45 thoughts on “Africa Israel Faces Debt Restructuring, Threatening Leviev Control – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. It’s not just Israeli companies — the French transportation companies Veolia & Alstrom, which are building Israel’s light rail project (JLR) connecting E. Jerusalem settlements to the center — have lost out on hefty contracts in Stockholm, Tehran, France, & the UK after BDS campaigns. http://palsolidarity.org/2009/08/8193

    “In an unexpected turn of events, and after months of intensive lobbying and awareness-raising by the Derail Veolia and Alstom campaign, Haaretz reported35 that Veolia was “abandoning” the JLR and was even “trying to sell its 5% stake in Citypass, the light rail consortium.” According to the report, “The organization based itself on an article in French law that allows the court to void business agreements, signed by French companies, that violate international law.” However, it cites “political pressure” and the loss of “major projects in Europe because of its involvement in the Jerusalem job” were the “real reason” for Veolia’s withdrawal from the JLR, according to unnamed observers.”

    1. She should write to Blackrock to protest its divestment of AI. THough I should add that AI has been a terrible investment & lost 75% of its value in the past yr. She actually should be applauding the divestment purely fr. an economic pt of view (unless she thinks AI is going to rebound & restore its old stock price).

      its tyrranical and punitive side.

      To quote a former president: “There he goes again.” BDS wants to end the Occupation & see Israel become a nation of ALL its citizens, not just its Jewish citizens. Tyranny has nothing to do w. this & is one of yr typically histrionic, inapt word choices. “Punitive” is apt but only insofar as it applies to ending the Occupation. Since the Occupation is quite punitive towards Palestinians, I have no problem with punitive measures against those companies which benefit fr. the Occupation like AI.

      1. “BDS wants to end the Occupation & see Israel become a nation of ALL its citizens, not just its Jewish citizens.” You mean BDS [as defined by the organisation who started the campaign] wants it to become a nation of ALL its citizens, as well as the millions of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the millions of Palestinian refugees living outside the borders of historic Palestine.” That’s fixed it.

        1. Palestinian civil society called upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel, similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era, until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with international law.

          BDS FAQs

          Where do you see in this a demand for a full physical Right of Return for all Palestinians or a one-state solution. You’re being you’re usual sloppy, overstated self. How do you expect anyone to take you seriously?

          1. We were talking about BDS. I quoted from the BDS website. That doesn’t satisfy you. So now I’ll quote from the new website you’ve brought up which still doesn’t support yr claim:

            Israel‘s colonial oppression of the Palestinian people…comprises the following:

            * Denial of its responsibility for the Nakba — in particular the waves of ethnic cleansing and dispossession that created the Palestinian refugee problem — and therefore refusal to accept the inalienable rights of the refugees and displaced stipulated in and protected by international law;
            * Military occupation and colonization of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza since 1967, in violation of international law and UN resolutions;
            * The entrenched system of racial discrimination and segregation against the Palestinian citizens of Israel, which resembles the defunct apartheid system in South Africa;


            Even the “inalienable rights of the refugees,” which is the strongest phrase in the statement, doesn’t get you where you need to be in order to support yr wildly inaccurate claim.

            I’ll make a deal. You stop making lame claims & I’ll stop being rude.

            How pray, based on a visit to French Hill, can you tell who’s buying Israeli apartments? Did you see deeds of sale? What other proof do you have? You know, even if this is true (& you’ve provided almost no real evidence it is) you really ask for our wholly skeptical response by the shoddiness w. which you present yr claim.

          2. Richard – please stop being rude unnecessarily. If you want to engage with dialogue with me, please stop cutting out things like “lame claims”, “sloppy, overstated self”, “how do you expect anyone to take you seriously?” Imagine if a kid said that to someone in the playground. It certainly wouldn’t be very tikkun olam. In any case, there’s no need for it. I’m happy to discuss the issue of French Hill in more detail, or indeed any issue, but not if I’m going to constantly get insulted. It’s just not fair. I assume you’re probably not that bothered, but at least I’ve stated how I feel.

          3. Alex, seriously, don’t worry. The BDS movement does not want to force you to watch as hordes of Arabs come charging into Israel to spoil its lovely “Jewish character”.

          4. Orgo – including me. The point is that PACBI do not support a two-state solution.

            Shirin – I’m not worried in the slightest, just trying to stress that PACBI are opposed to a two-state solution. Richard made the good point a while back that any opposition to a two-state solution wouldn’t matter if a fair settlement was ever reached, but I think that it’s still important to be clear about what PACBI actually stand for.

          5. Alex — Have you ever publicly supported the Leviev campaign? or BDS campaigns directed at settlements?I don’t recall if you’ve written on it.

          6. Alex — unfortunate that you won’t write in support of the Leviev campaign. You wrote about Bassem Abu Rahme being murdered in Bil’in. And Seth wrote about how upset he was that rocks get thrown in Bi’lin, damaging the non-violent message. Yet he too, as far as I know, is against any form of BDS.

            Calling for divestment from & boycotts against the builders of Modi’in Ilit is a crucial element of Bil’in’s non-violent struggle.

            Consider suggesting to Seth he modify his BDS stance & support the Leviev campaign, as you do. It’s not just Leviev the village is campaigning against, they are suing another Modi’in Illit builder, Leviev’s one-time partner Shaya Boymelgreen, in Canadian court.

            After Bil’in’s non-violent leader Mohammed Khatib came back from testifying in Canada, he was arrested, along with other protest leaders. At the same time the army started nighttime raids of the village.

            More on that

            The recent raids began concurrently with the opening of a legal trial in Montreal. The village of Bil’in has taken two companies registered in Canada (Green Park International & Green Mount International) to court for participating in war crimes by building settlements on Bil’in’s land under the 2000 Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Statute (which incorporates both the articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute into Canadian federal law).

            According to Bil’in’s attorney Emily Schaeffer, the judge Justice Louis-Paul Cullen is meant to give a decision very soon about whether the Canadian court has jurisdiction to hear Bil’in’s claims.

            Since the trail began Israeli forces have arrested 30 people (most of which are under 18). Twenty-one residents of Bil’in remain in Israeli detention.

            Through Israel’s interrogation and intimidation tactics, some of arrested youth have falsely ‘confessed’ that the Bil’in Popular Committee urges the demonstrators to throw stones. With such ‘confessions’, Israeli forces then proceed to raid the village at night , invade homes and arrest leaders of the non-violent struggle in the community.

          7. You haven’t proven that assertion. Nor have you acknowledged that the statement I quoted from PACBI specifically about how they interpret BDS completely contradicts yr claim that they support BDS as a means toward a 1 state solution, the full physical Right of Return, etc. But even if they don’t support a 2 state solution, that has little to do w. BDS since they are 2 separate issues.

  2. What SPECIFICALLY would satisfy the boycott movement?

    So, that it doesn’t only express its tyrranical and punitive side.

  3. Witty: what is the “opposite criteria” — encourage investment in settlements? Leviev has been targeted SPECIFICALLY because he builds settlements.

      1. Then I guess she’d better get rid of that Blackrock stock right quick and find another way to support Israel’s illegal colonization of Palestine, hadn’t she?

        1. But, that would be “tyrannical and punitive”, by Witty’s definition, right? He’s obviously not spending much time talking his mother out of her “tyranny”, since he seems to spend hours posting on comment boards instead.

  4. PR to deny that Africa Israel was targeted at all by BlackRock. From Jerusalem Post. http://tinyurl.com/nv9kx8

    “The British branch of a New York-based investment management firm has denied allegations made by a Norwegian watchdog organization that it has divested funds from a corporation owned by Israeli business magnate Lev Leviev for its involvement in settlement construction. “

    1. That’s typical of JPost. Of course that’s what they would print & of course it’s what Blackrock might say. It is clear to all that the timing of this decision has everything to do with approaches made to Blackrock by the Norwegian banks in the recent past asking it to do precisely what it did do. Blackrock never said that it made this decision for any purely economic reason (though since AI is about to be wiped out financially it turned out to be a smart move).

      1. This is from Norwatch, which first reported the divestment. Note when asked the question directly of why they divested, BlackRock won’t confirm or deny ethical considerations or the banks taking action had an effect on their decision:

        “So is it untrue that you divested as a result of the 3 mentioned Scandinavian banks taking action? Or is it untrue that you divested due to the legal-political-ethical dilemmas attached to Africa-Israel’s operations on the West Bank?”, Norwatch asked.

        “Our decisions to buy or sell stocks are based on our investment process”, Phillips answered, without wishing to clarify further.

        ”BlackRock has implemented principles for SRI in their investment decisions, and has a group of analytics who exclusively are working on issues related to SRI, and who carry out screenings. […] The company is in close dialogue with several firms relating to SRI, but has never excluded a firm unless a customer explicitly asks for it”, writes Danica, who themselves made contact with BlackRock regarding the Africa-Israel case.

  5. Witty: BlackRock is not a “company that will boycott Israel.” It’s a company that had the humane decency not to hold onto an investment in a company violating international and humanitarian law, one that steals land from an indigenous people, protected by security forces that shoot, maim, kill, beat & arrest those who dare to protest the left of their ancestral lands. UNICEF & Oxfam both refused donations from Leviev because of the human rights violations of his businesses. The UK government decided not to rent their new Tel Aviv embassy from him because they wanted to send a proactive message that settlements are wrong. In Angola, security forces that share a headquarters with Leviev’s diamond company have been responsible for whipping, torture, sexual abuse and, in some cases, assassinations, of anyone who Lev’s company felt stood in his way. Why are you so hellbent on lending your support to Leviev?

    If this were the 1890’s, would you be out flacking for the robber barons?


    SEE ALSO: “Israeli mogul’s empire foundering”, AP, 08/31/09

    (EXCERPT) Shares in Africa Israel Investments, one of Israel’s largest companies, have plummeted by one-third in two days after its diamond tycoon owner acknowledged possible problems paying off billion of dollars in company debts. The holding and investment company, in which billionaire diamond baron Lev Leviev owns a 75% stake, has lost some $1.4b since the beginning of 2008, battered in large part by soured real estate investments in the US and to a lesser extent, Russia. On Monday, the company’s shares on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange shed 13.6%, having lost 25% a day earlier over Africa Israel’s announcement it might have trouble making debt payments by 2011 and was seeking to restructure its obligations…

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://niqnaq.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/it-sounds-like-the-lubavitcher-rebbes-blessing-has-expired/

        1. I was in French Hill yesterday: lots of Palestinians (Jerusalemites or otherwise, although obviously only those with blue ID cards) are buying up flats in the area. One of the consequences of the wall, in fact, is that wealthier Palestinians are buying up property on the Israeli side of the fence in Jerusalem. This obviously has some nationalist motivation, although it’s mainly an issue of lifestyle. I’m surprised more journalists (to my knowledge) haven’t covered it, although I did see something on Al-Jazeera.

    1. No, it’s an utter waste of everyone’s time including yr own. Read the comment rules & if that’s the primary reason you’re here I urge you to move on to a more conducive environment. This one can’t suit you. Further comments that violate the comment rules will be deleted.

  7. MSM & Jewish press note BDS in Lev’s downfall:

    JPost (AP), Sept. 1, ” Leviev’s empire is foundering”


    “But his construction activities in Judea and Samaria have come under fire from settlement opponents in the US and Britain. UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, stopped accepting contributions from Leviev because of an Africa Israel subsidiary’s business in the West Bank.”

    JTA, Sept. 1, “Leviev’s Africa Israel stock plummets”


    “Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Monday that the Israeli government would not intervene to help Leviev, whose company has faced boycotts because a subsidiary is involved in constructing homes in West Bank Jewish settlements.”

    1. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy. Unfortunately, this will not exactly leave him a pauper, though will it? Too bad.

      1. His diamond business is separate from Africa-Israel. No one really knows how much that’s worth. The question is will he use that wealth to try to save A-I?

        By contrast, the manager of another institution believes that “the problem is that Africa-Israel has no collateral to give, and so it is clear that dilution will be required here.” The same person also said, “Just postponing debts won’t help. Leviev will have to inject money into the company personally, and the key test for him lies in the mines and private businesses, and there, the unknowns are greater than the knowns.”

        Also: Leader, Leviev’s company that builds Zufim settlement on the farmland of Jayyous village, is not part of Africa-Israel. So he’ll still be an active settlement builder even if he eventually loses AI.

    1. I thought about writing about it as I disagree fundamentally w. Avneri’s analysis (while I admire him deeply for other reasons). But there is so much else to write about lately that this got lost in the shuffle.

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