(photo credit: Courtesy)
Ahava cosmetic products from the Dead Sea 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.
The notice will require South African 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.
Palestinian 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.
The Foreign Ministry responded to the move, branding it as racist.
"This is essentially a racist move. It is shocking to think that South Africa of all countries, reveals such imperviousness, and is marching blindly down the slippery slope of racism."
Foreign Ministry officials will attempt to thwart the trade industry ministry directive. Jpost.com staff contributed to this report