Commentary by Chippy Dee, Photos © by Bud Korotzer
Earlier this week about 25 anti-occupation, anti Israeli-apartheid activists, organized by Adalah-NY, presented a noisy surprise to the members of the Israeli Business Leaders Delegation having breakfast at a reception for them at the Leviev jewelry store on Madison Avenue in N.Y.C. Astonished, disturbed faces appeared at the window above the Leviev store. The demonstrators chanted and sang parodies of holiday songs that were critical of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinian people in general, and of Lev Leviev in particular. They used their voices, a guitar, a banjo, and a pot being banged with a spoon, while others handed out leaflets.
I Made a Little Settlement
Apartments for Jews only-
He thinks Palestine’s the problem
and Apartheid is the cure!
Oh, boycott, boycott, boycott
Don’t buy Leviev today.
Funds crime with all that profit.
Who needs diamonds anyway?
Several Israelis left the reception to come down and address the demonstrators. One said that Israel was going to pull out of the West Bank and leave all that good housing to the Palestinians. Another brought his camera and solemnly photographed the demonstrators.
At one point the police were called. Two officers went into the store for a few minutes and then came out and left. A police van drove up and remained outside the store. When a member of the delegation came out and became argumentative with the demonstrators, one of the police officers stepped between him and the demonstrators and urged him to disengage.
At about 11 AM the reception ended and the guests began to leave. As they filed out some made flippant gestures, some tried to defend Israel’s dismal human rights record, and others gave hostile glances, but most avoided eye contact. One of those in the group was TV personality, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who seemed to be trying to avoid notice. Another woman glanced at the demonstrators and found herself looking into the face of a friend. The person protesting said, “What are you doing here?” and the friend replied, “You know I’m against the occupation and settlements.” The other answered, “But this man [Leviev] is the settlements and the occupation!”
Ethan Heitner from Adalah-NY explained, “By holding this breakfast at Leviev, the Israeli Business Leaders Delegation and the American-Israel Friendship League have endorsed Israeli settlements. People should not be attending lavish breakfasts hosted by Leviev when his settlements are cutting off Palestinian villages from their farmland and impoverishing them, and Palestinian activists like Mohammed Othman from Jayyous are being imprisoned for protesting against them.”
According to a press release issued by Adalah-NY, “The breakfast at Leviev’s store came at the end of a 3 day N.Y. program for the delegation, organized by the America-Israel Friendship League that featured business and government VIPs from Israel and the U.S., including guest speakers like AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, Loews president James Tish, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, and Israeli Government Ministers Gideon Sa’as and Uzi Landau.
In addition to Leviev, other Israeli companies featured in the delegation are deeply involved in Israel’s apartheid policies. Michael Federmann, Chairman of the Board of Elbeit Systems Ltd. spoke in the’Homeland Security Roundtable, ‘ though the Norwegian government divested from Elbit due to its provision of surveillance equipment for Israel’s wall that cuts through the West Bank…. Another speaker was Moshe Gaon, Chairman of the Board of B. Gaon Holdings, owner of Ahava, the Israeli cosmetics company that has been the subject of a successful worldwide boycott campaign, organized by CodePink, over Ahava’s exploitation of Dead Sea minerals from the Occupied West Bank, in violation of international law.
Alexis Stern from Adalah-NY explained, ‘the visit of this Israeli business delegation to the U.S. was shameful because there should be no business as usual with Apartheid Israel. Many Israeli companies are directly or indirectly involved in supporting Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. They should be boycotted, not celebrated.’ “
Later in the day, some of the same demonstrators joined the 2 granny groups working together – the ‘Granny Peace Brigade’ and the Raging Grannies’.Some folks are really trying to make that ‘CHANGE’ a reality….HERE