Surprised to learn that this months (July 2013) edition of Yoga Magazine featured a half page spread advertisement for Ahava Stolen Beauty. Ahava’s ‘beauty secrets’ from the dead sea are derived from natural stolen Palestinian resources in the Occupied Territory of the Palestinian West Bank. They are produced in Israel’s illegal settlements. These settlements are illegal under international law.
Oxfam when responding to a question about Ahava’s deceptive packaging said:
“The settlements on the West Bank are illegal under international humanitarian law and that creates a lot of problems for the Palestinians that live there.”
“Consumers that are buying produce that are grown in illegal settlements need to have that information so that they can make an informed choice.”
Just over a year ago, Ahava’s flagship store in Covent Garden, London was closed down as a result of faithful fortnightly protests conducted outside by Human Rights campaigners, in opposition to the sale of Ahava’s stolen beauty.
Codepink a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S. funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally, and to redirect resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities are campaigning to end Ahava’s Stolen Beauty and are asking people to boycott Ahava saying ‘when you buy Ahava products you help finance the destruction of hope for a peaceful and just future for both Israelis and Palestinians.’
To my mind central to yoga is balance. The Yamas (ethical considerations) and Niyamas (self observation) are the first two limbs of Astanga Yoga. The Yamas provide for Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (not stealing), Brahmacharya (moderation) and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness).
The stealing of resources and the lives of indigenous people by imperial powers is a disgusting fact of both our past and present. As individuals we have the choice as to the extent we wish to be complicit in or opposed to it.
The greatest challenge is to achieve change within oneself. Witnessing Yoga Magazine’s advertisement for Ahava’s Stolen Beauty produce is a reflective reminder – to direct ones focus from the external – inwards – yoga is a journey inwards, connecting with one’s own consciousness and truth.
We ask Yoga Magazine not to advertise Ahava Stolen Beauty products as it repudiates the founding ethical principles of yoga and supports what is illegal under International law.
Below is an extract from an article titled: ‘Israeli Cosmetic Company Is About to Learn It Can’t Cover Up Its Role in the Occupation’
[Regarding Ahava’s Website] – ‘If you navigate around the web site you will see pristine images of the Dead Sea, enticing products with beautifully designed labels, and a photo of a water lily leaf with the caption, “This leaf has nothing to hide.” But, unfortunately, Ahava does have something to hide—an ugly secret about its relationship to a brutal occupation. The Hebrew word “Ahava” means love, but there is nothing loving about what the company is doing in the Palestinian territory of the West Bank. Ahava is an Israeli profiteer exploiting the natural resources of occupied Palestine.
AHAVA Dead Sea Laboratories, an Israeli cosmetics company, has situated its main manufacturing plant and showroom at the Israeli Jewish settlement Mitzpe Shalem in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank near the shores of the Dead Sea. Mitzpe Shalem, built on occupied land in 1970, is an illegal settlement, as are all Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Ahava’s capture of Palestinian natural resources from the Dead Sea is, according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, a patently illegal use by an occupying power of stolen resources for its own profit. To add insult to injury, Ahava’s labels claim that the country of origin of its products is “The Dead Sea, Israel”—this type of labelling has been decried by Oxfam, among other human rights groups, as blatantly misleading.’
Thank you for reading, in peace and love.