the Livnat family. This family is one of the infamous eighteen oligarchal families in Israel who control an enormous amount of the nation’s capital. So the sale itself will benefit those who have profited from the theft of Palestinian land and resources.
Ahava now joins at least three other companies including Sodastream which have moved from locations in the Occupied Territories to within Israel itself. Today’s news comes on the heels of G4S’s annual report which notes that it will exit the Israeli market in the next two years:
Through our continuing portfolio management programme, we also expect to exit a number of other businesses with combined revenues of c.£400 million in the next 12 to 24 months including G4S Israel…
The internatonal firm provides private security services for many Israeli enterprises, prisons and settlements and has been a BDS target for a number of years.
Mazel tov to CodePink for its brilliant Stolen Beauty campaign, and all the other NGOs who worked so hard to achieve this result. Certainly, the struggle is not over. But this is a victory to savor.
NOTE: I finally brought back the slideshow I displayed in the banner of the last version of the blog before the revamp. It’s smaller and in the sidebar rather than the banner. But I hope you enjoy it. If anyone reading this has technical knowledge of MetaSlider or slideshow plugins, please be in touch.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.