December 31, 2007

Q. What do Israel, the UK and Burma have in common?

A. Leviev.

I've just received a justly irritated email from New York pointing out that I had missed quite a juicy bit of the Leviev coverage in Ha'aretz's The Marker mag as translated on the International Solidarity Movement (I had called it Palestine Solidarity) site. It turns out that Israel's richest settler, Leviev the diamond dealer, is moving to London. Not only that but he has been censured by the EU for selling rubies from Burma and so he doesn't simply fund Jewish supremacy in Palestine by investing in Jews only settlements, he also funds the Burmese junta by buying and selling their rubies and he's going to become a Londoner or at least a Britisher. Don't they have a Labour Friends of Israel in Israel? Perhaps Israelis know Israel too well to be friends of Israel. Here's the relevant bit of the article
The company Danya Cebus, which is a subsidiary of Leviev’s company Africa-Israel, is one of the partners spearheading the construction of Modi’in Illit and many other settlements. Modi’in Illit was built on the land of five Palestinian villages, among them the village of Bil’in.

A spokesman on behalf of Leviev stated in a response to the Post that: “the demonstrators are not accurate” in their claims against the Leviev diamond brand. In his words, “the Leviev diamond brand scrupulously follows the Kimberley Process, which follows the origins of diamonds in international markets with the goal of eliminating the trade of blood diamonds.”

The British newspaper “The Sunday Times” uncovered in September that Leviev’s diamond shop in London sold “blood” gems that originated in Burma [Myanmar], and thus contributed to the funding of the military junta government in that country.

The journalist for that newspaper, disguised as a customer, visited Leviev’s flagship boutique on Old Bond Street in London the week before. She requested jewelry that included rubies of Burmese origin. She was shown a ring worth 500,000 UK pounds sterling [approximately one million US dollars] in which was set a five carat ruby and diamonds.

The military junta in Burma receives tens of millions of pounds each year from the sale of precious gems by way of jewelry stores in London, among them Leviev’s boutique, as well as Cartier, Harrod’s and Asprey.

Upwards of 90% of rubies in the world are of Burmese origin, however, often stones are polished in other nearby states such as Thailand, and because of this the origin of the stone is not recorded by customs authorities.
Ah! so we're back to the good old days when apartheid South Africa could avoid sanctions by having their goods relabelled as coming from Israel who, in those days, could pass itself off as something other than the most despicable kind of state on earth. Amazing what a bit of colour can do for a cause. Hopefully these rubies will have a similar impact on public perceptions.

Anyway, here's footage of some Burmese solidarity activists showing there solidarity with Palestine. Be quick, it's a drive by:

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