Blue Nile, a Nasdaq listed company and one of the world's leading online diamond retailers has resorted to censorship in an effort to avoid answering queries about the provenance of its so-called conflict free diamonds.
Blue Nile promotes itself as a supplier of “ethically sourced” diamonds and claims to have a zero-tolerance policy towards conflict diamonds. According to the company “All Blue Nile diamonds are warranted to be conflict free”. The company promotes itself on Facebook where it has over 90,000 very active subscribers www.facebook.com/bluenile.
Despite this, for the past four months the company has been resorting to censorship on its Facebook page and blocking subscribers who asked if any of Blue Nile’s diamonds are cut and polished in Israel where the military stands accused of war crimes and other serious human rights violations. According to evidence given to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine by Israeli economist and author, Shir Hever, revenue from the Israeli diamond industry provides about $1 billion annually in funding for the Israeli military/security industry. http://tinyurl.com/russelltribunal
People asked whether or not Blue Nile was selling diamonds crafted in Israel as conflict free diamonds and how this can be justified given the facts outlined above. The company deleted all such queries without answering the question and blocked scores of people from viewing their page. However, as more and more people, many of them from Ireland, continued to post questions on their Wall the company blocked everyone with an Irish internet address from accessing their page.
Last week an number of people from Australia and other countries worldwide posted questions on the company’s Facebook page and once again Blue Nile deleted the questions and blocked them, but this time they also blocked all of their 90,000 subscribers from posting new threads or pictures on their wall. This is a very significant move in this a peak sales period in the run up to Valentine’s Day. It demonstrates how sensitive the company is to revealing where its diamonds are cut and polished.
The failure of the company to state whether or not is selling diamonds crafted in Israel and the fact that it has employed censorship measures normally only associated with regimes such as the Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt, strongly suggests the company has something to hide.
If Blue Nile is selling what are de facto Israeli blood diamonds then the public have a right to know. Shir Hever stated “every time somebody buys a diamond that was exported from Israel some of that money ends up in the Israeli military so the financial connection is quite clear". Consumers have a rights to know if they purchase a diamonmd whether or not they are funding the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and gross human rights violations including war crimes.