The protesters at Lev Leviev’s retail chain may be scoring their first real victory: preventing the famed mogul from opening up stores in Dubai.
Since last year, members of Adalah, which calls itself “The Coalition for Justice in the Middle East,” have sporadically picketed Leviev’s chain worldwide, protesting what they see as Leviev’s support for Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank as well as alleged “human rights violations” at his Angolan mines.
Leviev had planned two boutiques in Dubai. But once the controversy surfaced, government officials told the local press that Israeli citizens are not allowed to operate in Dubai, and Leviev does not have a permit to operate there. The group also got UNICEF, the charitable organization, to say it will decline future donations from Leviev.
Leviev’s spokespeople didn’t respond to a request for comment from JCK, but in past press reports they have maintained that the stores will go ahead as planned, and noted Leviev’s support for the Kimberley Process and African charities. In remarks to the Israeli press, Leviev has suggested that “competitors” are behind the protests.
Adalah also targeted actress Susan Sarandon for attending the opening of the Leviev store in New York. Meanwhile, Israel supporter Alan Dershowitz appears to have patronized the store in part because of the protests.