Jewish Voice for Peace Asks Sarandon to Cut Ties with Leviev
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Read the letter on their website: http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/publish/article_928.shtml
Letter to Susan Sarandon, don't support Leviev
December 13, 2007
Dear Ms. Sarandon,
As long time admirers of your work on social justice issues and as Jewish activists working to promote a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, we in Jewish Voice for Peace write to call your attention to the crimes of Lev Leviev and to urge you to publicly sever all connections with him and his company.
We have no doubt that you were unaware of the role Leviev plays in the perpetuation of the Israel-Palestine conflict by funding the settlements in the West Bank and using his considerable financial power to wrest more and more land from besieged Palestinians. We hope that now that you will be aware of this, you will act to raise awareness of the damage Leviev’s activities do to innocent Palestinians, to the hopes for peace and to the security and future of both Israelis and Palestinians.
Consider the situation of the Palestinian village of Bil’in, which sees its lands confiscated for the Israeli settlement of Modi’in-Illit, its people harassed by settlers, its farmers cut off from their crops and its water intentionally polluted by sewage from the settlement. None of this would be possible without Leviev’s financing, as described by an Israeli Jewish journalist in Le Monde Diplomatique last year (http://mondediplo.com/2006/08/04settlers):
“The residents of Bil’in face a powerful alliance of political and economic interests. Two neighbourhoods will be built on their stolen lands. The Green Park project is being constructed by Dania Cebus, a subsidiary of Africa-Israel Corporation, a real-estate investment firm owned by one of Israel’s most powerful businessmen, Lev Leviev. It is a massive project, a $230m enterprise with 5,800 apartments. The revenues of Africa-Israel recorded a sharp increase in 2005 and its operating profits grew by 129%. All these investments depend on the route of the wall, which will make the new neighbourhoods safe and raise the value of land investments, but divide the villagers of Bil’in from their lands, completing the annexation process.”
Leviev is a very dangerous force not only in Israel. His real estate development projects have been roundly criticized for shoddy building, harsh treatment of workers and dangerous buildings and work sites. His diamond business dealings with Angola enable further human rights violations. Caught trying to sell Burmese “blood diamonds” to a Times of London investigative reporter, Leviev was told by the European Union to stop trade with Burma or risk prosecution. And his efforts in Israel-Palestine are directed against all efforts for peace.
Leviev’s strong support of the settlements seriously compromises any efforts at a just peace in the region. His efforts to expropriate more lands from Palestinians, using both financial and strong-arm tactics, greatly increase Palestinian suffering.
As Jews who yearn and work for a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis, we implore you to take a public stand against Leviev. Your recent public appearance with him makes it seem as if you support his efforts, and we’re certain this is not the impression you want to give. At this time, when hope for peace seems so hard to find, we hope you will make a choice that will help shed some light on the activities of a man who is doing so much to further bury those hopes.
Interim National Director
Jewish Voice for Peace