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Gulf News: Call to boycott Israeli jeweller

By Abbas Al Lawati

To view original article, published by Gulf News on the 14th December, click here

Dubai: Activists campaigning against Israeli diamond mogul Lev Leviev urged Dubai residents to boycott the jeweller during the screening of a documentary film on activist hip hop at the Dubai Film Festival on Friday.

Forty T-shirts and one hundred letters from the West Bank town of Jayyous were distributed to the audience at the screening of Slingshot Hip Hop, a documentary about Palestinian rappers in Israel by Arab American filmmaker Jackie Salloum.

Leviev’s companies build Jewish-only colonies in the occupied West Bank, including the village of Jayyous. Leviev also owns a self-titled diamond label that has been selling in Dubai for almost a year.

Salloum, who has been to Jayyous, described the situation there are dire, saying that the “security barrier” and colonies being built by Israel there have robbed its residents of their livelihoods.

Online campaign

The distributed T-shirts called on Dubai residents to boycott Leviev as well as Levant Jewellery, owned by Leviev’s local agent, Palestinian-Moroccan Arif Bin Khadra.

Meanwhile, activists campaigning against Leviev’s activities have set up a Facebook group that is calling for a boycott of all Dubai venues that host stores selling Leviev diamonds.

The group has gained almost 400 members in less than two weeks since its launch, according to group administrator Jabbar, a UAE-based Palestinian rapper.

Levant stores exist in the Atlantis, Al Qasr and Mina Al Salaam hotels. Another branch is planned for the Dubai Mall.

“It’s important for people to be aware of where their money is going. Especially if it is happening so close to home,” said Jabbar.

New York based Coalition for Justice in the Middle East (Adalah-NY), has led the international campaign against Leviev.

The group has recently had success in persuading Hollywood celebrities to distance themselves from Leviev.

So far, Sex and the City star Kirsten Davis, Full House star Mary-Kate Olsen, as well as Felicity Huffman and Melissa George have reportedly asked Leviev to stop using their names to promote the diamonds.

Pictures of a number of other celebrities such as Salma Hayek, Sharon Stone and Whitney Houston remain on the Leviev website.