Report/photos by Bruce Levy
1 December 2011, London UK
In an action called by London BDS, human rights campaigners, together with Israeli and Palestinian activists, were outside the LEVIEV diamond store in Mayfair’s exclusive Old Bond Street offering Israeli Promise© cocktails - empty champagne glasses representing the countless empty promises and lies of the apartheid state – to guests during an invitation-only cocktail party thrown by the notorious diamond magnate and Israeli settlement financier, Lev Leviev.
Leviev, a resident of London, owns companies involved in the construction of Israeli West Bank settlements that the international community regard as illegal and against the 4th Geneva Convention. Another Leviev company is heavily involved with brutal human rights abuses in the diamond industry in Angola.
Several members of the Beethovians for Boycotting Israel choir were present and sung Christmas carols that included “The Olive and The Army,” “Ding Dong Merrily on High” and “God Rest All Ye Who Talk of Peace.”
Campaigners displayed large photographs that showed the reality of life under Israeli occupation and also distributed flyers about Leviev to guests, as well as to the countless number of people who passed through the busy area.
Despite the rain, many members of the public stopped to express their disgust and outrage that Leviev was allowed to conduct business in a country whose government proclaims its support for human rights.
A person who works in the area told campaigners that her son’s friend was shot in Gaza by an Israeli sniper while carrying two children to safety. One person was later heard to exclaim: “This injustice has gone on for long enough!“
The action was undertaken in solidarity with the Palestinian people and with Adalah-NY, an American group who regularly campaign outside Leviev’s New York City store.
Adalah-NY, as well as American peace groups CODEPINK and Jewish Voice for Peace alongside several UK human rights organisations, including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG) and Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine (UK) have all added their names to a statement calling on international fashion icon Daphne Guinness to sever ties with Leviev, who is financing an exhibition of Guinness’ clothes at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). The British edition of Vogue reports that FIT “is pursuing the matter very actively.”
Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel will be singing anti-apartheid carols outside of the LEVIEV store on Madison Avenue in New York City on Saturday, December 17th between 1:00 – 3:00pm.
Adalah-NY is a highly innovative and creative group, so if you’re in New York City on that date, do join them.
They might even be serving Israeli Promise© too.