Human rights groups target fashion icon over NYC exhibition funded by settlement tycoon Lev Leviev

Daphne Henri
Daphne Guinness with Bernard Henri-Levy
(Photo: Rex Features/Sipa Press)

Lev Leviev, Israeli settlement mogul and blood diamond trader, is still a target.  This month he sponsored an exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology curated by Daphne Guinness, and human rights organizations are calling for the fashion icon and heiress to distance herself from Leviev. Adalah-NY, CodePink, Jewish Voice for Peace, and human rights organizations from the U.K. sent letters to Guinness and FIT on November 12th, calling for Guinness and FIT to “sever their ties” with Lev.

“By associating with Leviev due to his companies’ construction of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in violation of international law, and their unethical business practices in the diamond industry in Angola and Namibia,” Adalah-NY wrote Guinness and FIT’s names will be” tarnished.” The designer and design school have responded to communication with the human rights’ groups, although they have yet to cancel their contracts with Leviev, which would follow the lead of Oxfam, CARE, UNICEF, and the governments of Norway and the UK , all of whom have canceled and publically distanced themselves from Leviev.

Leviev is the target of an international boycott campaign, first started by Adalah-NY in 2006, as a response to the diamond dealer’s settlement construction. While Africa-Israel is out of the settlement business as of 2010, another Leviev company, Leader Management and Development continues to expropriate Palestinian land:

“Leader and the Israeli government are seizing the village’s farmland and water resources to build the settlement, which is secured by Israel’s West Bank wall, with devastating impacts on the once prosperous farming village. In November 2010, a separate Leviev company, Africa Israel, announced that it had no plans to build further settlements, presumably because organizations, governments, investment firms and stars were distancing themselves from Leviev. All Israeli settlements violate international law.”

Leviev is also under criticism by Adalah-NY, for his procurement of blood diamonds, retailed at his New York City store front:

“Leviev’s companies have a history of involvement in human rights abuses in the diamond industry in Angola. Leviev works in close partnership with that country’s repressive and corrupt government. The Angolan government also fails to respect the Kimberley Process which was put in place to stop the worldwide trade in conflict diamonds. In the diamond industry in Namibia, Leviev’s company fired around 200 striking, low-wage factory workers in 2008, and this year his employees in Namibia have been accused of trading in illicit diamonds.”

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.
Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine

{ 11 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. RE: “While Africa-Israel is out of the settlement business as of 2010…” ~ Allison Deger

    MY COMMENT: Leviev’s Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. also sold its Anglo-Saxon Real Estate Ltd. (Jerusalem’s leading real estate agency) to an “investor group” in 2009.

    Apartments for Sale in throughout IsraelAnglo-Saxon’s billboardlink to anglo-saxon.co.il
    Looking for an apartment or a house in throughout Israel? Anglo-Saxon Have A Foothold In Israel - link to anglo-saxon.co.il

  2. pabelmont says:

    I imagine that groups like this, high-style groups with wealthy patrons, do not read up in advance on boycotts and other emotional junk of the riff-raff, hoi polloi, etc. “Who are those low-lifes to tell us what to do or think or whom to associate with? Anyway, don’t they know that all wealth is theft?”

    Someone should start up a web-site called “whotoavoidliketheplague.com” where everyone being drummed out of polite society could be listed with the “news” against them. BDS, but others too.

  3. It looks like the” fashion icon” and devilish diva ,Daphne Guiness , likes to be in a very, very, intimate relationships with “rich and famous” Zionists.
    They must be good in something.

  4. annie says:

    what a strange posture and expression of Daphne Guinness.

    thanks for an excellent report allison.

  5. She reminds me of the Cruella deVille ( 1001 dalmatians), he reminds me of the Penguin (Batman).
    What a pair.

  6. Walid says:

    Leviev is but a tiny fish is Israel’s corrupt sea of traders in blood diamonds that are Israel’s number 1 export. And as with everything else the evil Israel does, other countries keep looking the other way.

    Comprehensive essay on Israel’s blood diamond trade and how it’s financing the occupation.

    From The diamond industry’s double-standard on Israel
    Seán Clinton The Electronic Intifada
    23 June 2011

    “… The diamond industry is well aware how easily a brand image that has taken decades to establish can be ruined in a fraction of that time by any unsavory association. In the wake of Israel’s pre-election assault on the besieged residents of Gaza in the winter of 2008-09, a UN Human Rights Council investigation found evidence that Israel committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. The $1 billion revenue generated by the Israeli diamond industry helped fund the attack on Gaza — a clear justification for labeling Israeli diamonds “blood diamonds.”

    link to electronicintifada.net

  7. Walid says:

    More on Israel’s blood diamonds

    “The Kimberley Process was designed to certify the origin of rough diamonds from sources free of conflict funded by diamond production.

    According to the UN based Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), only “rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments” can be classed as conflict or blood diamonds.

    The KPCS classifies all other diamonds as “conflict free” regardless of what human rights violations they may be funding. Israel is the world’s leading exporter of diamonds, where approximately 50% of all gem-quality diamonds in dollar terms are processed.

    Israeli companies import rough diamonds from around the world, and then process them for cutting and polishing, adding significantly to their value. The diamonds are then exported globally via distribution hubs in Antwerp, London, Hong Kong, New York and Mumbai.

    Israel is the world’s leading diamond exporter, with exports valued at nearly $20 billion in 2008, accounting for over 30% of Israel’s exports.

    According to Israeli economist Shir Hever: “The diamonds industry helps Israel fund its war machine, which is used on a daily basis against defenceless civilians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, to the tune of approximately $1 billion annually.”

    These de facto blood diamonds are sold worldwide as conflict free diamonds to unsuspecting consumers who are unaware that their purchase is funding gross human rights violations in Palestine.

    Israel helps fund the atrocities and human rights abuses that Kimberly Process is supposed to prevent being funded by revenue from diamonds.

    According to the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) National Chairperson Freda Hughes, “The IPSC is highlighting this important ethical issue, and have started a campaign aimed at pushing the Kimberley Process to widen its definition of conflict diamonds to include all diamonds that fund human rights violations – be they polished or unpolished diamonds, or used by state or non-state actors. Without such a definition, the KP is merely a charade aimed at fooling consumers into thinking that they are making ethical purchases.”

    Recent investigations by the UN have concluded that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009 and during the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in 2010. All the while, Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian people in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip, and the Syrians in the Golan Heights, continues.

    According to the IPSC, “The Israeli state which oversees these crimes and the military which carries them out are funded by revenue from these same diamond exports. In the view of the IPSC and the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC) this Israeli diamonds should be unequivocally categorised as blood diamonds.”

    The KPCS definition of a conflict or blood diamond must be urgently reviewed in order to include all diamonds that fund human rights violations.”

    link to palestinemonitor.org

  8. Sparkle says:

    Not only are Israeli diamonds funding war crimes and crimes against humanity – they also fund Israel’s illegal nuclear weapons programme. link to facebook.com