Ahava is an Israeli cosmetics company whose manufacturing plant and visitor center are located in the West Bank settlement of Mitzpe Shalem. All Israeli settlements in the West Bank violate international law. Further, Ahava uses in its products mud from the Dead Sea, excavated in an occupied area, and thus it exploits occupied natural resources for profit, which is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The settlements of Mitzpe Shalem and Kalia, situated in the occupied Jordan Valley, together hold 44% of Ahava’s shares. As such, Ahava profits subsidize these settlements and their residents. According to mapping done by Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, the settlements were constructed on the land of two former Palestinian villages: Nabi Musa where Kalia is now situated and'Arab al-Ta’amira near Mitzpe Shalem.
Because of its illegal practices, Ahava is the subject of an international boycott campaign. In June 2009, CODEPINK launched its Stolen Beauty campaign against Ahava with a protest at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv. A French activist group filed suit against the Sephora cosmetics chain for carrying Ahava. There have been boycott actions in Amsterdam, Paris, Montreal, London, Vienna, and around the United States.
Ahava’s labeling of its cosmetics as “products of Israel,” when they are in fact made in the occupied West Bank, has attracted scrutiny from government officials of different countries. The Dutch Foreign Minister has called for an investigation into Ahava and a British Minister of Parliament recently denounced Ahava’s labeling practices as “fraudulent”. In August 2010, the acquittal of four activists by a British Court of ‘aggravated trespass’, for actions in which they shut Ahava’s flagship store in London’s Convent Garden, raised issues about the illegality of settlement products being marketed in the UK as Israeli.
Ahava US is headquartered in New York at 411 Fifth Avenue, at 37th Street. Ahava products are sold by many New York retailers, including Ricky’s NYC, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, Beauty 360, City Chemists and independently owned pharmacies.