Israel is one of the world’s leading producers of cut and polished diamonds. It imports rough diamonds, increases their value by cutting and polishing, and then exports them globally via hubs in London, Antwerp, Hong Kong, New York and Mumbai.
Diamonds are Israel's top trading commodity, accounting for up to 30% of Israel's exports and some 12% of Israel's imports over the past decade. In 2016 Israel’s net export of diamonds was worth US$8.9 billion - 21% of Israel’s total exports - making it Israel’s top export industry.
The Israeli economy is heavily reliant on exports - and diamonds are Israel’s most important manufacturing export commodity. Israel's gross exports of diamonds are worth over three times that of its electronics, arms or pharmaceuticals exports.
#Israeliblooddiamonds #blooddiamonds #conflictdiamonds #BDS
Bankrolling the illegal Israeli military occupation of the palestinian territories
Every year, consumers the world over unwittingly spend billions of dollars on diamonds crafted in Israel, thereby helping to fund one of the world’s most protracted and contentious conflicts. Most people are unaware that Israel is one of the world’s leading producers of cut and polished diamonds. As diamonds are normally not hallmarked, consumers cannot distinguish an Israeli diamond from one crafted in India, Belgium, South Africa or elsewhere. Thus consumers do not realise that diamonds sold in jewellers worldwide are bankrolling Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories (West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip):
"Overall the Israeli diamond industry contributes about $1 billion annually to the Israeli military and security industries… every time somebody buys a diamond that was exported from Israel some of that money ends up in the Israeli military." - Evidence given by Israeli economist Shir Hever, Russell Tribunal, November 2010.
the Kimberley Process
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is a system of self-regulation established in 2003 to stem the flow in diamonds that were funding bloody civil wars in parts of Africa – Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia. The Kimberley Process (KP) introduced the term 'conflict diamonds':
Kimberley Process definition of 'conflict diamonds': "rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance armed conflicts aimed at undermining legitimate governments."
This narrow definition allows diamonds that fund human rights violations by government forces to evade the regulations completely. For example: in 2008 government forces in Zimbabwe reportedly killed 200 miners in the Marange diamond fields area; however, as government forces were responsible for the violence, Zimbabwe's diamonds from the Marange mine could not be described as 'conflict diamonds' under the KP definition and, after monitoring the mine, the KPCS approved the sale of Zimbabwe's diamonds on the international market in 2010.
A proposal from the World Diamond Council to broaden the KP definition of a 'conflict diamond' to include diamonds associated with human rights violations in other sectors of the supply pipeline, including cutting and polishing centres, was blocked by the president of the Israeli Diamond Exchange, Shmuel Schnitzer, who said “it could be disastrous for Israel.”
By limiting the scope of the KP to conflict diamonds and rebel violence, vested interests in the diamond industry ensured that diamonds which generate significant revenue streams for regimes with notorious human rights records are allowed to legally enter the diamond market. Through the introduction of a 'System of Warranties' diamond dealers self-certify these diamonds as 'conflict-free' simply by providing a written statement to that effect on each sales invoice. There is no independent third party scrutiny of this system.
"The diamond industry trumpets loudly and consistently the benefits of the Kimberley Process, but no one should be fooled by this diversionary tactic which blinds consumers and journalists alike to the ongoing trade in blood diamonds. Such diamonds from Africa are mostly uncut rough diamonds but their bloody history doesn’t end there. As they move along the supply pipe, through grading and polishing centres, to the high value retail end, many of them are processed in Israel where they generate revenue for another rogue regime, one which ranks among the world’s worst human rights offenders. African blood diamonds thus go on to fund a second wave of bloodshed and violence in occupied Palestine. However, the jewellery industry and NGOs turn a blind eye to these super blood gems." - Sean Clinton, Middle East Monitor, 29 Nov 2015.
There are currently some 81 countries participating in the Kimberley Process, including such 'rogue regimes' as Angola, Zimbabwe and Israel.
millennials want responsibly sourced diamonds
"Millennials spent nearly US$26 billion on diamond jewellery in the four main markets last year, acquiring more than any other generation." - Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group
Research by The De Beers Group in 2016 noted some evolving consumer trends for the diamond industry. Importantly, the research identified that the younger 'millennial' generation are three times more likely to emphasise ethical considerations in their purchasing decisions. The research found that "Responsible sourcing of diamonds is of high importance to more than a fifth (21 per cent) of US diamond engagement ring acquirers in 2015" [pg.19].
Furthermore, the report noted [pg.44, emphasis added]:
"Millennials’ high degree of connectivity with peers and other groups finds an expression in heightened social concerns, such as balancing inequalities around the world and making the world a better place through joint efforts of all of society. In relation to diamonds, these concerns take on the form of raised awareness and preference for responsibly sourced diamonds."
#Israeliblooddiamonds #blooddiamonds #conflictdiamonds #BDS
Australia chairs the Kimberley Process in 2017
In 2017 Australia is chairing the international diamond regulatory body, the Kimberley Process Certifications Scheme, which regulates the trade in rough diamonds.
The Kimberley Process is holding two meetings in Australia in 2017. The first meeting was held in Perth in May; the second meeting is expected towards the end of the year (date not yet publicly disclosed).
Thus, as Australians - and with our other concerned international friends - we take this opportunity to raise awareness about the double standards of the diamond industry and its refusal to broaden the KP definition of a 'conflict diamond' to include diamonds that fund human rights violations by government forces.
At the first KP Intersessional Meeting in Perth on 1 May 2017, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop noted:
"...We know that for a very long time consumers, buyers, have focused on the 4 Cs – Carat, Clarity, Colour and Cut. I believe that these days there’s a fifth C, and that’s Conscience. According to De Beers research last year, the Millenials are three times more likely than older buyers to avoid diamonds unless they have complete confidence that they have been responsibly sourced. ...I trust that you have a productive meeting, that you remember why the Kimberley Process was established in the first place...ensuring that the global diamond trade remains full of integrity, efficacy and responsible, ethical practices."
We agree, Minister!
We, too, want to see a global diamond industry of 'integrity, efficacy and responsible, ethical practices.'
We want responsibly sourced diamonds free from the blood of both rebel violence and state-based government violence.
#Israeliblooddiamonds #blooddiamonds #conflictdiamonds #BDS
The Kimberley Process to regulate 'conflict diamonds' is flawed until it addresses conflict in ALL its forms - that by non-state 'rebel movements', plus that by State-based government forces.
If the aim of the Kimberley Process is to ensure that the diamond industry does not 'finance armed conflict', then a legitimate process would look at ALL forms of armed conflict and human rights abuses within an independently-monitored regulatory system.
We ask Australia, as 2017 Chair of the Kimberley Process, to take principled leadership on - as our Foreign Minister has said - "ensuring that the global diamond trade remains full of integrity, efficacy and responsible, ethical practices."
We ask Australia, as 2017 Chair of the Kimberley Process, to:
- Broaden the definition of 'conflict diamonds' to include human rights violations by State-based government forces.
- Ensure due diligence of the Kimberley Process by independent third party audits of the diamond supply chain.
Thank you for taking the time to participate in this campaign.
Over 330 people from around the world sent emails to the Australian Foreign Minister to say "I'm counting on you to ensure an ethical Kimberley Process!"
The European Union will chair the KPCS in 2018.
Keep yourself updated on this international campaign via the facebook page @Israelblooddiamonds.
Thank you to the hundreds of concerned citizens from around the world who gave two minutes of your time for Palestine.
Your support for this campaign has ensured a strong, independent, global voice – your voice – is working towards peace and justice for the Palestinian people.
Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA), South Australia, www.afopa.com.au
GLOBAL WITNESS - Zimbabwe
25 AUG 2017, Signet Jewelers Agrees to Buy Israel’s R2Net for $328m - Operating under the name JamesAllen.com, U.S.-Israeli company is among world’s biggest online jeweler retailers, Haaretz
06 FEB 2017, Blood Diamonds: How army killed my brother, Zimbabwe Independent
09 DEC 2016, Blood Diamonds: More than One Fifth of Diamonds Sold Worldwide are Funding Bloodshed and Violence, Global Research
01 OCT 2016, Blood Diamonds, Diesel Fumes and Politics as Usual, Huffington Post
16 JUN 2016, Machete Torture: More human rights abuses in diamond-rich region, Maka Angola
21 JAN 2016, Questions raised after Tiffany’s dropped from ‘Responsible Business Summit’, Mondoweiss
15 JAN 2016, How the global jewellery industry is funding Israeli crimes, Middle East Monitor
18 DEC 2015, Tiffany’s continues to feel the heat over connection to IDF unit accused of war crimes, Mondoweiss
08 DEC 2015, Blood Diamonds: Tiffany’s supplier funds IDF unit accused of war crimes – An Open Letter to Tiffany’s Chairman, CEO, Chief Sustainability Officer and Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, Mondoweiss
29 NOV 2015, Tiffany’s supplier funds IDF unit accused of war crimes: jewellery industry awash with blood diamonds, Middle East Monitor
18 OCT 2015, Israel’s “Blood Diamonds”: When a Diamond is Forever . . . on Your Conscience, Global Research
29 MAY 2015, Angolan journalist given suspended jail term over blood diamonds book, The Guardian
03 SEP 2014, Genocide in Gaza – The Silence of the Jewellery Industry is Deafening and Telling, London Progressive Journal
31 AUG 2014, Three Palestinians killed as jewellers search for bargains, OpEdNews
22 JUL 2014, “Blood Diamonds” Financing War Crimes in Gaza. President of London Diamond Bourse: “We Must ‘Finish the Job’”, Global Research
09 JUL 2014, Israel’s “Blood Diamonds” Boost Jeweller Profits as Gaza Bleeds, Global Research
16 JUN 2014, Israel’s Cut and Polished Diamonds Are Not a Girl’s Best Friend, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
18 APR 2014, $83 million diamond default: Sotheby's and Israeli war crimes, Middle East Moniror
20 DEC 2013, “Blood Diamonds” and Israel’s Diamond Export Industry, Global Research
22 NOV 2013, Kimberley Process meeting fails to redefine 'blood diamonds', DW
23 OCT 2013, A Response to Brilliant Earth’s ‘Unethical Diamond Mining Infographic’, EcoPost
23 AUG 2013, Express delivery for Israel’s war diamonds, The Electronic Intifada
02 JUL 2013, Are Sotheby’s Steinmetz diamonds blood diamonds?, OpEdNews
16 MAY 2013, Israeli blood diamond agreement scuppered by BDS activists, OpEdNews
13 MAY 2013, Why The Kimberley Certification Process For “Conflict Free Diamonds” Must Be Abandoned Part One and Part Two, CSRwire
09 APR 2013, Israeli Authorities drop a major fraud investigation to protect the Israeli Diamond Industry, OpEdNews
21 FEB 2013, Hollywood blinded by the Bling - Diamonds are for Never, OpEdNews
10 JAN 2013, Diamond industry spin conceals on-going trade in Blood Diamonds, OpEdNews
09 DEC 2012, Blood Diamonds - Fresh Graves in Gaza, OpEdNews
27 OCT 2012, Israel’s greatest fear - its diamond trade exposed, OpEdNews
30 MAY 2012, Israel's blood diamonds: Why the free pass from regulators and civil society?, rabble.ca
03 MAY 2012, Are diamonds Israel’s best friend?, The Electronic Intifada
05 DEC 2011, Global Witness quits blood diamond scheme, DW
23 JUN 2011, The diamond industry’s double-standard on Israel, The Electronic Intifada
10 DEC 2010, Zimbabwe's 'Blood Diamonds' exposed by Wikileaks cable, The Telegraph (UK)
29 MAR 2010, Israel's blood diamonds, The Electronic Intifada
28 JAN 2007, Avocados, Diamonds at Core of Israel Boycott Trade Campaign, The Electronic Intifada