Letter to The Independent

This letter refutes two points made in The Independent article entitled “Natural History Museum Attacked over Links to ‘Illegal’ Israeli Company,” January 2012

To The Independent,

In your January 17 article entitled “Natural History Museum Attacked over Links to ‘Illegal' Israeli Company” there are many points that one could argue, including the use of the italics around the word illegal. But I will restrict myself to two.

At the end of the piece, the reporter writes, “The company has previously said that the Dead Sea mud and materials used in its products are excavated from Israeli land outside the occupied territories and that Mitzpe Shalem is not an illegal settlement.” This sentence contains two claims by Ahava that I know to be patently false. All Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank, including Mitzpe Shalem, are illegal under international law according to the International Court of Justice, all major human rights organizations, the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, the UN, and almost all governments worldwide. Only the Israeli government and as, we are told here, Ahava make claims to the contrary. Ahava can call Mitzpe Shalem a kibbutz, or a collective farm, or a space station, but that doesn't make it any less an illegal settlement. Secondly, there is documentary evidence that Ahava does source the mud used in its products from the occupied shores of the Dead Sea. Responding to a query from Who Profits, a project of the Israeli Coalition of Women for Peace, the Israeli Civil Administration, which governs Area C of the West Bank, confirmed via letter (that you can see in the original Hebrew or in English translation) that Ahava was granted a permit to excavate mud from the shores of the Occupied West Bank near the settlement of Kalia, which is a co-owner of Ahava and subsidized by the company's profits. By sourcing the mud used in its products from occupied shores, Ahava is flouting the Geneva Conventions, which specifically prohibit the exploitation of occupied natural resources. The legal term for this exploitation is PILLAGE.


Nancy Kricorian
Campaign Manager, Stolen Beauty Ahava Boycott
New York, New York