Protest at Ricky’s Draws Attention

The Brooklyn Paper reports on a protest by members of anti-war group Code Pink at Ricky’s on Montague Street Friday:

Brooklyn Paper: The centuries-old Middle East conflict turned into a bizarre form of mud-slinging on quiet Montague Street on Friday when protesters demanded that the Ricky’s cosmetics shop stop selling a dirt-based cosmetic that, apparently, is helping Israel’s “illegal” occupation of the West Bank.

The store’s crime, according to the Brooklyn for Peace protesters, is its selling of lotions and creams made by Ahava, an Israeli company that takes mud from the Dead Sea and manufactures it into beauty products in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

“Hey Ricky, what’s that scent? Smells like an illegal settlement!” chanted the crowd, many of whom were decked out in spa attire for the occasion.

Friday’s protest was the first Brooklyn stop of the protesters’ “Stolen Beauty” tour, a campaign started by the anti-war interest group Code Pink. The group labels the occupation of the West Bank a violation of international law, and Ahava’s business a “dirty” exploitation of Palestinian resources.

The NY Press adds:

NY Press: The rather thin rationale for all this misplaced rage is that carrying the product, composed partially of mud from the Dead Sea, is a de facto endorsement of the “illegal” Israeli occupation. Protesters clad in spa attire reportedly chanted such inanities as: “Hey Ricky, what’s that scent? Smells like an illegal settlement!”

Regardless of how one feels about the West Bank situation, it makes no sense to single out an Israeli company, much less a store that carries its products. U.S. retailers stock products from many countries with appalling human rights records. Made in China, anyone? Ever hear of blood diamonds? And the gasoline in your car quite possibly comes from a place where women aren’t allowed to go to school and infidelity is considered a capital offense.

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  • my2cents

    Ironic that Ahava means “Love” in Hebrew…that point might be lost on those protestors. Also lost on them (I just looked it up in 3 minutes on the web) is that the Ahava company is based in a Kibbutz founded in 1970 near the dead sea. The Kibbutz movement is politically very different from the orthodox religious settlers who want to live near holy sites in the West Bank. To lump them all together is pretty unfair. I am really sick of people protesting anything Israeli (like companies, symphonies, soccer teams) as a means to protest their government. And protesting Ricky’s for carrying the product is really barking up the wrong tree.

  • The3rdMan

    What a bunch of idiots…..

  • AEB

    …yet their protest has resulted in this thread.

    I’m not “taking sides” (in print, anyway); just pointing out that actions can reverberate.

  • michael

    Like people in Brooklyn Heights really care about the politics behind their fountain of youth panaceas!

  • Monty

    Surprisingly difficult to confirm. Here is a CNN story. Apparently, there is a belief that Ahava bases some of its operations on an illegal settlement in the West Bank, but it doesn’t seem to be substantiated anywhere. Code Pink maintains the British charity Oxfam dropped actress Kristin Davis as an ambassador because she was a spokeswoman for Ahava products, but Oxfam denies that is the case.

  • Random chick

    They would have all Israelis boycotted and eliminated, if they could.

  • ABC

    as if there aren’t a bazillion legit things to protest. if i were to spend a day protesting, this would not be high on my list

  • Monty

    @Random chick, I know your trolling, but conflating genocidal Antisemitism with opposition to the bona fide crime of illegal settlement building is pretty obtuse, not to mention offensive.

  • Arch Stanton

    Like boycotting some silly face cream is going to have any effect on the Israeli occupation of the west bank…. LMAO…. Now I’ll make it a point to buy something from Ricky’s…

  • WillowtownCop

    I saw a group in Union Square one day protesting C sections. If I had known what they were protesting was so stupid, I would have made a special point to buy something at Ricky’s that day.

  • Random chick

    I am not trolling. I don’t think the occupation of the West Bank is a crime. But I don’t want to start a discussion about Middle Eastern politics. I am just stating my opinion, which i am allowed to do.

  • Mark

    Nuke ’em all.

  • Lou K.

    And the dumbest comment award goes to … Mark!

  • Sanchez


    You should know better than to utter a remark in a public forum that could be construed as being remotely critical of the Israel govt.’s current foreign policy. Nothing could be more politically incorrect.

  • Random chick

    Yes, Sanchez. Israel and the Jews control everything and don’t let anyone utter anything.
    By the way, these guys who protested Ricky’s have some power. They got Costco to stop carrying Ahava. So they are insidious, not just dumb.

  • Menachem Begin

    It’s bad enough the Israelis and Palestinians fight over dirt. Do we have to fight over dirt in the U.S., as well?

  • Obama?

    The Apartheid form of government in Israel is just as wrong as it was in South Africa!

  • my2cents

    I just went to code pink’s website and watched the videos of the protests. What a bunch of ignorant people who have probably never even been to Israel or the West Bank. The Ahava company has been there for decades. The Kibutz it is located in was built before even the Yom Kippur war in 1972. This is a completely different animal from orthodox religious settlements in places like Hebron and Jericho. If these people are so mad at Israel, let them picket the Israeli embassy directly.

  • Obama?

    It’s not the Orthodox that are the main problem in Israel, it’s the Apartheid government!

  • nabeguy

    my2, I checked out the video on their web site, and from what I saw, I think there problem has more to do with the concept of cosmetics than with Isreali policy.

  • my2cents

    @Obama? your comparison to South Africa is not only incorrect, it is offensive.

  • nabeguy

    As odious as the term “apartheid” is, by definition it is “a policy or practice of separating or segregating groups”. Anyone who claims to hold the moral high ground in this dispute better be wearing a good pair of hiking boots, as it’s an extremely slippery slope.

  • nabeguy

    By the way, my2, your signs made the front page of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Kudos.

  • Random chick

    Nabeguy: That definition basically removes all meaning from the term. There is a context and a history to everything. Israel does not practice apartheid.

  • hoppy

    I only hope that there are no far-flung political implications when I’m in there buying lube.

  • Obama?

    Israel does not practice Apartheid???

    Tell that to the Palestinians!!!

  • Jim