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.
Leviev-owned company was cleared for investment due to deception.
September 4, 2013
Dear Members of the Council on Ethics for the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global,
We are writing to express our concern that Norway’s Ministry of Finance has lifted its 2010 ban on investing funds from Norway’s Global Pension Fund in the Israeli company Africa Israel and its construction subsidiary Danya Cebus. The lifting of the ban was based on April 2013 statements by Lev Leviev’s company Africa Israel falsely suggesting that the company was not involved in the construction of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory. However, as the Israeli civil society Coalition of Women for Peace’s Who Profits project yet again documented with photos, video and a pamphlet immediately after learning of Norway’s decision, Africa Israel and Danya Cebus are currently building homes in the illegal Israeli settlement of Gilo. They have been doing so for more than two years.
We call on Norway’s Ministry of Finance to swiftly re-impose the prohibition on investment in Africa Israel and Danya Cebus. The Ministry noted appropriately in 2010 that these companies “are contributing to or are themselves responsible for grossly unethical activity.” The Ministry should adhere to the same standards that led to the 2010 decision to divest from the two companies due to their long history of settlement construction in occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law. Without quick corrective public action there is a significant danger that other actors may follow Norway’s well-publicized example and clear these companies for reinvestment, also based on false information.
Below are August 28, 2013 pictures and video of Africa Israel (Danya Cebus) construction in the Israeli settlement of Gilo, built in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory. Photos and video supplied to Adalah-NY by Who Profits (credit: Guy from Ta'ayush).
August 31, 2013 - Norway’s Ministry of Finance announced that is has repealed Norway’s 2010 exclusion prohibiting Norway’s Pension Global Fund from investing in Lev Leviev’s company Africa Israel and its construction subsidiary Danya Cebus due to their construction of Israeli settlements. This clears the way for reinvestment in Africa Israel and Danya Cebus. The Ministry of Finance’s decision was based on a recommendation from Norway’s Council on Ethics, which advises the Ministry of Finance on ethically investing Norway's Pension Global Fund. The Council on Ethics accepted April 2013 assurances of Africa Israel and its construction subsidiary Danya Cebus that they are not currently building Israeli settlements.
Immediately after Norway’s decision was made public, the Israeli watchdog group Who Profits was able to rebut Africa Israel’s claims, by procuring August 27, 2013 photos and videos now published on the Electronic Intifada showing Africa Israel and Danya’s Cebus’ ongoing construction of settlement homes in the Israeli settlement of Gilo in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
New York, NY – The award-winning New York City anti-hunger nonprofit City Harvest is avoiding requests to distance itself from funding and support from controversial Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, despite over 500 letters to the organization complaining about Leviev’s human rights record. Leviev’s companies have built thousands of Israeli settlement homes on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law, and have also been accused of involvement in human rights abuses and unethical business practices in the diamond industry in Angola and Namibia, and now possibly in Zimbabwe as well.
"Oh justice for Palestinian women and men." Members of Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel serenade shoppers in front of Lev Leviev's jewelry store on Madison Avenue, NYC on Dec 15, 2012. Singing "Boycott Leviev Jewelry Store" (to the tune of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"), the holiday carolers call attention to Lev Leviev, who is developing Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which is illegal under international law. Israeli settlements deprive Palestinians of their homes, land, and basic human rights.
"Oppression does not match your dress!!" Members of Adalah NY, The NY campaign for the Boycott of Israel serenade shoppers in front of Lev Leviev's jewelry store on Madison Avenue, NYC on Dec 15, 2012. Singing "Diamond Mines" (to the tune of "Silver Bells"), the holiday carolers call attention to Lev Leviev, who is developing Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which is illegal under international law. Israeli settlements deprive Palestinians of their homes, land, and basic human rights.
Protesters urge local nonprofit City Harvest to reject Leviev support
New York, NY, December 15, 2012 – Eighty New Yorkers sang parody carols in front of Israeli settlement-developer and diamond magnate Lev Leviev’s Madison Avenue jewelry store this afternoon. This was the sixth annual holiday demonstration at the store. Leviev’s companies have built thousands of Israeli settlement homes on Palestinian land, and are also involved in human rights abuses and unethical business practices in the diamond industry in Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
The protest took place during a period of heightened international criticism of Israeli settlement expansion. This week New Zealand’s Superannuation Fund, which invests $20 billion on behalf of New Zealand’s government, announced its divestment from Leviev’s companies and two others due to their construction of settlements and Israel’s wall in violation of international law.