NYers to Boycott Israeli Cosmetics Made in Occupied West Bank, Sold in NYC

Contact: Naomi Allen, 917-439-9054
Nancy Kricorian, 646-234-8529

September 27th, 2010

Protest at Ricky's NYC to Inform Consumers, Sway Business Owners

NEW YORK CITY – On September 28th, Brooklyn for Peace, CODEPINK NYC, Adalah-NY and other local groups will bring the Stolen Beauty Ahava boycott campaign to Brooklyn for a second time. Local activists, some dressed in spa attire, most carrying signs and banners, will gather on Montague Street to tell Ricky's NYC: No More Ahava Cosmetics. The July 9th protest sparked great interest and controversy in the community, and there is expectation that the second demonstration will be even more of an event.

Where: Ricky's 107 Montague Street in Brooklyn Height (between Henry & Hicks)
When: Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 5:30 p.m.

Since August 2009, local activists have been trying to pressure Ricky's NYC, a family-owned chain that sells cosmetics and sundries, to stop carrying products made by the Israeli cosmetics manufacturer Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories because of the Ahava's illegal practices. In July 2010, Brooklyn for Peace organized the first Ahava protest in that borough outside Ricky's on Montague Street.

Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories is an Israeli cosmetics company that has its manufacturing plant and visitors center near the shores of the Dead Sea in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank. All Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law. The company is 44% owned by Mitzpe Shalem and another settlement, Kalia, so that the company's profits are subsidizing these illegal colonies. Although its goods are manufactured in the West Bank, Ahava labels them as “products of Israel,” a practice that is illegal under European Union law and is currently being investigated in the UK and Holland.

Nancy Kricorian, Stolen Beauty Campaign Manager, said, “The Hebrew word “Ahava” means love, but there is nothing loving about what the company is doing in the Palestinian territory of the West Bank. Ahava is an Israeli profiteer exploiting the natural resources of occupied Palestine.”

Since its launch in July 2009, the Stolen Beauty Ahava Boycott (www.stolenbeauty.org) has scored a number of successes. The first victory came after pressure on Oxfam, an international human rights organization, which had publicly condemned all Israeli settlement products, to suspend its Goodwill Ambassador Kristin Davis from publicity work for the duration of her contract as Ahava spokeswoman. Davis, best known for her work on HBO's Sex and the City, allowed her contract to expire a few months later. Abroad, coalition partners in London engaged the UK's Camden Trading Standards Office to investigate the legality of Ahava's labeling. Dutch activists and a Minister of the Parliament succeeded in convincing the Dutch Foreign Ministry to launch its own investigation of Ahava's business methods. Partners in Paris have recently filed suit against the cosmetics chain Sephora for carrying Ahava products.