"Israeli Diamonds… no longer a girl’s best friend"
On Saturday 30th October 2010 the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) held a nationwide awareness-raising day to expose the contamination of the global diamond market with Israeli “blood diamonds” ahead of the annual meeting of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KP) in Jerusalem on November 1st. To launch the Boycott Israeli Blood Diamonds campaign activists from the IPSC in Cork, Galway, Limerick, Wexford and Waterford activists from the IPSC handed out thousands of leaflets and collected petition signatures to while in Dublin, a blood-stained Marilyn Monroe even turned up to endorse the campaign saying "the fact that Israeli diamonds are sold as 'conflict free' means that diamonds can no longer be considered a girl's best friend!"
Outlining the rationale for the actions, IPSC National Chairperson Freda Hughes said: “Israel is the world’s top diamond exporter with exports worth over $19 billion in 2008, accounting for over 30% of Israeli exports. Recent investigations by the UN have concluded that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2008/09 and during the attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla earlier this year, while the brutal occupation of Palestinian land by Israel continues. The Israeli state which oversees these crimes and the military which carries them out are funded by revenue from these same diamond exports. In the view of the IPSC and the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC) this Israeli diamonds should be unequivocally categorised as blood diamonds.”
The Kimberley Process is supposed to prevent the trade in “blood” or “conflict” diamonds. However, the KP stipulates that only “rough diamonds used by rebel movements” can be categorised as conflict diamonds – therefore it regards all other diamonds as “conflict free” regardless of what human rights violations they are funding. According to Israeli economist Shir Hever: “The diamonds industry helps Israel fund its war machine, which is used on a daily basis against defenceless civilians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, to the tune of approximately $1 billion annually.”
Ms Hughes continued: “The IPSC is highlighting this important ethical issue, and have started a campaign aimed at pushing the Kimberley Process to widen its definition of conflict diamonds to include all diamonds that fund human rights – be they polished or unpolished diamonds, or used by state or non-state actors. Without such a definition, the KP is merely a charade aimed at fooling consumers into thinking that they are making ethical purchases.”
Ms Hughes concluded: “EU law provides for adequate and proper labelling of food produce, whereby the origin and country of manufacture of all food products is mandatory. When it comes to diamonds the European consumer is not being provided with the most basic labelling information. Consumers are being denied their statutory right to make informed choices with regard to diamonds and as a result jewellers, knowingly or unknowingly, are selling Israeli blood diamonds and misinforming customers by declaring they are “conflict free” diamonds.”
As the European Union is a member of the Kimberly Process, the IPSC has written to, and received positive responses from, Irish MEPs on this matter. The IPSC has also written to the Retail Jewellers of Ireland urging their support for a review of the KP.