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Oxfam boots Sex and the City star over settlement links

Aug. 7, 2009 9:43 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 7, 2009 9:39 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma’an - HBO TV’s Sex and the City star Kristin Davis was suspended from her duties as Oxfam’s goodwill ambassador for her advertizing work with the illegal settlement-based company Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories.

Oxfam International is a large confederation of 13 organizations that says it works with over 3,000 partners in more than 100 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice.

A source told the New York Post that Davis “was completely unaware of this conflict of interest and is saddened to be on public pause from a group she has devoted so much time, money, and support to." The paper quoted a spokesperson as saying the actress still intends to continue her work with Oxfam "for years to come."

The Israeli cosmetics company Ahava uses natural resources pilfered from the West Bank shore of the Dead Sea via the illegal Israeli settlement of Mizpe Shalem. The international women’s group CODEPINK has been lobbying against the company, and encouraging a boycott of products produced in West Bank settlements.

CODEPINK released a statement announcing Davis had been “suspended from all [Oxfam] publicity work by Oxfam for the duration of her contract with Ahava;” a victory for the boycott campaign. The group said Oxfam wrote in its statement that Davis was unaware of Ahava’s illegal settlement trade when she signed her contract with Ahava. They also noted that Davis has never publicly commented on the issue.

Ahava labels its products, made in the West Bank, as “products of Israel,” which is another breach of international law. “Ironically, Oxfam has been a global leader in the fight to expose those illegal practices, while its ambassador actively promotes them,” the CODEPINK statement said.

At the start of the campaign CODEPINK activists hand delivered a letter to Davis at an Ahava publicity appearance at Lord & Taylor in New York City. The letter urged her to drop her ties to Ahava and live up to her Oxfam mission.

The boycott campaign began in June, and seeks to raise awareness of the illegal nature of the Ahava products, and encourage consumers to purchase alternative products and condemn the practices of the company.

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