Oxfam welcomes the opportunity to explain the mention of Oxfam America in the new book Hollywood Pin Ups. Two years ago, Oxfam America was approached to be the beneficiary of a future donation from celebrity photographer Timothy White who was creating a book to mark the anniversary of famous images from the past (Esquire's "Vargas Girls"). At some point in the process, Leviev Diamonds offered to provide diamonds for some of the photo shoots, but Oxfam was not aware of this.
Just a few weeks ago, an advocacy group, Adalah-NY, tipped us off to the fact that Lev Leviev was promoting the inclusion of Leviev Diamonds in the book and using this to claim to be an Oxfam supporter. When we received a copy of the book we were able to confirm that both Oxfam and Leviev Diamonds are mentioned in the book: Timothy chose to mention his support of Oxfam America in the forward and he decided to describe our mission on a page at the end. On a different page, Leviev Diamonds is thanked by Timothy for loaning diamonds to the photo shoots.
Given this information, Oxfam immediately acted to reiterate our position to Mr. Leviev and his representatives that he is not an Oxfam supporter or partner and may not claim to be one (which has been our position since January 2008). We also corrected the record in this matter on the Internet.
Although it's true that Oxfam and Leviev Diamonds are both mentioned in this book, Oxfam reiterates our policy that we are not and never will be partners or beneficiaries of Leviev because of both his mining practices and his support of Israeli settlements on Occupied Palestinian Lands which is in contravention of International Law and a major obstacle in the road to peace. We will continue to take steps to educate all the parties involved about the reasons behind our policy and to clarify the issue for the public to the best of our ability. Oxfam is disturbed to find ourselves used in this way and we intend to be proactive in informing those in our community about the deliberate strategy of Leviev Diamonds to connect itself with unwitting charities and celebrities.
Posted on 03-11-2008