It’s a small step, but a significant triumph nonetheless for advocacy groups, as Israeli diamond and real estate mogul Lev Leviev is boycotted by the British government:
The decision by the UK government followed a coordinated advocacy campaign by human rights advocates in New York, the UK, Palestine and Israel demanding that the UK government end plans to rent the new UK Embassy in Tel Aviv from Leviev’s company Africa-Israel. The UK’s Tel Aviv Ambassador notified Leviev of the decision by letter, following a British parliamentary debate, and inquiries with Leviev’s company Africa-Israel over its activities in the West Bank. [Source]
Leviev is currently embroiled in the controversial construction of the Zufim settlement on the land of the village of Jayyous by his company, Leader.
The Israeli army has recently intensified efforts to crush Jayyous’ protest campaign against the construction of Leviev’s settlements and Israel’s apartheid wall on village land.
According to Sharif Omar, head of Jayyous’ Land Defense Committee, the move by the UK is positive and one to be wider implemented:
We feel heartened by the UK government decision opposing Leviev’s settlement construction, and we expect our brothers and sisters in the UAE to follow the UK government’s example by banning Leviev from selling his diamonds in Dubai. We need more pressure in order to end Israeli repression, return our land, and restore our rights.
Echoing his sentiments, Omar Barghouti, one of the initiators of the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, issued back-handed praise and some sage advice:
This is a step in the right direction for the British government, a government that has taken thousands of steps in the wrong direction, not least of which is its open complicity in Israel’s war crimes in Gaza and the rest of the occupied territory. Time for a British arms ban on Israel.
Being of a pessimistic disposition today, I would love to celebrate; sadly, the British track record in positive progress vis-à-vis Palestine is sketchy and sporadic at best.
How long such political bravado will last is anyone’s guess.