Israeli women, Palestinians, and US Jews ask Susan Sarandon to boycott Israeli billionaire Leviev, 01/02/2008

Israeli women, Palestinians, and US Jews ask Susan Sarandon to boycott Israeli billionaire Leviev

Adalah-NY Contacts: [email protected]

New York, NY, Jan 2, 2008 – Israel’s Coalition of Women for Peace has called on US actress Susan Sarandon to publicly disavow connections with the businesses of Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev due to his companies’ construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This follows similar requests to Sarandon by leading Palestinian civil society organizations, the Palestinian villages of Bil’in and Jayyous where Leviev is building settlements, the US group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and Adalah-NY.

The New York Post reported on November 17 that Sarandon crossed a picket line of human rights campaigners from Adalah-NY to attend the November 13 opening of the Madison Avenue jewelry store LEVIEV New York. Responding to Adalah-NY’s later request that Sarandon boycott Leviev, her assistant told Adalah-NY that Sarandon was exploring the topic. The New York Post reported on December 24 that Sarandon’s representative said that, “She has no ties to any jewelry company,” responding to JVP’s letter asking Sarandon “to publicly sever all connections with him and his company.”

In a December 31st letter, Israel’s Coalition of Women for Peace, representing ten women’s peace organizations in Israel, expressed admiration for Sarandon’s work “for immigrants' rights, for the recognition and visibility of LGBT communities, and [her] inspiringly outspoken resistance to the war in Iraq.” The coalition confirmed Leviev’s settlement construction and further wrote that, “Developers and investors who take part in maintaining the occupation and the settlement industry must be made publicly accountable for their actions. We ask you to join us in publicly disavowing Lev Leviev's businesses until he withdraws his involvement in any such projects.”

Six Palestinian organizations - the Steering Committee for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign representing 171 Palestinian civil society organizations - wrote Sarandon in a December 28 letter that, “it is of crucial importance that prominent figures come out to speak about justice and against war and occupation everywhere.” They invited Sarandon to visit and see “the reality produced by Israeli occupation and apartheid.” Calling boycott “a non-violent, civil form of pressure against Israel”, they wrote, “Inspired by… the global movement to isolate apartheid South Africa, Palestinian civil society has called… on the world to start once again a boycott movement in the pursuit of justice.”

The urgent need for international pressure to counter Israel's abuses was driven home again on January 1 in the West Bank village of Bil'in. Settlers, emboldened by years of free reign and lawlessness, attempted to claim land belonging to Bil’in by placing two trailers on it, disregarding an Israeli Supreme Court ruling that land must be returned to Bil'in, following nearly three years of nonviolent protest by the village. Two community leaders from Bil’in risked their lives by lying under the dangling trailers to prevent their placement on the ground. After badly beating the two community leaders and a Palestinian videographer, the settlers managed to install the trailers.

Mohammed Khatib and Sharif Omar, representatives of Bil’in and Jayyous, wrote in a December 26 letter that Leviev’s settlements are “destroying the olive groves and farms that have sustained our villages for centuries.” The two villages, known for their long nonviolent protest campaigns, invited Sarandon to visit, adding that, “We are engaged in a struggle for justice, for our freedom – indeed, for our very lives. We call on you, Ms. Sarandon, to… stand with us in our struggle to save our land and our communities.”

Issa Mikel, a spokesperson for Adalah-NY, explained, “All Israeli settlements violate international law. Ms. Sarandon has repeatedly and publicly stood up for the human rights of diverse groups. We encourage her to do the same for Palestinians, and eliminate any misperception that she condones Leviev’s settlement construction.” Adalah-NY has now organized five protests at Leviev’s jewelry store.

For all letters and articles re Sarandon and Leviev:

Release Date: 

January 2, 2008

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