Vita, a popular drugstore chain in Norway, announced it will no longer carry Israel’s Ahava skincare line, saying it will cease the sale of all “products originating from settlements in occupied territories.”
Ahava produces a suite of beauty products made with mud from the Dead Sea. Its production site is located in Mitzpe Shalem, part of a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. While some groups cite the area as an illegal occupation, Ahava’s stance has long been that its factory is on legal territory. The company also claims its Dead Sea extracts come from the Israeli side of the lake.
"We consider it difficult to buy goods from the occupied area from the 1967 war and will from this date suspend the purchase of goods from the occupied territory," said Vita CEO Roar Arnstad.
The decision followed a boycott campaign by the Norwegian People’s Aid and the Norwegian employees’ union.
A group of pro-Israel Norwegians created a Facebook page in response to the decision, calling on locals to in turn boycott Vita’s 160 shops across the country. On the page, one supporter commented, “Are products from China, Turkey and Morocco also banned? All three countries are considered to be occupying nations. Or are there different rules for them?”
The chain store responded with its own Facebook statement, saying: “We're not boycotting Israel, but we do say no to trade with occupied territories. Such territories in Israel have been occupied since 1967, and according to the International Court, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and the Ethical Trading Initiative, the settlement was established in violation of international law."