(photo credit: Courtesy)
Ahava cosmetic products from the Dead Sea and other products produced
over the Green Line will no longer be allowed to be labeled "Made in
Israel" when sold in South Africa, the country's trade and industry
minister Dr. Rob Davies announced in an official notice.
Israel reacted furiously to the South African announcement, which the
Foreign Ministry said was the first of its kind in the world. Ministry
spokesman Paul Hirschson said the ministry will call in the South
African ambassador to protest the move.
"The singling out of one side of one conflict out of all the conflicts
in the world is verging on racism," he said, adding that "this is sad
coming from South Africa, which should know better."
The South African notice requires importers "not to incorrectly
label products that originate from the Occupied Palestinian Territory
(OPT) as products of Israel."
The notice specifically cited Ahava
products, along with soft drinks and technology imports as being
distributed as products originating in Israel, "whereas they originate
from the OPT."
Davies noted that South Africa "recognizes the
State of Israel only within the borders demarcated by the United Nations
(UN) in 1948."
The move was praised as a victory for the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Popular Struggle Coordination Committee coordinator Mohammed Khatib
called the notice an important first step, "which reason suggests,
should be followed by a complete ban on the marketing of these products
in South Africa, no matter how they are labeled."
In the official
clarification, the South African trade and industry minister
acknowledged that the move was in part brought about as a result of
organizations lobbying for steps against Israel, specifically mentioning
the Open Shuhada Street organization.