New York Human Rights Carolers Renew Protest of Lev Leviev's Israeli Settlements
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New York, NY – In an encore of their December 22 performance, forty New York human rights carolers sang revised versions of holiday tunes today in front of the jewelry store LEVIEV New York to protest Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev's destruction of marginalized communities in Palestine, Angola and Brooklyn. This was the fifth protest at Leviev's Madison Ave jewelry store since its grand opening on November 13.
Highlighting Leviev's complicity in human rights violations and highly unethical business practices around the world, participants sang creative versions of 11 holiday songs and a Palestinian folk song. With upscale Madison Avenue shoppers pausing to listen, and to the tunes of songs like "Deck the Halls," "Hanukah Oh Hanukah", and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", the carolers serenaded Leviev's staff with lyrics like:
"We wish you a loss of business, we wish you a loss of business,
We wish you a loss of business, and a poor fiscal year,
Apartheid is how, Leviev gets rich,
Screwing workers and Angolans, Through-ou-out the year."
Leviev is building homes in at least four Israeli colonial settlements in the West Bank. All Israeli settlements violate international law, according to a broad international consensus. In Angola, where Leviev has an agreement with the corrupt Dos Santos regime to mine the country's diamonds, Leviev employs a security firm accused of physically abusing Angolan citizens. Leviev has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in New York real estate, and his developments with ex-partner Shaya Boymelgreen have been severely criticized by ACORN, the Laborers' Union and others.
The New York protesters are coordinating their campaign with civil society groups in Palestine, including the West Bank village of Bil'in which is threatened with the loss of 50% of its land due to Leviev's construction of homes in the Modi'in Illit settlement. On Friday, residents of Bil'in, along with Israeli and international activists, continued their three-year campaign of non-violent protest against Israel's wall and settlement activity by marching to their land, chanting slogans and carrying signs. Bil'in's Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements "called for a boycott of Lev Leviev … noting that Leviev invests in building developments in at least four colonies on occupied Palestinian lands, and that the colonies violate international law."
Riham Barghouti of Adalah-NY commented that, "Israel's deliberate policy of moving its Jewish citizens into the West Bank is in clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which explicitly prohibits the transfer of population into occupied land. That means Leviev profits directly from human rights violations. Though the holiday shopping season is ending, Adalah-NY will continue our campaign with creative protests in the New Year. Women's Wear Daily reported in September that Leviev plans to open a new jewelry store in Dubai, so we're working to expand our campaign to there as well."
For more on Adalah-NY and this campaign: www.adalahny.org
Some previous media coverage of this campaign:
-Diamond Billionaire Takes New York, Marissa Brostoff, The Forward, Nov. 14, 2007;
-Her Best Friends, Paula Froelich, The New York Post, Nov. 17, 2007;
-Jeweler Foes Blast Sarandon, Richard Johnson, New York Post, December 24, 2007;
-From Bil'in to Madison Avenue, Nimrod Halperin, Ha'aretz's The Marker , December 25, 2007 .