BDS pressure forces settlement firm to relocate

PNN/Bethlehem/

Israeli cosmetics company Ahava will relocate its factories and offices after the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) condemned its location in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank, reported Arab48.

The company is currently based in Mitzpe Shalem, a settlement one mile away from the Dead Sea in the West Bank and illegal under international law. It announced plans to relocate after coming under heavy pressure from BDS activists. The accumulative cost of relocating will be over 10m Israeli shekels ($2.5m)

Ahava has been the focus of a BDS campaign in the UK, Spain, US and other EU countries for a few years.

After a BDS campaign in 2011, it was forced to close one of its shops in London and 2 of its 7 branches in Israel as sales plummeted. According to Alternative News (AIC), the company also cancelled a ‘Twitter party’ due to be held last week after Palestine solidarity activists planned to crash the party and disrupt proceedings.

According to Forward, Ahava is considering opening a factory within Israeli borders instead, citing ‘changing needs’ rather than politics as the reason for its relocation.

BDS calls for an international boycott of Israel based on its policies in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem. The movement has been gaining ground in recent times, most recently convincing the UK company Boots to stop selling illegally-taken Dead Sea mud.

Channel Ten explained that Israel has already begun to feel the effects of the potential damage to the Israeli economy, and an Israeli official warned that the government had run out of ways to combat the BDS threat.