South Africa against Ahava

Foreign Ministry says will summon S. African ambassador; Pretoria says it only recognizes 1948 UN-demarcated borders.

Ahava (photo credit: Courtesy)
(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.
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.