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Human Rights Activists Call For Diamond Boycott

Human Rights Activists Call For Diamond Boycott

New York, NY, April 18 - New York human rights activists, and
representatives of the West Bank Palestinian villages of Bil'in and
Jayyous called on the government and the people of the United Arab
Emirates to boycott the jewelry stores of Israeli billionaire and
diamond magnate Lev Leviev over his companies' construction of
Israeli settlements. According to a flurry of recent media reports,
Leviev is opening jewelry stores in Dubai during 2008.

"We call on the government and people of the United Arab Emirates to
join the growing international campaign to boycott Lev Leviev's
companies due to their construction of Israeli colonial settlements,
and their human rights violations in Angola," declared Daniel
Lang-Levitsky of Jews Against the Occupation-NYC. "A major Israeli
violator of Palestinian rights and international law should not be
opening jewelry stores in Dubai," added Adalah-NY spokesperson Issa
Ayoub. Adalah-NY has organized eight boycott protests outside
Leviev's new Madison Avenue jewelry store over the last five months.

In the last few days, media have reported that Lev Leviev Diamonds
will open two stores in Dubai this year. In the fourth quarter of
2008, construction will begin on a store to be located in the Burj
Dubai Mall. The second will open in September in the new Atlantis
Hotel on Jumeirah Palm Island. Leviev has already opened one store in
Dubai in March, 2008 in the lobby of Al-Qasr Hotel on Madinat

Leviev's company Leader is building the settlement of Zufim on the
land of the West Bank village of Jayyous. The company Danya Cebus, a
subsidiary of Leviev's Africa-Israel, has also built Israeli
settlements on the land of the village of Bil'in, and has built homes
in Maale Adumim and Har Homa on Jabal Abu Ghneim, encircling and
cutting off East Jerusalem from the West Bank. Israel is building its
wall to the east of all these settlements, with the aim of annexing
them to Israel. Leviev also donates to the Land Redemption Fund, an
Israeli settler organization which has used deceit and strong-arm
tactics to secure Israeli-occupied Palestinian land for settlements
in villages like Bil'in and Jayyous.

Israeli settlements directly violate international law according to
the UN, all major human rights organizations and the International
Court of Justice's 2004 advisory opinion on Israel's wall. The IJC's
opinion also said that states are responsible for ensuring that
Israel complies with international law.

Abdullah Abu-Rahme from Bil'in and Sharif Omar from Jayyous
explained, "Leviev's companies are destroying the olive groves and
farms that have sustained our villages for centuries, and are
profiting from human rights abuses." The growing international
movement to boycott Israel has developed in response to the 2005
Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) call by 171
Palestinian civil society organizations (
asking for "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad
boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar
to those applied to" apartheid South Africa in order to end "Israel's
persistent violations of international law," and "colonial and
discriminatory policies."

In Angola, Leviev works closely with the repressive Dos Santos regime
to mine and sell the country's diamonds, and he employs the private
security firm K&P Mineira, which has been accused of torturing,
sexually abusing and even murdering Angolans. According to the
non-profit watchdog group Partnership Africa Canada, around 10% of
the diamonds sold from Angola, including some of Leviev's, fail to
comply with the Kimberley Process which was created to end the trade
in "blood diamonds."


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