Dubai, jewel in Israel’s sales crown

Lev Leviev's, "Levant" diamond store at Dubai's Atlantis Hotel

Guess where you have to go to buy yourself some blood diamonds these days? Adalah NY has been drawing attention to this for some time. Where International NGOs and Western consumers have been distancing themselves from Lev Levive’s blood diamonds, the Arab ‘brethren’ of the Gulf have been siphoning their petrodollars for settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories through his Levant stores. On the Le Monde Diplomatique blog Alain Gresh writes:

With the exception of Egypt, all Arab states officially boycott Israel, blacklist Israeli companies and ban imports of Israeli products. The same countries frequently lead the voices calling for sanctions against Israel. But sometimes life gets in the way.

Just a few weeks after the world financial crisis broke, a super-luxury hotel, the Atlantis, opened its doors in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The French chatter website LePost.fr of 21 November 2008 trumpeted the headline: “2000 stars at the inauguration of Dubai’s Atlantis Hotel”. It wrote:

“Dubai, Dubai, Dubai! Arab princes, flying carpets, oil, dollars… and the Atlantis Hotel! An extraordinary palace, which cost more than $1.9bn to create, celebrated its opening yesterday in high style.

“This little junket cost a trifling $38m! That’s what it took to tell the entire world about the arrival of a luxury hotel which sees itself as the planet’s most incredible palace, with its giant in-house aquarium…

“The Atlantis is at the heart of Dubai’s Palm Island, an artificial island built in the shape of a palm tree. The world’s greatest architects and designers worked on the Pharaonic project.”

Read the rest of the post here.

Author: Idrees Ahmad

I am a Lecturer in Digital Journalism at the University of Stirling and a former research fellow at the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies. I am the author of The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War (Edinburgh University Press, 2014). I write for The Observer, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Al Jazeera, Dissent, The National, VICE News, Huffington Post, In These Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), Adbusters, Guernica, London Review of Books (Blog), The New Arab, Bella Caledonia, Asia Times, IPS News, Medium, Political Insight, The Drouth, Canadian Dimension, Tanqeed, Variant, etc. I have appeared as an on-air analyst on Al Jazeera, the BBC, TRT World, RAI TV, Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon, Alternative Radio with David Barsamian and several Pacifica Radio channels.

One thought on “Dubai, jewel in Israel’s sales crown”

  1. Diamond sales account for a substantial anount of Isreali exports ( at least 20%) and if you include other precious gems may rise to near 30%.

    This is why statistics of GDP per capita are skewed in that the Diamond industry is a minor employer , but massive earner.

    One of the reasons Israel is a hub of the diamond market is that they have a low threshold of asking the source of diamonds as far as war gems is concerned and therefore is type of trade is outside the rule of international law that places like Europe and the US would be liable to.

    Very few diamonds sold anywhere is the Arab world are not ultimately processed in Israel.

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