Ms. Ann Veneman,
Ramallah, 9 April 2008
Dear Ms. Veneman,
We are writing today to voice our concern about a matter that has been brought to our attention regarding the Israeli businessman Lev Leviev and his support to UNICEF.
Leviev owns companies that are responsible for building housing units in several settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), in contravention of international humanitarian law.
In the interest of protecting and ensuring the rights of Palestinian children, we - Defence for Children International-Palestine Section and the Palestinian Network for Children’s Rights - request that UNICEF rejects all support – both direct and indirect – from Lev Leviev; and, as a matter of urgency, publicly renounces any connections with him due to his involvement in settlement construction.
UNICEF cannot promote children's rights and international law, renounce settlements and simultaneously accept funds from a settlement builder. UNICEF knows as well as DCI-Palestine and all other child rights actors in the oPt that settlement construction is not only illegal but also has a profound negative impact on the lives of many Palestinian children.
In order to build these illegal colonies, the State of Israel has confiscated acres and acres of cultivated and non-cultivated privately-owned land, depriving scores of families of their assets and livelihood, thus severely compromising their ability and options to provide for their children. In some cases this leads to a reversal of roles, whereby the children have to drop out of school in order to help provide for their families, by working to supplement income or by saving their parents the need to pay for school fees.
For example, in the West Bank village of Jayyous, the construction of Leviev's settlement nearby and the construction of the wall to annex more land for the settlement has denied scores of families access to their farmland, leading to the drop out of a staggering 103 out of a total of 195 students in grades 7-12, according to the school’s headmaster.
Military violence linked to the construction of the wall and settlements is another violation that children suffer. During popular protests against the illegal construction of the wall and the settlement of Mattityahu East on lands belonging to residents of the West Bank village of Bil’in, 13 children have been imprisoned and approximately 300 injured by the Israeli military over the space of three years, according to information provided by a community leader.
One of the companies building Mattiyahu East is a company owned by Leviev called Danya Cebus.[...]
Jeez, Anthony Julius probably couldn't defend this guy, but the NYT keeps printing his ads at about 40,000 bux a pop.
Mother's day is apparently the third largest shopping period of the season for gems. The NYT seems to opine, what better way to celebrate than buying your mother a pricey bauble from a man whose colonies deny the right to education to Palestinian kids? Well, Adalah-NY's not having that, apparently. They've enlisted mothers of the world to call to boycott Leviev on Mother's day. To whit:
(Mothers can click here to sign on)
M’azuza Abu Rahmeh, a mother from Bil’in, explains, “I hope that on this important day for mothers that no women in the world will have to live through this type of experience and that instead they will live with their families and homes, in security and peace.” Halima Husain, a mother from Jayyous, adds, “I hope that free people around the world will boycott Israel’s occupation and will not support businesses of wealthy Israelis like Leviev who is building the settlement of Zufim, and that they will stand with us to lift this shadow and darkness that hangs over the Palestinian people....”
Lev isn't running to his momma to solve his recent woes in Dubai, he's going directly to the US government. In today's New York Jewish Week, in an article on the emirate's nixing Leviev's Dubai expansion plans, titled "Protesting Leviev, From Here To Dubai," Walter Ruby tells us:
Yet Blake’s remarks indicate that Leviev may be planning to fight Dubai’s decision not to allow him to brand the stores with his own name, and will likely press the U.S. government to apply pressure on Dubai to reverse its decision. Leviev has previously asserted that attacks on his business activities by Adalah-NY and other groups are “politically motivated” or impelled by anti-Semitism.
Ethan Heitner, a spokesman for Adalah-NY, which is composed almost equally of Arabs and anti-Zionist Jews, claimed primary credit for Dubai’s reversal of its earlier apparent willingness to allow Leviev to open his stores there. “Working in conjunction with activists in Dubai and Palestine, Adalah-NY sent out a press release calling for Dubai to boycott Leviev on the basis of his violations of international humanitarian law. ... We’ve heard reports of UAE papers and officials receiving our press release from multiple sources and angry phone calls.”
Heitner said that even if Leviev ultimately succeeds in opening his new stores in Dubai under the “Levant” name, Adalah-NY will still have achieved a moral victory. “Before our boycott call ... Leviev was proudly planning to open an eponymous flagship boutique in the tallest building in the world — a grand symbolic achievement for a titan of global capitalism. Now, that’s not going to happen.”
Lev Leviev appears to believe otherwise.
Will the USG intervene on Leviev's behalf? More importantly, will Engage?