Why a Call For A Cultural Boycott Of Israel?
In writing you this letter we are urging you to join the Palestinian campaign for a boycott against the State of Israel. Deeply disappointed, indeed, with the dismal failure of the "peace negotiations" and drawing its inspiration from the boycott movement against the former Apartheid regime in South-Africa, a platform of some 170 organisations and movements in Palestinian civil society launched, in 2005, a call for a worldwide boycott action against the state of Israel. By means of this non-violent campaign, they hope to create necessary pressure to make the State of Israel put a definitive halt to its systematic violations of the international rules of law.
We too, Belgian artists and cultural workers, wish to join this global boycott and solidarity campaign.
And we have ample grounds for doing so. The murderous war against the Gaza Strip during the summer of 2014 was to many an eye-opener. "Breaking the Silence", an Israeli organisation of former soldiers, has collected gruesome testimonies by soldiers who were present during the attack; it also accuses Israel of systematic violations of international rules of law. Meanwhile, people in the West Bank are equally subjected, since 1967, to a cruel military occupation, with often lethal violence, humiliating identity checks, arbitrary practices at check-points, demolition of houses, etc. without any political or civil rights. The Palestinian "catastrophy" ("Nakba") of 1947-49 is still persisting, even today.
You may be of the opinion that culture does not have its place within the framework of a boycott action, the arts, music, theatre being messengers of peace and unity over and above all political controversies. Indeed, art implies a critical sense capable of generating discussion and much-needed exchanges within a context of war. But this argument does not take into account the fact that Israel is waging a war on the cultural front as well. On the one hand, the Israeli regime targets Palestinian cultural institutions, it shuts down cultural centres, shackles Palestinian artists in their freedom of movement while, on the other hand, Israel uses culture to spread propaganda ('hasbara') for its settler-colonialist project. Israeli theatre and dance companies perform all over the world as cultural ambassadors to propagate "Brand Israel".
Our campaign does not target individual Israeli artists but aims to boycott cultural institutions of the state of Israel as such.
During the regime of apartheid in South-Africa musicians used to announce they wouldn't sing in "Sun City". We say today : be it in Tel Aviv, Ashkelon or Ariel, we will not go there to play music, to collect awards, to organize exhibitions, to participate in festivals or conferences or to organize master-classes, as long as the Israeli state will not respect international law and does not put an end to the colonial oppression of the Palestinian people.
Finally we want to emphasize that the present campaign is absolutely anti-racist and opposed to any form of antisemitism whatsoever. PS The end of the South African Apartheid regime did not bring with it the destruction of the State of South Africa. In the same way the international BDS campaign does not require the end of the State of Israel, once human rights, democracy and equality for all denizens of historic Palestine (refugees included) are fully realized.
Voor het archief klik hier!
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- "Israel settlers open fire on Palestine homes in West Bank" (Middle East Monitor, September 11, 2021).
- Gideon LEVY: "Yes, the Palestinian Prison Escapees Are Freedom Fighters” (Haaretz, Sept 9, 2021; archive.today).
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- Yuval ABRAHAM: "Joint militias: How settlers and soldiers teamed up to kill four Palestinians” (+972, July 15, 2021).
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- Yumna PATEL: "‘Waging War on Shufat’: Jerusalem municipality demolishes 21 businesses in East Jerusalem refugee camp" (Mondoweiss, Nov 22, 2018).
- Maureen Clare MURPHY: "Israeli soldier executed Gaza teen at close range: witness" (The Electronic Intifada, Oct 13, 2018).
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- "Palestinians Protest Planned Demolition of Khan al-Ahmar" (Telesur, July 28, 2018).
- Yumna PATEL: "Israeli forces kill 15-year-old Palestinian in refugee camp raid" (Mondoweiss, July 23, 2018).
- Amira HASS: "Night raids and attack dogs: For West Bank Palestinians, their homes are not their castles" (Haaretz, June 17, 2018).
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- Gideon LEVY & Alex LEVAC: “Like a Safari: Israeli Troops in Jeeps Hunt a Palestinian Teen and Shoot Him in the Head” (Haaretz, Feb 9, 2018, now freely available via: If Americans Knew).
- Amira HASS: "On the Margins of the Murder”, (Haaretz, Nov 12, 2017): click here!
- "Israeli forces detain 11 Palestinians, including 4 minors, in overnight raids" (Ma'an, March 29, 2017).
- Amira HASS: "Israeli Settlers Kill a Sheep in Latest Escalation in Jordan Valley, Palestinians Say" (Haaretz, Feb 18, 2017).
- "Israel aims to ‘Judaize’ historical Bethlehem village" (Middle East Monitor, Jan 13, 2017).
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- Emily MULDER: "Israeli guard: 'Go from this land or I will kill you'" (Al Jazeera, Dec 26, 2016).
- "A six-year-old Palestinian girl killed after being run over by Israeli settler" (Middle East Children Alliance, 2016).
- Gideon LEVY & Alex LEVAC: "In Some of the Israeli Army's Raids, Leaving Empty-handed Is Not an Option" (Haaretz, Aug 27, 2016).
- "Israeli settlers attack Palestinian girl in Ramallah, stab and kill her sheep" (Ma'an, Aug 5, 2016).
- "Un enfant palestinien [de 12 ans] tué par des soldats israéliens" (Libération, 19 juillet 2016).
- Kit O'CONNELL: "Israel Cutting Palestinians Off From Their Own Water Supply" (MintPress News, June 30, 2016).
- "Israeli Soldiers Kill A Palestinian Child Near Ramallah" (IMEMC, June 21, 2016).
- Edo KONRAD: "Tel Aviv mayor says the occupation is a cause of Palestinian terror" (+972, June 9, 2016).
- "After being shot three days ago by IOF, Palestinian youth dies from injuries" (Palestinian Information Center, June 6, 2016).
- Palestine PMO: Israel’s destruction of Palestinian water infrastructure is atrocious (Palestine News Network, May 26, 2016).
- Again, settlers burn Palestinian farms in West Bank (Days of Palestine, May 16, 2016).
- Michal ZAK: "Third intifada, terror wave, the 'situation': Just don't mention the 'O' word to Israelis" (Middle East Eye, March 13, 2016).
- Jon QUEALLY: "Brother and Sister, Children Aged 10 and 6, Killed by Israeli Bombing in Gaza" (Common Dreams, March 13, 2016).
- Jonathan COOK: "Aid subversion report makes for shocking reading" (The National, March 7, 2016).
- "Palestijns meisje van 13 geëxecuteerd" (alexandrina.nl, 23 jan, 2016).
- "UN decries Abu Nuwar demolitions, calls for immediate end to planned transfers" (Medical Aid for Palestinians, MAP, Jan 20, 2016).
- Julie PUTSEYS: "Palestijnse empowerment op Israëlische scholen." Geen gelijke kansen zonder evenwaardig onderwijs. Zo denkt de Arabisch-Israëlische professor Dalia Fadila er alleszins over. (MO*, 10 Jan 2016).
- Uri SAVIR: "Why solving Israel-Palestine conflict is still key for regional stability" (Al-Monitor, Jan 3, 2016).
- C.J.WERLEMAN: "The road to hell is paved with 'national security'". Israel is turning the West’s fixation on the Islamic State group into an opportunity to expand its apartheid laws and militarisation of the West Bank (Middle East Eye, Jan 1, 2016).
- Mazal MUALEM: "'Hate wedding' video offers glimpse at Jewish terror" (Al-Monitor, Dec 28, 2015).
- Maureen Clare MURPHY: "Catastrophe for Syrians and Palestinians alike in war-ravaged country" (The Electronic Intifada, Dec 23, 2015).
- Shlomi ELDAR: "Why the US is part of Middle East problem, not the solution". Interview with Ayman Odeh (Al-Monitor, Dec 14, 2015).
- Philip WEISS: "Obama’s ISIS czar says we can’t defeat extremism without resolving Palestinian issue" (Mondoweiss, Dec 14, 2015).
- Uri SAVIR: "How the Islamic State hurts Palestinian cause" (Al-Monitor, Dec 6, 2015).
- Al Jazeera: "Gaza's crumbling healthcare system" (Yahoo.com, Dec 8, 2015).
- Nurit CANETTI: "The radicalization of Israel" (Al-Monitor, Dec 2, 2015).
- Kate: "Prominent Israeli settler runs over 16-year-old girl, then shoots her dead" (Mondoweiss, Nov 23, 2015).
- Gideon LEVY: "So These Are Israel's New Heroes?" Israel's recent military operations in Palestinian hospitals are a blatant violation of the Geneva Convention, and make you wonder how low the country can sink (Haaretz, Nov 21, 2015).
- Philip WEISS: "The best way for Americans to defeat the Islamic state is to end support for Jewish nationalism" (Mondoweiss, Nov 15, 2015).
- Ahmed MOOR: "The Problem of Palestine is Zionism" (Fair Observer, Nov 11, 2015).
- Miko PELED: "Zionism is racism: Notes from Tel-Rumeida, Hebron, El-Khalil" (American Herald Tribune, Nov 13, 2015).
- Megan HANNA: "‘It Has Become A Prison’: The ghettoization of Hebron" (Mondoweiss, Nov 11, 2015).
- Avigail ABARBANEL: "Netanyahu’s craziness is calculated, to drive out Palestinians" (Mondoweiss, Nov 5, 2015).
- Michel WARSCHAWSKI: "La jeunesse palestinienne à couteaux tirés avec Israël" (Orient XXI, 15 Oct 2015).
- Kamel HAWWASH: "Palestinians have a problem with occupiers not (with) Jews" (MEMO, Oct 30, 2015).
- "Palestijnse baby vermoord met traangas" (Alexandrina, Oct 31, 2015).
- Ali ABUNIMAH: "Israel’s executions of Palestinian teens must end, Amnesty says" (The Electronic Intifada, Oct 28, 2015).
- Killian REDDEN: "Hebron at eye of the storm as death toll rises" (Ma'an News Agency, Oct 26, 2015).
- "Netanyahu Shamelessly Exploits the Shoah to Stoke Fear of Palestinians" (Jewish Voice for Peace, Oct 21, 2015).
- Amos GVIRTZ: "From Unilateral- to Bilateral War - or: How the Palestinians Fight to Prevent Being Expelled From the Country" (Occupation Magazine, Oct 20, 2015).
- Noam SHEIZAF: "Jerusalem, in context" (+972, October 19, 2015). "The current events in Jerusalem have a political history and context. Attempts to attribute the violence to some kind of Palestinian pathology while ignoring other factors is a recipe for making things worse."
- Meron RAPOPORT: "The paradox of Jerusalem" (Middle East Eye, October 17, 2015).