11/20/2007 Letter to Susan Sarandon

Adalah-NY: The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East

November 20, 2007

Dear Ms. Sarandon,

You are known and appreciated for raising your voice and speaking out, time and time again, against human rights abuses, the war in Iraq, the death penalty, the prison system and numerous other issues. We respect you as an outspoken voice of conscience in a world where most remain silent. It is for this reason that we are writing to you today.

On Tuesday, November 13th, we all attended Lev Leviev's grand opening of LEVIEV New York. We were there to spread the word about Lev Leviev’s deep involvement in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, exploitation of conflicted regions/countries for cheap diamonds, and other unscrupulous business practices that displace people, destroy communities and further the interests of big business at the expense of marginalized communities. As we write this letter, we are confident that you were unaware of Lev Leviev’s connection to such injustices and that once aware, you will again take a stand for justice and against violence.

Mr. Leviev, one of Israel’s wealthiest businessmen, together with partner Shaya Boymelgreen, is building the Mattityahu East settlement on the lands of the Palestinian village of Bil’in (1). Mr. Leviev is also building the Zufim (2) settlement on the lands of the Palestinian village of Jayyous (3), and the strategic West Bank settlements of Har Homa and Maale Adumim around Jerusalem (4), which divide the northern West Bank from the southern West Bank, destroying any hopes for a future viable Palestinian state. All of these Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal under international law, as recognized by the International Court of Justice in 2004 and all major human rights organizations. In Bil’in and Jayyous, Leviev is building settlements on village land despite intensive nonviolent protest campaigns mounted by the two Palestinian villages working with Israeli and international activists against the construction (5). Not only is Mr. Leviev responsible for the construction of these settlements, but his donations to the Land Redemption Fund (6) finance an organization which employs deceit and strong-arm tactics to secure private Palestinian land for these types of illegal settlements.

Mr. Leviev’s use of his wealth and influence to help push forward this policy of illegal settlement construction, a major obstacle to peace in the Middle East, is disturbing. Additionally, his involvement in the diamond trade has brought controversy, most notably due to his past involvement in the diamond trade in Apartheid South Africa, and his company’s current close ties with the repressive Angolan regime (7).

Mr. Leviev doesn’t limit his destructive "construction" to international cities, however. Because of the development projects of his company Leviev Boymelgreen (8) his former US partner, Shaya Boymelgreen, has developed such ill repute among New Yorkers that local housing and labor organizations started a campaign (9) against his abusive land development and unfair employment practices. Meanwhile, Mr. Leviev has continued to use his questionably obtained wealth to buy up real estate on his own here in New York. As a result, Mr. Leviev is the target of human rights protests both here in New York and in the West Bank. He has also been the target of protest against the privatization of prisons, including the one he is building in Israel (10).

As a result of all these actions, a number of local human and political rights organizations have launched a campaign to boycott Leviev products. Given your activism, political awareness and moral consciousness, we hope that you will refrain from making any purchases from Leviev-owned businesses, including LEVIEV New York. Further, we would like to invite you to join our campaign and add your prominent voice to the call for a boycott of Leviev’s products.

More information on Lev Leviev, Shaya Boymelgreen, Adalah-NY and this campaign is available at our website, www.adalahny.org.

Thank you, Ms. Sarandon, for taking the time to hear our concerns. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Adalah-NY: The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East

Endorsing Organizations:

The Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements for the village of Bil'in, www.bilin-village.org

The Land Defense Committee for the village of Jayyous

The Jenin Freedom Theater, www.thefreedomtheatre.org

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee – New York Chapter, www.adcnewyork.org

Network of Arab-American Professionals of New York, www.naaponline.org/ny

Rachel's Words, www.rachelswords.org

Jews Against the Occupation – NYC

Endorsing Individuals:

Kathleen Chalfant, Actress

Juliano Merr-Khamis, Palestinian/Israeli Actor

Mariam Said

Abdeen Jabara, Esq.

* All endorsing individuals support this campaign, but not all attended the demonstration.


  1. http://www.bilin-village.org/
  2. http://www.ww3report.com/105/palestine/jayyous
  3. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20040308/bloom
  4. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2F
  5. http://www.btselem.org/Download/200512_Under_the_Guise_of_Security_Eng.pdf
  6. http://newleftreview.org/?view=2624
  7. http://www.peacenow.org/hot.asp?cid=247
  8. http://nymag.com/news/intelligencer/31549/
  9. http://www.LevievBoymelgreen.com
  10. http://www.shayaiscoming.org
  11. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/879254.html



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