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      Pro-Arab Canadian Group Targets Dead Sea Products

      Pro-Arab in group calls for boycott of Ahava Dead Sea products, while pro-Israel group calls for a “buycott”.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 1/12/2011, 2:21 AM / Last Update: 1/12/2011, 3:13 AM

      courtesy of Ahava Cosmetic

      A pro-Arab group in Canada has called for a boycott of the popular Ahava Dead Sea products.

      The group who called for the boycott is Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), a non-profit and secular organization which brings together “men and women of all backgrounds who labor to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East,” as its website states. The group’s identified mission is “to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.”

      CJPME, which has a “Consumer Boycott Target of the Month,” announced on its website that this month’s target will be the Ahava Dead Sea products and is urging Canadian consumers to send messages to distributors of Ahava products and let them know of the boycott.

      A “fact sheet” posted on the CJPME website claims that Ahava “is economically linked to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. Almost forty-five percent of AHAVA is owned by Mitzpe Shalem and Kalia, two illegal Israeli colonies established near the Dead Sea shorelines of the West Bank.”

      The group also says that approximately eighteen percent of Ahava is owned by Shamrock Holdings, which CJPME claims “invests in the construction of Israel’s separation wall.”

      In addition, the group list three key reasons for boycotting Ahava products: One, that “the mud and mineral resources used in AHAVA’s Dead Sea products are drawn from the Dead Sea shores of occupied Palestinian territory.”

      Second, the group claims that Ahava’s products are manufactured in a factory located in Judea and Samaria, which they claim is “particularly problematic for Canadian citizens and taxpayers” since they say that the Canadian government “does not recognize Israel’s claims to the West Bank.”

      Thirdly, the group claims that “Israel’s current colonial endeavours in the West Bank are in violation of the 1993 Oslo Accords.”

      Ahava, which was established in 1988, manufactures skin-care products made of mud and mineral-based compounds from the Dead Sea. Ahava exports to over thirty countries worldwide including Canada, where its products are sold by large department store chains such as the Hudson’s Bay Company and Sears.

      While CJPME is calling for consumers to write Hudson’s Bay and Sears and let them know of the boycott, the BUYcott Israel group, which aims to support Israel by encouraging the purchase of products and services from Israel, sent an urgent call to its members on Tuesday to buy Ahava products in droves.

      “The Bay department stores across Canada have been targeted by boycotters for carrying AHAVA Beauty Products from Israel,” read the letter. “The store is under enormous pressure to drop the line. It is URGENT that you visit your local Bay and purchase AHAVA products within the next 48 hours. Be sure to thank the store for carrying AHAVA. As well, please write to The Bay executives, urging them to continue stocking AHAVA products.”

      This is not the first time that there has been an attempt to boycott the popular Dead Sea products. A similar attempt in Brooklyn three months ago actually achieved the opposite and managed to boost the company’s business.

      Two boycott campaigns were also conducted by the Dutch Socialist Party and the Badjassen Brigade in the Netherlands. As well, the British Oxfam organization canceled a modeling contract with supermodel Kristin Davis after she was retained to become the spokesperson for Ahava.