Press Release

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March 8, New York, NY— On a sunny day, 100 New Yorkers marched through crowds of shoppers on Broadway in lower Manhattan today, chanting, singing and carrying signs calling for a boycott of Israel. The protesters stopped to sing boycott songs at Ricky’s, Best Buy, Crate and Barrel and Staples, stores that sell the Israeli settlement products Ahava and SodaStream, and at Israeli-owned businesses Aroma Espresso Bar and Max Brenner, both of which have ties to Israel's military occupation. 

MEDIA CONTACT: info@adalahny.org

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New York, NY, February 19, 2014 – Adalah-NY announced today that contrary to 2012 media reports touting Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev’s support for the New York City anti-hunger nonprofit City Harvest, the organization received no support of any kind from Leviev during that period. In November 2012, after media reported on Leviev’s support for City Harvest fundraisers, Adalah-NY mobilized letters from organizations and from over 600 individuals calling on the award-winning organization to reject funds from and publicly disavow Leviev due to his companies’ construction of Israeli settlements in violation of international law, and unethical business practices in the diamond industry in Southern Africa.

City Harvest’s just-issued 2013 annual report, and their 2012 annual report both show no support from Leviev. City Harvest spokesperson Cara Taback confirmed in a February 18 phone call with Adalah-NY that the annual reports provide a full and accurate list of all the organization’s donors, and that Leviev indeed had not been a City Harvest donor during the July 2011 – June 2013 period covered by the two reports.

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New York, NY, December 14, 2013 – As snow fell on the New York area Saturday afternoon, 40 human rights advocates gathered on Manhattan’s upscale Madison Avenue in front of the Leviev Diamond store and sang parody holiday carols protesting diamond magnate Lev Leviev’s construction of Israeli settlements. Many holiday shoppers, bundled against the cold, paused to listen to the carolers and appeared surprised but pleased by their human rights message. 

The protest came days after popular mobilizations against an Israeli government plan to displace tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel contributed to the plan’s cancellation, and amidst growing global recognition of the efficacy of the international boycott movement.

December 7, 2013, Brooklyn, NY—On Saturday, December 7, 100 activists from Adalah-NY, Jewish Voice for Peace-NY, Park Slope Food Coop Members for BDS, and elsewhere protested outside Target at Atlantic Terminal Mall in Brooklyn as part of the National Days of Action against SodaStream (photos). Between November 29—the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People as well as Black Friday—and December 10—Human Rights Day—organizations have been calling on Target to de-shelve SodaStream, which is produced in violation of international law in one of Israel’s largest Jewish-only settlements, Ma'ale Adumim. The activists are supporters of the Palestinian-led movement of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) pressuring Israel until it complies with international law.

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MEDIA CONTACT: info@adalahny.org

October 29, New York, NY – Outside Manhattan’s normally staid Lincoln Center cultural complex tonight, 50 New Yorkers delivered a clear message rejecting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s (IPO) deliberate use of art to whitewash Israel’s systematic and brutal repression of the rights of the Palestinian people. The IPO, which was holding a fundraising concert, calls itself “Israel’s musical ambassador throughout the country and the world” and helps to project a positive image of Israel, diverting attention from Israel’s human rights abuses, as part of the Israeli government’s “Brand Israel” initiative.

Many of the well-dressed patrons, who had paid up to $5000 apiece for tickets to the IPO concert at the Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, looked disturbed to encounter a radical marching band, the Rude Mechanical Orchestra (RMO), and a crowd of protesters with chants that included, “Your orchestra is classy, your piano is so grand, we’d love to have you play for us when you stop stealing land;” and “Oboe, trumpet and bassoon, apartheid is out of tune.”

Other passers-by read the literature being distributed by protesters and, in some cases, took up signs and joined the demonstration. Eight dancers in a second floor Alice Tully Hall studio with floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the protest, inspired by the RMO’s renditions of “Which Side Are You On?” and “We Shall Not Be Moved,” treated the crowd to an impromptu dance performance.

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October 27, New York, NY – Over 30 New York human rights advocates protested outside the performance of Israeli musician Idan Raichel at the Beacon Theatre this evening, calling Raichel “a self-proclaimed propagandist for the Israeli government” and its brutal, apartheid policies towards the Palestinian people. The peaceful, spirited protest of chanting and singing was met by hostility and racism from many concert-goers.

A number of Raichel’s fans began shouting obscenities and making vulgar gestures at the protesters, in two cases mocking the religious garb (video) some Muslim women wear (the headscarf, or hijab). One aggressive male fan repeatedly told a female protest chant leader, “You should die!” Another went out of his way to walk up to two female protesters and toss a lit cigarette between them. In contrast, one passer-by read an explanatory flier and then joined the protesters, adding her voice to chants such as, “Voice of peace? That’s a lie! Idan plays while people die,” and “Musicians must take a stand, no excuse for stealing land.”

MEDIA CONTACT: info@adalahny.org

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New York, NY, October 22 – Human rights advocates today added to revelations reported in The Jewish Daily Forward this week about the new Hollywood entertainment industry group Creative Community for Peace (CCFP). CCFP campaigns against a cultural boycott of Israel, and claims to oppose the politicization of art. But The Forward revealed this week that CCFP, not itself a nonprofit, operates under the aegis of the long-established US nonprofit StandWithUs (SWU) which is “widely perceived as being on the far right of the pro-Israel spectrum.” The Forward also shows that CCFP shares some of SWU's right-wing positions, though CCFP espouses goals of “peace” and “freedom of expression.” SWU, legally registered under the name Israel Emergency Alliance (IEA), regularly boasts of its endorsement by and support to the Israeli government.

CCFP’s cofounder, music executive David Renzer, tried to distance the group from SWU, telling The Forward that CCFP has “always operated independently” of SWU, and asserting, “there is no day-to-day relationship” with SWU. But according to Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, David Renzer is married to the cofounder and president of SWU Esther Renzer; another CCFP co-founder, Ran Geffen-Lifshitz, is on the board of StandWithUs Israel; CCFP’s Director Lana Melman appears to be based in the long-established SWU office in LA as she can be reached by phone via the SWU switchboard there; and CCFP and SWU held a strategizing session together with Israeli government officials to shape CCFP’s activities. Still, SWU and CCFP have gone to lengths to camouflage their interrelationship, even quietly registering StandWithUs and Creative Community for Peace with the LA County Clerk in 2010 as “fictitious business names” for the registered nonprofit Israel Emergency Alliance (Scanned file available on request).

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September 26, 2013 - Lev Leviev’s company Africa Israel has admitted to ongoing construction in Gilo, an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem, but simultaneously denied that Gilo is a settlement in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem. Africa Israel’s statement to the UK’s Business & Human Rights Resource Centre came in response to an outcry over Norway’s Ministry of Finance’s August decision to rescind a 2010 ban on investment of the Norwegian Government’s Pension Fund Global in Africa Israel and its construction subsidiary Danya Cebus. Norway had put in place the ban on investment in 2010 due to the two companies’ construction of Israeli settlements in violation of international law.

On September 4th, Adalah-NY and three leading Palestinian civil society groups wrote to The Pension Fund Global’s Council on Ethics calling on them to swiftly reinstate the ban on the companies due to their ongoing settlement construction in Gilo. The Council on Ethics responded that they are “looking into” the matter. Norway’s Ministry of Finance announced the end of the ban on investment after Africa Israel told the Council on Ethics in April 2013 that they were not building any Israeli settlements. Africa Israel, owned by Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev, has a long history of settlement construction.

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July 17, Oakland, CA – On Tuesday, July 16th at TIAA-CREF offices in over a dozen cities nationwide, human rights advocates protested the retirement giant’s investments in Israeli military occupation, on the same day that TIAA-CREF held its annual shareholders meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The protesters sang, chanted, handed out thousands of flyers, and performed street theater, also signaling their displeasure with TIAA-CREF’s refusal to allow investors to vote to vote on a shareholder resolution, which calls on TIAA-CREF to divest from companies such as Veolia, Caterpillar, and Northrup Grumman which profit from segregated services, home demolitions, militarized violence, and other human rights abuses.

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