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[Boycott - Israel Supporters]
Protesters Call For Boycott of Lev Leviev’s Conflict Diamonds
1 January 2008
OVER 100 WELL-DRESSED, well-heeled New Yorkers attending the invitation-only opening of diamond mogul Lev Leviev’s Madison Avenue jewelry store on Nov. 20 appeared stunned and aghast to find their evening derailed by a noisy protest against Leviev’s construction of illegal West Bank settlements. Gala attendees set down their champagne glasses and gathered by windows to view the signs and Palestinian flags, and hear protesters’ chants.
Protesters hold up posters and chant slogans
outside Lev Leviev’s Madison Avenue jewelry store
(Photo Courtesy Adala-NY)
Thirty New York City human rights activists chanted, “You’re glitz, you’re glam, you’re building on stolen land,” and “All your diamonds cannot hide, your support for Apartheid.” Protesters called on New York City’s upscale residents to boycott Leviev’s diamonds. Disconcerted attendees hastily exited to their limousines to loud chants of, “Occupation is a drag, just say no to your gift bag.”
Lev Leviev is one of Israel’s richest men. He built his enormous fortune trading in diamonds with apartheid-era South Africa. His company now buys diamonds from the repressive Angolan government. Leviev uses profits from diamond sales to fuel the conflict in Palestine and Israel by funding the construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, undermining the prospects for Middle East peace. Leviev’s diamonds are “conflict diamonds” in a broad sense of the term, funding repression in Angola and violations of international law in Palestine.
Leviev’s real estate empire in Israel is building homes for Israelis only in the West Bank settlements of Mattityahu East and Zufim, according to Gadi Algazi in the August 2006 Le Monde diplomatique, and in Ma’ale Adumim and Har Homa, according to The Jerusalem Post. He has also built homes in the settlement of Ariel. All the settlements in which Leviev has built homes seize vital Palestinian water and agricultural resources and carve the West Bank into disconnected bantustans, destroying hopes for a viable Palestinian state. All Israeli settlements built in the occupied Palestinian territories violate international law.
The Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot also reported on Jan. 28, 2004 that Leviev is a primary donor to the Israeli organization the Land Redemption Fund, which allegedly uses fraud and intimidation to extort land from Palestinian farmers for Israeli settlement. Leveiv and his former partner Shaya Boymelgreen are building the settlement of Mattityahu East on the village of Bil’in’s land. Bil’in has earned international acclaim for its three-year campaign of nonviolent protest against the construction of settlements and Israel’s wall on their farmland.
“Leviev’s new Manhattan store hides the devastating use of its owner’s fortune underneath shimmering facets of polished diamonds,” said Daniel Lang-Levitsky of Jews Against the Occupation/NYC. Adalah-NY held other protests at Leviev’s 700 Madison Ave. jewelry store, including one on Nov. 20 and another on Dec. 8, described as “Dabke vs. Diamonds,” a dance against the destruction of communities by Israeli diamond mogul Lev Leviev.
For more info on Adalah-NY: The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East, see www.mideastjustice.org.
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