Artists send boycott valentine to Palestine

In a February 13 letter to Britain’s Guardian newspaper over 100 artists announce a cultural boycott of Israel

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Along with more than 600 other fellow artists, we are announcing today that we will not engage in business-as-usual cultural relations with Israel. We will accept neither professional invitations to Israel, nor funding, from any institutions linked to its government. Since the summer war on Gaza, Palestinians have enjoyed no respite from Israel’s unrelenting attack on their land, their livelihood, their right to political existence. “2014,” says the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, was “one of the cruellest and deadliest in the history of the occupation.” The Palestinian catastrophe goes on.

Israel’s wars are fought on the cultural front too. Its army targets Palestinian cultural institutions for attack, and prevents the free movement of cultural workers. Its own theatre companies perform to settler audiences on the West Bank – and those same companies tour the globe as cultural diplomats, in support of “Brand Israel”. During South African apartheid, musicians announced they weren’t going to “play Sun City”. Now we are saying, in Tel Aviv, Netanya, Ashkelon or Ariel, we won’t play music, accept awards, attend exhibitions, festivals or conferences, run masterclasses or workshops, until Israel respects international law and ends its colonial oppression of the Palestinians. To see the full list of supporters, go to artistsforpalestine.org.uk

Peter Kosminsky, Mike Leigh, Jimmy McGovern, Phyllida Lloyd, Max Stafford-Clark, Will Alsop OBE, John Berger, Miriam Margolyes, Maggie Steed, Riz Ahmed, Anna Carteret, Jeremy Hardy, Brian Eno, Richard Ashcroft, Gillian Slovo, China Miéville, Aminatta Forna, Hari Kunzru, Liz Lochhead, Hanan Al-Shaykh, Peter Ahrends, David Calder, Caryl Churchill, Sacha Craddock, Selma Dabbagh, Ken Loach, Roger Michell, April De Angelis, Andy de la Tour, Mike Hodges, Rachel Holmes, Ann Jungman, Kika Markham, Simon McBurney, Andrew O’Hagan, Courttia Newland, Michael Radford, Lynne Reid Banks, Kamila Shamsie, Alexei Sayle, Roger Waters, Mark Thomas, Susan Wooldridge, Laura Mulvey, Pauline Melville, Khalid Abdalla, Bidisha, Nicholas Blincoe, Leah Borrromeo, Haim Bresheeth, Victoria Brittain, Niall Buggy, Tam Dean Burn, Jonathan Burrows, Taghrid Choucair-Vizoso, Ian Christie, Liam Cunningham, Ivor Dembina, Shane Dempsey, Patrick Driver, Okin Earl, Leon Rosselson, Sally El Hosaini, Paul Laverty, Eyal Sivan, John Smith, Mitra Tabrizian, Siobhan Redmond, Ian Rickson, Tom Leonard, Sonja Linden, David Mabb, Rose Issa, Gareth Evans, Alisa Lebow, Annie Firbank, James Floyd, Jane Frere, Kadija George, Bob Giles, Mel Gooding, Tony Graham, Penny Woolcock, Omar Robert Hamilton, James Holcombe, Adrian Hornsby, John Keane, Brigid Keenan, Hannah Khalil, Shahid Khan, Sabrina Mahfouz, Sarah McDade, Jonathan Munby, Lizzie Nunnery, Rebecca O’Brien, Timothy Pottier, Maha Rahwanji, Ravinder Randhawa, Leila Sansour, Seni Seneviratne, Anna Sherbany, Eyal Sivan, Kareem Samara, Cat Villiers, Esther Wilson, Emily Young, Andrea Luka Zimmerman, Jeremy Page, Sarah Streatfeild, Colin Darke, Russell Mills, Elaine Di Campo, Treasa O’Brien

In May 2013 Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned scientist and bestselling author who has had motor neurone disease for 50 years, cancelled his appearance at the high-profile Presidential Conference, which is personally sponsored by Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, after a barrage of appeals from Palestinian academics.

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Daniel Taub, the Israeli ambassador to London, said at that time “It is a great shame that Professor Hawking has withdrawn from the president’s conference … Rather than caving into pressure from political extremists, active participation in such events is a far more constructive way to promote progress and peace.

Yeah, great film makers like Mike Leigh (Mr Turner his latest) and Ken Loach are political extremists.More like artists of integrity and men of conscience.

Unlike poor Marty Short, Hamilton’s own comic actoir who actually appeared at the annual Negev Dinner in November. Somebody should bring Short, by all accounts a decent man up to speed on the Jewish National Fund on whose behest he appeared then.

Did not Short realize that the the JNF is a quasi- governmental organization which practices racial discrimination in the buying and selling of land in Israel/palestine. Palestinians need not apply.Try that in Toronto and you’d be hauled into court. We used to have racist covenants like that but common sense, the rights of citizenship and plain old human dignity ushered such discrimination into the Canadian waste bin.A 1998 United Nations Human Rights Council report found that the JNF systematically discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up about 20 percent of the country’s population.

Well, Bravo for those cultural workers for their principled stand, a nice Valentine gift to the people of Palestine.

1 Comment »

  1. 1
    mushafta Says:

    Thos great story needs to be on the front page of every western newspaper!
    Thanks for digging it up Ted!


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