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Objects of Desire

Israeli diamonds are forever … on your conscience.

In recent years the romantic image of diamonds as objects of desire has been tarnished by bloody conflicts in central Africa that are often funded by the trade of locally mined gems. Human rights organizations have begun a campaign against “conflict diamonds,” or “blood diamonds,” and the ensuing global attention has forced the diamond industry to take action against the trade. The Kimberley Process, introduced in a 2003 UN resolution, is a certification scheme designed to prevent rough diamonds used to fund conflict from entering the market. But the process operates with a very narrow definition of conflict diamonds. Cut and polished diamonds, regardless of what bloody conflicts they may fund, do not qualify for regulation under the Kimberley Process. Israel’s blood diamonds, therefore, are kosher.

Israel is the world’s largest producer of cut and polished diamonds. In 2006 diamond exports worth $16.7 billion accounted for a significant portion of the country’s total manufacturing exports. (The importance of the diamond industry to the Israeli economy can best be appreciated when one considers that the budget of the Israeli Ministry of Defense in 2008 was $13 billion.) Because cut and polished diamonds are not regulated by the Kimberley Process, jewelers continue to sell Israeli diamonds to consumers who are, for the most part, completely unaware that the gems were crafted in Israel – where taxes from the diamond industry are used to fund the illegal occupation of Palestinian land and the brutal subjugation of the Palestinian people.

Despite the fact that Israeli diamonds are feeding Israel’s war machine, the Kimberley Process has yet to broaden its definition of conflict diamonds. Furthermore, the international campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions for Palestine (BDS) has failed to speak out against this major revenue source. Efforts have been made in Ireland to raise public awareness through the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), which has called on the Kimberley Process to expand its definition of conflict diamonds. The IPSC has lobbied the diamond industry to laser-inscribe all gems with their country of origin, which will allow consumers to choose diamonds from countries that respect human rights.

Because the international community – Western governments in particular – has long failed to protect innocent Palestinian civilians from constant attacks by the Israeli military, it’s imperative that the concerned citizens of the world take action in defense of Palestinians’ human rights. Rejecting Israeli blood diamonds is the most effective means of sanction available to civil society. Diamond exports significantly outperform all other Israeli export commodities, making the gleaming rock Israel’s Achilles heel. The country’s overdependence on a single luxury commodity leaves its economy vulnerable to trends and public taste. And unlike other Israeli exports – technology, software and armaments – diamonds are purchased by individual consumers, not companies or governments. When buying a diamond, each individual consumer has the power to withhold the money that powers the Israeli war machine. By choosing a stone that is truly conflict free, consumers will diminish funding for Israeli crimes against humanity – in Palestine and beyond. Israeli diamonds are forever … on your conscience.

–Sean Clinton

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98 comments on the article “Objects of Desire”

Displaying 71 - 80 of 98

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ITBT

The catch-phrase has been for a long time, "never forget". Not surprising, then, that we see Israeli actions toward Palestinians more and more reflect the horror of the Nazi past. That's how it works.

Couple that with outright expansionist land-greed, and it is hard to see how things can be expected to go in any direction than they have.

The blood-diamond trade is only the latest in a long series of actions by Israel, if done by any other nation-state, would earn it pariah status as a "rogue state".

It is long past time to separate opposition to Israel from antisemitism. I'm not anti-Jew or anti-Jewish culture, or the like, but I AM, increasingly, anti-Israel.

ITBT

The catch-phrase has been for a long time, "never forget". Not surprising, then, that we see Israeli actions toward Palestinians more and more reflect the horror of the Nazi past. That's how it works.

Couple that with outright expansionist land-greed, and it is hard to see how things can be expected to go in any direction than they have.

The blood-diamond trade is only the latest in a long series of actions by Israel, if done by any other nation-state, would earn it pariah status as a "rogue state".

It is long past time to separate opposition to Israel from antisemitism. I'm not anti-Jew or anti-Jewish culture, or the like, but I AM, increasingly, anti-Israel.

Levine

Bearing in mind that Israel is a nation of people of all creed, religion and race, but predominantly Jewish, I really do admire the way you end your argument by stating emphatically and specially that you are not "anti-Jew" or "anti-Jewish culture".

If I said, I was not 'anti-American' or 'anti-American culture' BUT I was increasingly 'anti-America' ... you would probably go like 'What???'.
So my question is simply this... what are you trying to say??

And seriously - "outright expansionist land-greed"?? Have you heard about what happened to the Native Americans? ... and of course whats happened since then? Its not like "outright expansionist land-greed" has diminished.

Levine

Bearing in mind that Israel is a nation of people of all creed, religion and race, but predominantly Jewish, I really do admire the way you end your argument by stating emphatically and specially that you are not "anti-Jew" or "anti-Jewish culture".

If I said, I was not 'anti-American' or 'anti-American culture' BUT I was increasingly 'anti-America' ... you would probably go like 'What???'.
So my question is simply this... what are you trying to say??

And seriously - "outright expansionist land-greed"?? Have you heard about what happened to the Native Americans? ... and of course whats happened since then? Its not like "outright expansionist land-greed" has diminished.

Adam S - Diamon...

This is such a poorly written and factually incorrect piece of anti semitic literature, it hardly warrants an answer, except to educate the readers who will be taken in by this drivel.

As a person intimately involved in the Kimberly Process and diamond industry since its inception, I am far better positioned to understand what it has brought the industry and consumer in terms of protection.

1. Rough diamonds are exported from Africa with certificates to many diamond manufacturing countries other than Israel.
2. Israel barely manufacturers diamonds any longer as it is not financially viable. The majority of stones are today cut in India, so your facts are incorrect.
3. The Israeli government makes a minimum amount of revenue from diamond taxes, due to the low volume actually manufactured in Israel today and the fact that taxes on diamonds are capped at a couple of percent. Hardly sufficient to use explicitly for "feeding the war machine" (which is itself a questionable statement you make.

Get your facts correct and if you are going to attempt to indulge in intelligent , open and honest discussions, make sure you are open, honest, factually correct.

This is clearly just a platform for you to brainwash people and vent your anti-semitic opinion.

I'm sure the majority of educated consumers out there will see it just for that.

Adam S - Diamon...

This is such a poorly written and factually incorrect piece of anti semitic literature, it hardly warrants an answer, except to educate the readers who will be taken in by this drivel.

As a person intimately involved in the Kimberly Process and diamond industry since its inception, I am far better positioned to understand what it has brought the industry and consumer in terms of protection.

1. Rough diamonds are exported from Africa with certificates to many diamond manufacturing countries other than Israel.
2. Israel barely manufacturers diamonds any longer as it is not financially viable. The majority of stones are today cut in India, so your facts are incorrect.
3. The Israeli government makes a minimum amount of revenue from diamond taxes, due to the low volume actually manufactured in Israel today and the fact that taxes on diamonds are capped at a couple of percent. Hardly sufficient to use explicitly for "feeding the war machine" (which is itself a questionable statement you make.

Get your facts correct and if you are going to attempt to indulge in intelligent , open and honest discussions, make sure you are open, honest, factually correct.

This is clearly just a platform for you to brainwash people and vent your anti-semitic opinion.

I'm sure the majority of educated consumers out there will see it just for that.

Sean Clinton

Adam, if you are going to engage in this discussion and represent yourself as someone “intimately involved in the Kimberly Process and diamond industry” then it hardly behooves you to make libelous accusations about anti-Semitism (which I utterly reject). The label anti-Semitic has unfortunately become the oft repeated slur of those who wish to distract attention from uncomfortable facts about the Zionist project in Palestine. Furthermore, if as stated your motivation for engagement was “to educate the readers” then you need to back up your opinions with referenced facts. But as you have not identified yourself or the organisation you claim to represent, you can not be taken seriously and must be viewed as someone seeking to protect a vested interest.

Your assertion that “Israel barely manufactures diamonds any longer” is a desperate attempt to distance the diamond industry from the contamination of being intimately associated with a state that has an appalling record of gross human rights abuse and stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Anyone wishing to research the extent of Israel’s involvement in the diamond industry can easily and quickly find ample evidence on-line about Israel’s dominant position in the industry. For a quick introduction I refer readers to a referenced article I published a few months ago at http://www.indymedia.ie/article/95081

Until such time as the Kimberly Process broadens the definition of “conflict” or “blood diamonds” to include cut and polished diamonds that fund human rights abuses it will lack credibility and be regarded by many as another mechanism to protect and sustain the monopoly of the diamond cartel.

Sean Clinton

Adam, if you are going to engage in this discussion and represent yourself as someone “intimately involved in the Kimberly Process and diamond industry” then it hardly behooves you to make libelous accusations about anti-Semitism (which I utterly reject). The label anti-Semitic has unfortunately become the oft repeated slur of those who wish to distract attention from uncomfortable facts about the Zionist project in Palestine. Furthermore, if as stated your motivation for engagement was “to educate the readers” then you need to back up your opinions with referenced facts. But as you have not identified yourself or the organisation you claim to represent, you can not be taken seriously and must be viewed as someone seeking to protect a vested interest.

Your assertion that “Israel barely manufactures diamonds any longer” is a desperate attempt to distance the diamond industry from the contamination of being intimately associated with a state that has an appalling record of gross human rights abuse and stands accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Anyone wishing to research the extent of Israel’s involvement in the diamond industry can easily and quickly find ample evidence on-line about Israel’s dominant position in the industry. For a quick introduction I refer readers to a referenced article I published a few months ago at http://www.indymedia.ie/article/95081

Until such time as the Kimberly Process broadens the definition of “conflict” or “blood diamonds” to include cut and polished diamonds that fund human rights abuses it will lack credibility and be regarded by many as another mechanism to protect and sustain the monopoly of the diamond cartel.

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