Don’t target Hatton Garden, jewellers say

Pro-Palestine demonstrators have organised a protest in London’s Hatton Garden as part of a campaign to boycott Israeli diamonds, which they claim “fund war crimes”.

Diamond traders have raised concerns about the plans by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which call on demonstrators to gather in August to picket the famous London street lined with jewellery shops.

They claim that the Israeli diamond industry is generating revenue for Israel’s military, and that as one of the five major hubs of the global diamond industry, Hatton Garden should be targeted to “educate shoppers and jewellers about the trade in diamonds from Israel that fund war crimes and crimes against humanity”.

But jeweller Jeremy Hartstone, who has five shops in Hatton Garden, said: “I’m very worried that anarchists will try to latch on to anything, especially after what happened at the Ritz [during the demonstrations against government cuts]. I have been distributing the details around other shops and have asked people to contact the council to see if this can be stopped.”

Jason Holts, the Jewish managing director of Holts in Hatton Garden, said: “You have to ask, of all the places they could protest, why are they choosing the jewellery district of Hatton Garden? They are targeting the wrong place. The embassies of Zimbabwe or Sierra Leone would be more appropriate.”

A spokesman from the Israeli Embassy said: “Israel has worked with the international community in clamping down on the suffering caused by blood diamonds, which has led to a much improved situation, across Africa in particular.

“Hijacking this crucial issue shows that these few attention-seekers have less concern for human rights than they do for anti-Israel, politically-motivated stunts.”

All Israeli diamonds are certified by the Kimberley Process, which guarantees them to be “conflict free” and do not finance rebel movements aimed at undermining legitimate governments.

A spokeswoman from the London Diamond Bourse said: “Israel is not a diamond-producing country, it only polishes KP imported goods. All governments, and the United Nations, are satisfied that Israel is a bona fide member of the Kimberley Process, and all goods imported and exported, to and from Israel, certify that they are in compliance with UN resolutions.”

( / 22.07.2011)

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