Blood Diamonds

In: Social Issues

Submitted By wardiamonds
Words 336
Pages 2
All too aware of how bad association with war crimes is for business, the diamond industry has taken pains to evade questions about its connections with Israel’s human rights abuses — and so far has escaped scrutiny from watchdog organizations.

Representatives for 75 countries affiliated to the United Nations-based Kimberley Process Certification Scheme meeting in Kinshasa this week failed to reach agreement on the export of blood-stained diamonds from Zimbabwe. The elephant in the room was Israel’s burgeoning diamond exports which evade the human rights strictures imposed on Zimbabwe’s diamond exports.

A “letter of the month” that I authored and which was published in the April edition of Retail Jeweller magazine exposes these double standards in the Kimberley Process regulations that facilitate the trade in blood-stained diamonds from Israel and Zimbabwe (Letters, Retail Jeweller Magazine, April 2011).

The letter caused “consternation” to some in the diamond industry and resulted in the withdrawal of the magazine from a major jewellery trade fair in Switzerland (“Gems editor sorry for ‘blood diamond’ boycott letter,” The Jewish Chronicle, 7 April 2011).

The letter drew the wrath of vested interests and leaders of the Israeli diamond industry. Their response via the Letters page in the May edition of the magazine demonstrated the sensitivity of the global diamond industry to any exposure of the links between Israeli diamonds and Israeli war crimes.

Three letters, signed by six prominent members of the global diamond industry, representing eight different organizations, all repeated the same mantra about the delegitimization of Israel. The writers ignored the key issue — that Israel’s cut and polished diamond exports evade the human rights strictures applying to exports of rough diamonds.

While the diamond industry continues to promote a soft-focus…...

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