The idea for the Dec. 3–5 event came when Israeli Diamond Exchange managing director Moti Besser was talking to DDC president Reuven Kaufman at October’s World Diamond Congress in Mumbai. They eventually decided to bring a group of Israeli diamantaires to the United States and subsidize their hotel costs and other expenses.
“Normally the cost to find new customers is very high,” says Israeli Diamond Exchange senior vice president Motti Fluk. “But this makes it very low-cost. Insurance is cheaper, shipping is cheaper.”
Initially only 20 companies were expected, but 100 dealers, representing 50 companies, attended. Kaufman says Israel Week will now be held annually.
Among the attendees at an evening reception on the second day was New York City public advocate (and possible mayoral candidate) Bill de Blasio, who hailed the diamond business as a “quintessential New York industry.”
Kimberley Process: Gridlock and Progress
The Kimberley Process’ November 2012 Plenary in Washington, D.C., approved its first-ever administrative support mechanism—a long-sought goal of reformers—but deadlocked on a proposal to broaden the definition of conflict diamonds.
Members of the Civil Society Coalition and U.S. State Department wanted the term to include diamonds produced in violent conditions. That would mean diamonds directly associated with human rights abuses could be blocked from global gem markets. The World Diamond Council also endorsed the change. To adopt a resolution, however, the Kimberley Process requires absolute consensus from the 79 participating countries—and even chairwoman Gillian Milovanovic had admitted that was unlikely.
“It’s a change in philosophy,” WDC president Eli Izhakoff tells JCK. “It’s governments allowing criticisms of themselves. That is revolutionary.” Civil Society Coalition rep Alan Martin, research director of Partnership Africa Canada, said the certification scheme notched “small victories,” but the Coalition was disappointed by lack of progress over a definition change.
South Africa helms the process in 2013, with China as vice chair.