The Natural History Museum is today accused by a coalition of prominent academics and cultural figures of helping to break international law by leading a research project which involves an Israeli cosmetics company based in an “illegal” settlement in the occupied West Bank.
In a letter to The Independent, leading scientists and the film directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, condemn the London museum - which is the fourth most visited in Britain - for its research collaboration with Ahava - Dead Sea Laboratories (DSL), which sells beauty products based on minerals extracted from the Dead Sea.
The museum, which has a substantial academic research team, is co-ordinating NANORETOX, a European Union-funded project looking at any risks to human health and the environment posed by so-called nanoparticles - microscopic engineered materials which scientists are developing for multiple uses from cancer treatment to double glazing.
Ahava-DSL, which is one of a dozen institutions and companies involved in the project including two University of London colleges, has its registered headquarters listed in Israel but most of its activities are carried out in Mitzpe Shalem, a Jewish settlement on the edge of the Dead Sea in the West Bank. more
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