A month after a Japanese distributor decided to stop carrying Ahava cosmetic products because of the company’s fraudulent practices and its profiteering from occupation, a major Norwegian retail chain announced that it, too, will stop sales of all Ahava products across the country.
Ahava products are made in the illegal West Bank settlement of Mitzpe Shalem, with resources taken from the Dead Sea in the West Bank. The cosmetics line profits that settlement and the settlement of Kalia, both of which are co-owners of Ahava. The products have been the target of boycott campaigns around the world, and more information and background can be accessed at stolenbeauty.org.
The Norwegian People’s Aid and the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (Fagforbundet) stated on the BDS Movement website today that:
Norwegian retail chain VITA made public on Friday their decision to stop all sales of products originating from settlements in occupied Palestine. VITA will therefore stop selling products from the cosmetics brand Ahava. VITA has been the main retailer of Ahava products in Norway, and this decision will be a serious blow to the sales of Ahava products in Norway.
The principled decision by VITA not to buy products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank is based on a position of not wanting to contribute to violations of international law. This is also the position of Norgesgruppen, a company holding 49% of the shares in VITA. BAMA, another Norgesgruppen company has implemented the same policy regarding Israeli fruit and vegetables for several years already.
The VITA decision comes after a period of active lobbying from Norwegian People’s Aid and the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (Fagforbundet), providing VITA and VITA’s owners with information about Ahava and their production in the Mitzpe Shalem settlement. Activists in Norway have also focused on Ahava and will now launch a new campaign to have other stores follow VITA’s example.