BlackRock divests from Leviev, an ‘NYT’ advertiser (and guess who doesn’t report it)

on 28 Comments

Good news on the divestment front. BlackRock, a U.S. investment manager, has sold its holdings in Lev Leviev’s Africa-Israel fund, which helps build colonies in the West Bank–following pressure from three Scandinavian banks that have investments with BlackRock. A friend writes:

One of the settlements Leviev has built in, Matityahu East (pictured), is on land belonging to the Palestinian village of Bi’lin. Which brings us back to Ethan Bronner’s piece in the New York Times on the nonviolent protests in Bi’lin against the occupation. That piece completely omitted a hugely important facet of the non-violent struggle, and one the NYT has never covered: Bi’lin’s 2-year campaign, along with international allies like Adalah-NY, against the builders of the settlement that is confiscating Bi’lin’s land, builders that include Leviev and Shaya Boymelgreen.

Note that the NYT’s op-ed page has run more than a dozen jewelry ads by now from Lev Leviev, and they’ve never mentioned anything about the campaign against him. Bronner quotes Emily Shaeffer, but doesn’t mention she went to Canada shepherding Bi’lin’s court case there against two real estate companies that are building in the settlement (articles on the case archived here). Nor does he mention that Israel started cracking down much more heavily on Bil’in following campaign leader Mohammed Khatib’s testifying in court in Montreal.  No mention of BlackRock’s divestment from Africa-Israel, which is responsible for about 30% of the housing of Matityahu East, an outpost of the older settlement, Modi’in illit. Bronner mentions that former Norweigian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland was one of the "elders" visiting Bi’lin, but does not mention Bil’in’s effort to get the Norweigian state pension fund to divest from Africa-Israel.

In sum, Bronner was writing about Bil’in’s non-violent campaign, but left out a central part of that campaign, the village’s efforts & those of supporting orgs in Palestine, Israel, US, UK, Norway, UAE, to boycott the builders of the settlement. This is a major non-violent effort, & the NYT has never covered it, even though it’s been widely covered in the international press, maybe 100 articles. Remember when the UK decided not to rent their new Tel Aviv embassy from Leviev? That was all over the place on major wires, the BBC (March 5: Britain drops Israel embassy move). Maybe 15 stories, including JTA. But silence from the Times.

So Bronner writes about Bi’lin, and meanwhile his newspaper helps one of Matityahu East’s major builders make money by letting him place huge ads on its op-ed page. Do I smell a conflict?

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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28 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    August 31, 2009, 11:45 am

    I know many that will now divest of Blackrock.

    • America First
      August 31, 2009, 12:14 pm

      But you’ll talk them out of it, because you oppose that tactic.

      • Richard Witty
        August 31, 2009, 1:25 pm

        My mother is strong-willed.

      • Citizen
        August 31, 2009, 1:38 pm

        Why don’t you grow up? Aren’t you a little old to have no spine of your own? No wonder your son has chosen to ignore you. Blood diamonds all the way, hay?

      • Richard Witty
        August 31, 2009, 1:46 pm

        What are you talking about Citizen?

        Its her right.

    • Citizen
      August 31, 2009, 3:56 pm

      Correct, and are you just a rubber-stamp of your Mother’s will? Hitler’s mother loved him too. And he loved his mother. That’s actual history.

      • Richard Witty
        August 31, 2009, 4:04 pm

        Don’t get stupid now Citizen.

      • Margaret
        August 31, 2009, 6:02 pm

        Perception, Mr. Witty, is all a matter of the beholder, a matter of judgment, reflective of one’s bias. The traditional wisdom learned at your mom’s knee didn’t include that?

        Definition of stupid: Tending to make poor decisions or careless mistakes. (3)
        Marked by a lack of intelligence or care; foolish or careless.

        Have a little Santanya with your morning beverage; sweeten that beverage further with a dose of humility.

        Vanity preoccupies your thoughts; one understands why.

      • Richard Witty
        September 1, 2009, 4:24 am

        “Hitler’s mother loved him too”, referring to a comparison with my mother?

        Get real Margaret.

    • potsherd
      August 31, 2009, 4:15 pm

      Yeah, there are a lot of people who like to rub it in that they hate justice.

  2. jimby
    August 31, 2009, 11:47 am

    africa israel is in the financial sewer. it is losing money big time. see today’s ha’aretz. brokerage houses don’t drop money making enterprises.

    • Richard Witty
      August 31, 2009, 12:13 pm

      Maybe thats why they divested.

      • Citizen
        August 31, 2009, 1:42 pm

        Blood diamonds all the way, hay?
        Slum lord, pawn shop, human trafficer, body parts farts,
        Goldman Sucks, ShittyCorps, Big Pharma, Big Insurance endurance
        So what’s not to like?

  3. tree
    August 31, 2009, 4:21 pm

    Here’s some links to other limited successes of the BDS movement. Note that all these mentioned are economic boycotts aimed at not just at Israel but at those foreign companies who profit from Israel’s occupation.

    Derailing injustice: Palestinian civil resistance to the “Jerusalem Light Rail”

    VIEWPOINT: Boycott of settlements’ industries is taking its toll

  4. syvanen
    August 31, 2009, 5:21 pm

    First Adelson and now Liviev are going down, two big West Bank sugar daddies facing bankruptcy. Both for the over investing in real estate. This is not a success story for the BDS movement but it is good news nevertheless. One might think that the bricks and mortar that have been placed on the West Bank are irreversible but if we factor in that these settlements do not have clear title to that land, it just might turn out that the dynamics of finance and real estate law could put a very big hurt on these settlers. Of course has so far Israel determined what is legal but there is such a major disconnect with reality here that I think the Palestinians will inevitalby end up owning those buildings.

  5. VR
    August 31, 2009, 7:08 pm

    “Cecil Rhodes sold war and genocide
    To the countryside just to get his shine on!
    I fear what De Beers and his peers use to do, before the world really knew, just to get their “mine” on!
    Making paper with slave labour and hittin little kids with life time bids making em cut and shine stones.
    Inflating the price and making em look nice and i wasnt thinking twice when i was putting mine on.
    About a young shorty in Sierra Leone or other conflict countries that people call home.
    I figured i would never go to Angola so it never did affect me that maybe indirectly.
    That my neckleash was funding a rebellion or a military coup,
    Started by militias that dont believe in following none of Geneva’s rules.
    I was brushing off the haters, trying to be cool.
    Didnt have a clue that the rapper was helping the rapers, raiders of the villagers, pillagers of the schools.
    Shooters of the innocent, torturers of the witnesses, burners of the businesses
    And my bracelet was the fuel.
    Uhh, i aint pushing an agenda homie,
    Im just pushing the facts, Fuck Bush!
    Cuz theres people doin worse on this earth and there black,
    I took it for years now let me bring it back,
    We all know on foreign shores that they finance wars, but asks yourself do they finance yours.
    When i first got mine i took em out on tour, they only lost half the value when i took em out the store.
    Or it was full of moissanites and cubics but the jeweller knew i was stupid and that i couldnt prove it.
    Feeling like i need it because i do music, to impress the groupies and the interviewers.
    So i didnt appraise it, nor did i loop it, even gave em to my girl, thinkin i was cupid.
    Homies was all hate hoping they could make me lose it, creeping through my own hood knew i had to remove it.
    I see the Russian Mafia, the Jewish Mobsters, the undercover terrorists and the traps for the hustlers.
    Homie its a wrap for the nonsense rhyming, props to Kanye i call this Conflict Diamonds. “

  6. DICKERSON3870
    September 1, 2009, 1:28 am

    RE: “…the NYT’s op-ed page has run more than a dozen jewelry ads by now from Lev Leviev…”

    MY COMMENT: Diamonds are a white girl’s best friend!

  7. VR
    September 1, 2009, 1:48 am

    There is even more to the song that the above lyrics belong to –

    CONFLICT DIAMONDS

  8. VR
    September 1, 2009, 1:59 am

    There are many names that come to mind including Leviev, or the asshole Templeman who moved like a king and arranged for the shooting of Patrice Lumumba. He used to move among high circles in society and in Washington, a double bearer of both blood diamonds and and intelligence to enslave a continent. What can I say, there is so much out of Africa to be ashamed of, those carrying the torch of Zionism and assisting in the atrocities around the world say they are doing it in our name…

    • DICKERSON3870
      September 1, 2009, 2:24 pm

      RE: ” There are many names that come to mind…”

      HERE’S ONE: “Pat Robertson’s Katrina Cash”, by Max Blumenthal, 00/07/05

      (EXCERPT) …Far from the media’s gaze, Robertson has used the tax-exempt, nonprofit Operation Blessing as a front for his shadowy financial schemes, while exerting his influence within the GOP to cover his tracks. In 1994 he made an emotional plea on The 700 Club for cash donations to Operation Blessing to support airlifts of refugees from the Rwandan civil war to Zaire (now Congo). Reporter Bill Sizemore of The Virginian Pilot later discovered that Operation Blessing’s planes were transporting diamond-mining equipment for the African Development Corporation, a Robertson-owned venture initiated with the cooperation of Zaire’s then-dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

      After a lengthy investigation, Virginia’s Office of Consumer Affairs determined that Robertson “willfully induced contributions from the public through the use of misleading statements and other implications.” Yet when the office called for legal action against Robertson in 1999, Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley, a Republican, intervened with his own report, agreeing that Robertson had made deceptive appeals but overruling the recommendation for his prosecution…

      …Absolved of his sins, Robertson dug his heels back in African soil. In 1999 he signed an $8 million agreement with Liberian tyrant Charles Taylor that guaranteed Robertson’s Freedom Gold Ltd.–an offshore company registered to the same address as his Christian Broadcasting Network–mining rights in Liberia, and gave Taylor a 10 percent stake in the company. When the United States intervened in Liberia in 2003, forcing Taylor and the Al Qaeda operatives he was harboring to flee, Robertson accused President Bush of “undermining a Christian, Baptist president to bring in Muslim rebels to take over the country.”…

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to thenation.com

  9. DICKERSON3870
    September 1, 2009, 3:16 am

    RE: “Africa-Israel fund”

    MY COMMENT: You would think that Leviev’s co-opting “the good name of Israel” to use in naming his über-pretentious “Africa-Israel fund” would be a terrible embarrassment to Israeli’s & Zionists, but apparently they have absolutely no shame! I suppose they would say “well, King Leopold II did it!” (except for Marty “Macho Man” Perez who would probably just say “Don’t f_ck with the Jews!” )

    FROM HAARETZ: “Haredim held as parking dispute turns violent”, By Nir Hasson and Jonathan Lis, 08/03/09

    Jerusalem police arrested 15 ultra-Orthodox men yesterday evening for blocking the entrance to the Karta parking garage that the city insists on operating on Saturday. One policeman was taken to hospital after being kicked in the stomach.

    The demonstrators succeeded in blocking Yitzhak Kariv street, which leads to the garage, for over an hour, causing major traffic disruptions. The protesters cursed the police, calling them “Nazis” and demanded they “go back to Germany.” The ultra-Orthodox men called an Ethiopian policeman “bitter chocolate” and “nigger” and told him to “go back to Ethiopia” or to go back to the cowshed.” Police sources said the demonstrators also threw eggs at the officers…

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to haaretz.com

  10. DICKERSON3870
    September 1, 2009, 4:26 am

    RE: “BlackRock, a U.S. investment manager, has sold its holdings in Lev Leviev’s Africa-Israel fund”

    SEE ALSO: “AFRICA ISRAEL FACES DEBT RESTRUCTURING, THREATENING LEVIEV CONTROL”, by Richard Silverstein, 08/30/09

    (EXCERPT) Haaretz reports that Lev Leviev’s Africa Israel Investments faces insurmountable debt obligations and will be forced to negotiate a restructuring with his creditor banks. This means that Leviev could lose control of his empire or, at the very least, that he will be forced to cede a large portion of his company to the banks. Depending on how they view his leadership, he may or may not remain with the company…

    ENTIRE POST – link to richardsilverstein.com

    • DICKERSON3870
      September 1, 2009, 7:29 am

      RE: “BlackRock, a U.S. investment manager, has sold its holdings in Lev Leviev’s Africa-Israel fund”

      SEE ALSO: “Israeli mogul’s empire foundering”, AP, 08/31/09

      (EXCERPT) Shares in Africa Israel Investments, one of Israel’s largest companies, have plummeted by one-third in two days after its diamond tycoon owner acknowledged possible problems paying off billion of dollars in company debts. The holding and investment company, in which billionaire diamond baron Lev Leviev owns a 75% stake, has lost some $1.4b since the beginning of 2008, battered in large part by soured real estate investments in the US and to a lesser extent, Russia. On Monday, the company’s shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange shed 13.6%, having lost 25% a day earlier over Africa Israel’s announcement it might have trouble making debt payments by 2011 and was seeking to restructure its obligations…

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to niqnaq.wordpress.com

  11. Rehmat
    September 1, 2009, 5:04 am

    Palestinian village sues Canadian firms

    On June 22-25, Quebec Suprior Court is to decide whether Canada can punish its two Montreal-based firms, Green Mount International and Green Park International, fronts for Israel’s on-going new Jewish settlements, under international law and Canada’s 2000 Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act – for building 16 of the proposed 42 apartment buildings, housing 1000 foreign Jewish families on a disputed Palestinian land under Israeli occupation which was owned by its resident, Ahmed Issa Abdallah Yasin. The petition was filed last year on behalf of the 1,700 native Muslims and Christians of Palestinian village Bilin. The villagers are represented by US-born Israeli lawyer Emily Schaeffer and a Toronto Lawyer Mark Arnold.

    Both the articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute are incorporated into Canadian federal law under the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Statute.

    “The truth is that Israel is not willing to implement all of international humanitarian law and the laws on occupation on the occupied Palestinian territories. We’ve made some headway, we haven’t gone far enough, and that’s why we’re in Canada,” says Emily…….

    link to rehmat1.wordpress.com

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