December 29, 2007

Leviev updates

Around Christmas time, I've been getting updates by email from the States on the solidarity actions against Leviev, the diamond dealing paymaster for settlements in occupied Palestine. And a little snippet about the man himself. These are in the order that I got them.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, has the news that Leviev is moving to London.
Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev is emigrating.

Leviev, the Uzbek-born diamond magnate and Orthodox philanthropist, is leaving Israel for London with his family, Ha'aretz and other media reported Thursday.

According to the reports, Leviev, 51, expects to find better tax terms and new business opportunities in Britain. But he will maintain a home in the Jewish state, where one of his daughters will continue running his international consortium, Africa-Israel.

Leviev's personal fortune is said to be worth as much as $8 billion, making him Israel's richest citizen.
$8 billion? I wonder which football club he'll buy.

More political is the little reported fact that representatives of two Palestinian villages have asked Susan Sarandon to stop doing business with Leviev. This is from Znet:
Dear Ms. Sarandon,

We felt sorrow when we learned that you accepted Lev Leviev’s invitation to attend the opening night event for his new jewelry store in New York City on November 13 while our friends protested outside, because we respect you for your support for human rights, for your courage in speaking since 2002 against the US war on Iraq, and for your many other honorable public positions.

Lev Leviev is building Israeli settlements on Bil’in and Jayyous’ land, and is also building in the settlements of Har Homa and Maale Adumim around Jerusalem, in violation of international law. Leviev is destroying the olive groves and farms that have sustained our villages for centuries, and is profiting from human rights abuses.

We were reassured to learn from our colleagues in New York City that you expressed interest in learning more about these issues. We still hope that you will also speak in support peace and justice in Palestine. We invite you and would be very pleased to welcome you to visit Palestine, specifically Jayyous and Bil’in, in order to witness what Leviev’s settlements are doing to our communities.
I wonder if she goes.

There were carols too in honour of Leviev last week according to New York's Indymedia:

A diverse group of enthusiastic participants sang loud and creative versions of 11 traditional holiday songs. Carolers serenaded upscale Madison Avenue shoppers and New York City police with the debut performance of “I Made a Little Settlement” to the tune of “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel”:

“Apartments for Jews only, Discrimination, sure!
He thinks Palestine's the problem, and Apartheid is the cure!”

“Oh boycott boycott boycott, Don't buy Leviev today
Funds crime with all that profit, Who needs diamonds anyway?”
Indeed, who does?

And another letter to Sarandon. The first was from Palestinians, the New York Post reports on one from some Jews:
SUSAN Sarandon outraged the Jewish Voice for Peace group when she crossed its picket line to attend a cocktail party last month in the new Madison Avenue jewelry store of Lev Leviev, a diamond-dealing real-estate mogul who owns the former New York Times building and the Apthorp building on the Upper West Side.

Now the California-based grass-roots organization has sent the star a letter asking her to "publicly sever ties" with the jeweler, whom the group is boycotting because he supports Jewish settlements in the West Bank. But Sarandon's rep denies she's allied with the high-end gem dealer.

The picketers, who were there for the Leviev store launch in mid-November, stood on the sidewalk with Palestinian flags, shouting, "You're glitz, you're glam, you're building on Palestinian land," and, "Occupation is a drag, just say no to your gift bag." A source told Page Six that Sarandon marched in and "tried not to notice the yells outside."

Now the group has posted its letter to Sarandon on its Web site, demanding that the Oscar-winner join their boycott.
Now let's see what can be arranged for Leviev in London.


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