UK boycotts Leviev
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UK boycotts Leviev

The government of the United Kingdom has decided to boycott Israeli diamond and real estate mogul Lev Leviev over his companies’ construction of settlements. The decision by the UK government is the result of a coordinated advocacy campaign demanding that the UK government end plans to rent the new UK Embassy in Tel Aviv from Leviev’s company Africa-Israel.

Almost a year ago, following the publication of UK intentions to rent space for a new Tel Aviv embassy from Leviev, eight groups in the US, UK and Palestine launched a letter-writing campaign to the UK’s Foreign Office. They drew the attention of the British government to the Leviev’s involvement in the construction of settlements Zufim, Mattityahu East, Har Homa and Maale Adumim as well as the millionaire’s contributions to the Land Redemption fund, which acquires Palestinian land for Jewish settlements.

The debate about moving the embassy to a building owned by Leviev was kept alive in the British press, which also published petitions against the move. Several months ago, campaigners were finally successful in pushing the issue into the British parliament.

On March 4, following the parliamentary debate and a subsequent information request as to the nature of Africa-Israel’s involvement construction, it was reported that British government had canceled its plans to rent office space for the embassy from Leviev. This has been done explicitly on the grounds of his involvement with settlement construction.

Adalah-NY began the initial campaign against Leviev, and has held 13 protests at Leviev’s Madison Avenue jewelry store since it opened. UNICEF and Oxfam have renounced Leviev over human rights abuses, Hollywood stars have distanced themselves from him, and the Dubai government is under pressure to boycott Leviev’s businesses. Additionally, Africa-Israel has also lost 90% of its value and has been engaged in an embarrassing New York real estate battle.