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Press Release

For Immediate Release

New York, NY – Africa Israel, the flagship company of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, announced this week that it is no longer involved in Israeli settlement projects and that it has no plans for future settlement activities. Africa Israel subsequently denied that this was a political decision. However, in the last few years numerous organizations, firms, governments and celebrities have exerted pressure and severed their relationships with Leviev and his companies over their involvement in settlement construction and other human rights abuses, in response to a boycott campaign initiated by Adalah-NY.

Israel’s Coalition of Women for Peace disclosed on Monday that in an official letter to the Coalition, Africa Israel stated, “Neither the company nor any of its subsidiaries and/or other companies controlled by the company are presently involved in or has any plans for future involvement in development, construction or building of real estate in settlements in the West Bank.” In follow-up articles in the Israeli media on Monday, Africa Israel said that the statement was “a description of the business today” and that “Africa Israel builds for all the public in Israel, and does not deal in politics or any other policy."

Press Release

For Immediate Release

New York, NY – A member of the board of directors of the leading international humanitarian aid organization CARE USA has taken a voluntary leave of absence from CARE’s board due to the involvement of his employer, Africa Israel, in Israeli settlement activities. The move last week came after a July 12 letter to the Atlanta-based non-profit by the rights group Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel that outlined Africa Israel’s settlement ties, followed by letters from Jews Say No, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and CODEPINK, and meetings and discussions between representatives from CARE and Adalah-NY and JVP.

Riham Barghouti from Adalah-NY explained, “We thank CARE USA for acting swiftly to appropriately address this issue once it was brought to their attention. Representatives from CARE USA told us that they have approved the Board member's request for an indefinite leave of absence while he remains in any way affiliated with Africa Israel. While on leave, we have been assured that the member in question will not attend or vote at Board meetings, receive Board information, or play any other role on the CARE USA Board.”

Press Release

For Immediate Release

New York, NY – In a major victory for the international movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, the Norwegian government announced today that it has divested from Lev Leviev’s company Africa Israel Investments and its construction subsidiary Danya Cebus due to their construction of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The move followed a campaign of more than a year by affected Palestinian villages of Bil’in and Jayyous and by Norwegian, Palestinian, Israeli, and international activist groups, including Adalah-NY, calling on the Norwegian government to divest from Africa Israel.

The companies of Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev have been the target of a boycott campaign that led UNICEF and Oxfam to renounce donations from Leviev, the British government to sever business ties with Leviev, celebrities to seek distance from him, and divestment by other major investment firms.

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New York, NY, Aug. 25, 2009 – In another stunning blow to Israeli settlement-builder Lev Leviev, the Israeli business magazine Globes Online has reported that BlackRock Inc., one of the world’s largest investment management firms, has divested from Leviev’s Africa-Israel Investments. The Globes article follows a similar report by the Norwegian news service Norwatch. The move comes after a nearly two-year long global boycott campaign of Leviev’s businesses that developed in response to the billionaire’s construction activities in at least four Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank, all of which violate international law, and his abusive labor practices in the diamond industry in Angola and Namibia.

In an August 23 article, Globes noted that BlackRock has been under pressure from three Norwegian financial institutions to remove Africa-Israel from its portfolio of funds offered to investors. Globes reports that BlackRock, once the second-largest investor in Africa-Israel, had formerly offered Africa-Israel as an investment in its BlackRock Emerging Europe fund, which the Norwegian banks in turn offered to their clients. The information manager for Skandiabanken, one of the three banks that requested that BlackRock divest from Africa-Israel, is quoted in the Globes article as saying “We have received confirmation that BlackRock that Africa-Israel Investments no longer is part of their portfolio. The confirmation of the divestment was sent to Skandiabanken the day before yesterday on August 18."

Press Release

 

Decision a Victory for Coordinated Campaign in Palestine, US, UK and Israel
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York, NY, March 4 – The government of the United Kingdom has decided to boycott Israeli diamond and real estate mogul Lev Leviev over his companies’ construction of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in the Occupied West Bank, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz Daily reported today. The decision by the UK government followed a coordinated advocacy campaign by human rights advocates in New York, the UK, Palestine and Israel demanding that the UK government end plans to rent the new UK Embassy in Tel Aviv from Leviev’s company Africa-Israel.

Press Release

After letters from Adalah-NY to Eight Stars, Leviev Removes Celebrity Photos

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York, NY, December 19, 2008 – Following complaints by at least four major Hollywood stars whose photos were posted on Israel diamond mogul Lev Leviev’s website, Leviev staff removed the entire celebrity photo section from his website www.leviev.com this week. The photos’ removal came after Adalah-NY and Jews Against the Occupation-NYC sent letters to and spoke with representatives for Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, Drew Barrymore, Brooke Shields, Andie MacDowell, Lucy Liu, Whitney Houston and Sharon Stone, all of whose names and photos, apparently wearing Leviev jewelry, were featured in a Celebrity section of Leviev’s website.

After learning of Leviev’s involvement in rights abuses in Palestine and Southern Africa, representatives of four of the stars told Adalah-NY that they had contacted Leviev to have the stars’ photos removed. Subsequently, on Monday, December 15th, Leviev staff removed the entire Celebrity photo section of the website. Back in October, Oxfam Ambassador Kristin Davis’ photo was removed from Leviev’s website.

Press Release

Charities and celebs seek distance from controversial Israeli settlement-builder
See Oxfam Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York, NY, October 27, 2008 – The October 28 release of the celebrity portrait book Hollywood Pinups by photographer Timothy White is being marred by controversy, as a charity and stars distance themselves from Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev who provided the jewelry worn by stars in the book. Oxfam America is named in the book as recipient of White’s book sales proceeds, and on the page immediately before, Leviev is thanked for his “support and contribution” to the book. In response, Oxfam America, which had renounced Leviev in January, has again decried Leviev’s settlement construction and diamond mining practices, and announced that it will be informing others of “the deliberate strategy of Leviev Diamonds to connect itself with unwitting charities and celebrities.” In June, UNICEF renounced all connections with Leviev.

Eighteen of twenty-three celebrity women in the book wore Leviev’s diamonds. The New York rights coalition Adalah-NY has contacted many - Susan Sarandon, Tea Leoni, Felicity Huffman, Vanessa Williams, Kate Hudson, Kate Walsh, Molly Sims, Mary-Kate Olsen, and Gina Gershon - and asked them to renounce all connections with Leviev.  Adalah-NY also notes that a photo of Oxfam “Ambassador” Kristin Davis wearing Leviev’s jewelry has been removed from Leviev’s website. Susan Sarandon, who was previously embroiled in controversy after attending the opening of Leviev's New York jewelry store despite a protest, wrote the book’s foreward, but did not wear Leviev’s diamonds in her photo in Hollywood Pinups.

Press Release

Controversial Israeli settlement-builder loses “charity alliances”

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New York, NY, October 24, 2008 – In a stunning reversal, Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev will not be sponsoring the Children’s Diabetes Foundation’s (CDF) 2008 Carousel of Hope Ball in Beverly Hills this Saturday evening. Leviev sponsored the 2006 Ball and was announced in media reports as a sponsor for the 2008 Ball. Following letters by Adalah-NY and other groups to the Denver-based CDF, Leviev was removed from the list of sponsors for the 2008 Ball. CDF’s lawyer Mark Cohen told Adalah-NY in an October 1 letter that, while Leviev will not sponsor the event, this did not represent a judgement on the merits of Adalah-NY’s claims about Leviev. The October 25 fundraiser for CDF will feature stars including Denzel Washington, Sidney Poitier, Josh Groban, Quincy Jones and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds.

The rights coalition Adalah-NY has called for a boycott of Leviev’s businesses due to their human rights abuses and unethical practices in Palestine, Angola, Namibia and New York. In January, 2008, Oxfam denied claims by Leviev that he supported Oxfam and denounced him. UNICEF renounced Leviev’s support in June. This week, Oxfam America renounced Leviev yet again, after learning that he contributed diamonds worn by stars in Timothy White’s photo book Hollywood Pinups, scheduled for release on October 28th, with White’s sales proceeds to benefit Oxfam America.

Document

Boston, MA
October 21, 2008

Oxfam welcomes the opportunity to explain the mention of Oxfam America in the book Hollywood Pin Ups. Two years ago, Oxfam America was approached to be the beneficiary of a future donation from celebrity photographer Timothy White (an individual) who was creating a book to mark the anniversary of famous images from the past (Esquire's "Vargas Girls"). At some point in the process, Leviev Diamonds offered to provide diamonds for some of the photo shoots, but Oxfam was not aware of this.

Just a few weeks ago, Adalah-NY tipped us off to the fact that Leviev Diamonds were promoting their inclusion in the book and using this to claim to be Oxfam supporters. When we received a copy of the book we were able to confirm that both Oxfam and Leviev are mentioned in the book: Timothy chose to mention his support of Oxfam in the forward and he decided to describe our mission on a page at the end. On a different page, Leviev is thanked by Timothy for loaning diamonds to the photo shoots.

Given this information, Oxfam immediately acted to reiterate our position to Mr. Leviev and his representatives that he is not an Oxfam supporter or partner and may not claim to be one (which has been our position since January). We also corrected the record in this matter on the internet.

Although it's true that Oxfam and Leviev are both mentioned in this book, Oxfam reiterates our policy that we are not and never will be partners or beneficiaries of Leviev because of both his mining practices and his support of Israeli settlements on Occupied Palestinian Lands which is in contravention of International Law and a major obstacle in the road to peace. We will continue to take steps to educate all the parties involved about the reasons behind our policy and to clarify the issue for the public to the best of our ability. Oxfam is disturbed to find ourselves used in this way and we intend to be proactive in informing those in our community about the deliberate strategy of Leviev Diamonds to connect itself with unwitting charities and celebrities.

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