Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tricky: Cancel your apartheid Israel Gig, recognize BDS!

Dear Tricky (Adrian Thaws),
We recently heard you and your band plan to play in Israel on 26 February this year.  Your planned gig comes a few months after Israel embarked on a murderous 50 day attack on the Palestinian people living in Gaza.  Israel’s misleadingly termed ‘Operation Protective Edge’ killed over 2,200 people (including over 510 children) and maimed 10,000 more, left thousands homeless and caused the obliteration of 89 entire families.   The devastation in Gaza is catastrophic and, as this is the third major assault on the Strip in just six years, has left the people there deeply traumatised. Israel also regularly kills Palestinians in the West Bank, imprisons thousands, including children, and carries out illegal home demolition as well as settlement building. There are more than 50 laws which discriminate against the Palestinian citizens of Israel, while those in the West Bank live under occupation, those in Gaza live under siege and constant attack, and the huge refugee population, spread all over the world, lives with the pain of exile and dispossession.
Would you perform for the oppressors in any state? Would you have performed in Sun City during the era of South African apartheid?  From EBONY magazine regarding Dream Defenders, formed in the aftermath of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s killing last year:
“Dream Defenders unanimously passed a resolution to support the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in this interval [1].”
On 15 January, Dream Defenders visited Occupied Palestine and did a solidarity demonstration in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005 [2].
While you may be told that music is a way to build bridges, in fact your very presence will be used as an endorsement, whether given or not, of Israel’s policies. Indeed its official state social media sites regularly post about artists who breach the boycott, linking them to state policy – do you really want this?
Award winning author and BDS supporter David Sheen writes about Israel:
“Another type of racist assault that has become increasingly common in Israel is attacks on Africans. Incitement against the 50,000 non-Jewish Africans who have sought asylum in Israel in recent years, including top government officials comparing them to cancer and Ebola, has made them a popular target for racist ruffians in Tel Aviv. Locals report it is not uncommon for Israeli youths to throw dog feces at African mothers nursing their babies. In January, an Israeli man stabbed a one-year-old African baby in the head and later explained to police that he did it because “they said that a black baby, blacks in general, are terrorists [3].”

Tricky, we appeal to you to join many other artists of conscience, and respect the Palestinian-led call for a cultural boycott of Israel, to stand with the principle that justice -contingent on freedom and equality- must be present before peace is possible.
Please know that you will not be playing to a free audience in Israel, you will be playing to a segregated audience, one which Palestinians cannot be part of. Your audience enjoys its privilege at the expense of millions of incarcerated, occupied Indigenous Palestinian people, and also African refugees who are imprisoned in camps in Israel.
Israel is an apartheid state engaged in extreme discrimination against the Palestinian people. With so many years occupying and dehumanising the Palestinian people, Israel is an extremely racist society in which marches are common against the indigenous people and also immigrants seeking asylum.
Inspired by this Palestinian led struggle which has huge international support, many artists have refused to play in Israel, including over 500 Irish artists who have all signed a pledge to respect the boycott. [4] The choice to join them is yours, please do the right thing.
DPAI (Don’t Play Apartheid Israel)
We are a group, of over 1700, representing many countries around the globe, who believe that it is essential for musicians & other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel. This is essential in order to work towards justice for the Palestinian people under occupation, and also in refugee camps and in the diaspora throughout the world.
NOTES
[4] http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/irish-artists-pledge-to-boycott-israel-reaches-500-signatures 



Monday, January 19, 2015

Kelis: The Cultural Boycott of Israel is the Right Thing

Hey Kelis,
We recently heard you and your band plan to return to Israel on 6 and 7 February, this year.  Your planned gigs are scheduled just 6 months after Israel embarked on a violent attack on the people living in Gaza, who have suffered collectively under a brutal, illegal siege since 2006.  Israel’s misleadingly termed “Operation Protective Edge” eventually killed over 2,200 people, including over 510 children, maiming many thousands more.  The overwhelming consensus amongst people of conscience, is that it is time for BDS.
Kelis:  The Cultural Boycott
of Israel is the Right Thing
BDS - boycott, divest and sanctions - includes a cultural boycott of Israel, because acts such as yours are used by Israel in a vigorous but futile effort to “re-Brand Israel,” (especially Tel Aviv) as a gay-friendly, artistic beacon of “freedom” in the Middle East.
First, Tel Aviv is not gay-friendly, not in the sense of acceptance of all people, encompassing human rights and advocacy for all oppressed people.  


"This pinkwashing of Israel not only plays on a variety of racist and Islamophobic tropes but also impedes a thorough and nuanced analysis of queer and feminist liberation. It refuses to acknowledge that Palestinian queers are among those who are harassed, brutalised, displaced, bombed, and incarcerated. Whatever liberties might be extended to Jewish queers in Israel, being queer does not save Palestinians from the constant and brutal assault that forms the conditions of their lives. The Israeli army does not give a 'free pass' to queer Palestinians; in fact, its soldiers target LGBTQ Palestinians."


Second, Tel Aviv is not progressive.  Progressive, forward thinking comes from a mindset of human rights, equality, and the desire to stop such injustices as the new Jim Crow in the USA, Israel’s land theft wall, administrative detention, and siege and attack on Gaza.


Third, it is not commensurate with liberated artistic values  to play for a segregated audience, while Palestinians under Israeli control are not allowed to leave the bantustans within which they are imprisoned.  Not only may Palestinians not visit to listen to music -  neither are they free to avail themselves of a hospital for childbirth!


EBONY magazine in the USA recently published “Why Black people Must Stand With Palestine”, drawing parallels to injustices;  “similar to the Palestinians’ call for people of conscience to boycott and divest from companies that support their oppression, we might call on people abroad to pressure an end to "the New Jim Crow"---mass incarceration [1].”


Kelis, would you have the courage to cancel your gig in Israel, before tickets are sold, before Israel jails another child, bombs another home in Gaza, and stand with other artists of principle, like Talib Kweli, Stanley Jordan, Cassandra Wilson and many more to respect the cultural boycott today?


We are a group, of over 1,700 members, representing many countries around the globe, who believe that it is essential for musicians & other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel. This is essential in order to work towards justice for the Palestinian people under occupation, and also in refugee camps and in the diaspora throughout the world.



Thursday, January 8, 2015

An Appeal to Dusty Kid to Adhere to the campaign for a Cultural Boycott of Israel

Dear Dusty Kid,

We recently learned that January 23, 2014 you will be returning to play in Tel Aviv. [1]

We're writing to ask you not to play in the apartheid state called Israel and to condemn Israeli violations of international law and human rights against the Palestinian people.
Will Dusty Kid add his name
to artists of conscience and
boycott Israel?

Israel operates in blatant violation of basic human rights and international law by forcing the Palestinians to live under the oppression of a cruel system of racial discrimination and apartheid. [2]

For this reason, in 2005, over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations have called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until the latter does not respect human rights and international law [3].

The Palestinian call for BDS, inspired by the successful boycott that contributed to the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa, has the support of artists, academics, trade unions, churches, student groups, organizations and people of conscience all over the world. In particular, the call for cultural boycott is aimed at all the artists of mondo chiedendo them not to perform in Israel and not to participate in events that aim to normalize the dramatic situation in the placing on the same level the occupier and the occupied, the 'oppressor and the oppressed. [4]

Performing in Israel today would be like performing for the South African regime during the apartheid years.

There are numerous international artists and intellectuals [5] who have decided to respect the Palestinian call and to oppose Israel's cynical use of the arts to hide apartheid, ethnic cleansing and military occupation [6], including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Pulitzer Prize Alice Walker, Andreas Öberg, Angela Davis, Arundhati Roy, August Burns Red, Bono, Carlo Mombelli, Carlos Santana, Cassandra Wilson, Cat Power, Coldplay, Danny Glover, Devandra Banhart, Elvis Costello, Faithless, Gil Scott-Heron, Gorillaz Sound System, Jean Luc Godard, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo school of Medicine, John Berger, Judith Butler, Stephen Hawking, Ken Loach, Lenny Kravitz, Mike Leigh, Mira Nair, Mireille Mathieu Naomi Klein, Natacha Altas, Oumou Sangare, Portico Quartet, Roger Waters, Snoop Dogg, Stanley Jordan, Stevie Wonder, The Pixies, Vanessa Paradis, Zakir Hussain

In a situation of injustice does not take a position equivalent to take a stand for the oppressor.

So we urge you to cancel your concert in Israel and to refrain from program other concerts in Israel until Israel does not respect international law and human rights of the Palestinian people.

Sharing the Palestinian call for boycott, as an artist of international fame can play a vital role in influencing change, in raising awareness and providing a contribution to the nonviolent Palestinian struggle for freedom, self-determination and equality.

Waiting for a your reply, Best regards,

Sardinia Palestine Friendship Association
BDS Sardinia

Notes:

[1] http://www.residentadvisor.net/dj/dustykid/dates?yr=2015&ctry=8  https://www.facebook.com/events/1460420734234086/
[2] http://lawcenter.birzeit.edu/iol/en/project/outputfile/6/986afcc6c9.pdf
[3] http://bdsitalia.org/index.php/campagna-bds/77-appello-bds
[4] http://bdsitalia.org/index.php/campagna-bac/317-appello-pacbi
[5] http://www.bdsmovement.net/activecamps/cultural-boycott
[6] http://mondoweiss.net/2009/03/ny-times-offers-the-rationale-for-the-cultural-boycott-of-israel.html

  Source: BDS Sardinia

Laure Provost, Turner Prize Winner, respects the Cultural Boycott of Israel

(Haaretz Israeli Press, Jan 8, 2015) For most Israelis, the cultural boycott of the country is felt mainly when a famous singer or a movie star decides not to come here to perform or attend a film festival. But the boycott, which has been in place officially since 2005 as part of the wider campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions, also exists in the field of art, and Israeli artists and art institutions are strongly affected by it. It is practiced overtly as well as covertly, officially and unofficially, and by a variety of groups within the art world.SOURCE:
The quiet boycott: When Israeli art is out
A conference in Tel Aviv will explore the impact of the BDS movement on the country’s contemporary art scene.
The boycott includes the refusal of Arab and Palestinian artists to take part in exhibitions abroad that include the works of Israeli artists and the refusal of foreign artists to show their work in Israel. The purpose of the boycott is to raise awareness about the Israeli occupation and Israeli violations of human rights.
On Thursday, a conference, organized by seven curators working in Israel, will be held at Tel Aviv’s Leyvik House, titled Dalut Hacherem: The Cultural Boycott of Israel and What It Means for Israeli Contemporary Art. The organizers — Chen Tamir, Leah Abir, Hila Cohen-Schneiderman, Joshua Simon, Omer Krieger, Udi Edelman and Avi Lubin — will discuss the manifestations of the cultural boycott as it relates to Israel’s contemporary art scene.
In a report summing up her year-long study of the issue, Tamir notes that the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, the main organization behind the effort, focuses mainly on artists, curators and institutions abroad that deal with the Foreign Ministry and other official bodies and much less on what happens within Israel. PACBI, as the organization is called, “recognizes that Israeli artists, Jews and Arabs alike, are allowed to receive funding from the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the same way they are allowed to receive water if they pay taxes,” Tamir says, adding, “They don’t want to do PR for Israel. That is why the boycott is directed outward, and attempts to recruit actors from outside to put pressure on Israel.”
Tamir, who was born in Israel and raised in Canada, holds a Master’s Degree in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College; a B.F.A. in Visual Art; and a B.A. in Anthropology from York University in Toronto. She returned to Israel two and a half years ago and is the curator of the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv. She also works with Artis, a nonprofit organization based in New York that supports and promotes artists from Israel internationally. She says that when she meets people in her field abroad, the issue of the cultural boycott against Israel always comes up.
Tamir’s report began as an internal document for Artis, and only later was a decision made to organize a conference around it.
“Many people in the field asked me about it, so I realized that people need to know more about it. That is also the purpose of the conference, since it’s something that greatly affects the art world but it doesn’t have a lot of visibility,” Tamir says.
That lack of visibility stems in part from the fact that artists who choose not to cooperate with Israel do not always admit this openly. Sometimes they simply fail to respond to emails or cite other reasons not to show their work in Israel. Because there is no active protest in such cases, says Tamir, “It’s very difficult to concretize because it’s actually the absence of something.” For the same reason it is difficult to determine how many Israeli artists have not been invited to events abroad as a result of the boycott.
But for some cultural events overseas the boycott’s impact is tangible. That was the case for the 2014 Sao Paulo biennial. “It was right after the [Gaza] war in the summer, relations between Israel and Brazil were tense,” explains Tamir. “The biennial is one of the biggest art events in the world, and [last] year it was curated by a group that included two Israeli curators, Galit Eilat and Oren Sagiv. The biennial requested support from the Israeli Embassy in Brazil, along with all the other embassies, and Israel gave money. A few days before the opening, objections were raised. A compromise was reached, according to which the money from the Israeli Foreign Ministry would be used only by Israeli artists taking part in the biennial. That way the foreign artists would ostensibly not be benefiting from money that came from Israel, Tamir says.
Another example of the cultural boycott at the height of Operation Protective Edge was the cancellation of Belu-Simion Fainaru’s participation in the International Canakkale Biennial, in Turkey. In a letter to the Israeli sculptor, the artistic director of the biennial, Beral Madra, explained that given the cultural-political-social situation in Turkey Fainaru’s presence or the display of his work at the event would be inappropriate. She noted that even though the message of his work was pro-peace, it related to Jerusalem’s Western Wall, and that the organizers of this biennial were determined to avoid the inclusion of any work containing national or religious symbolism.
Noam Segal, who in the past several years has curated a number of exhibitions that have included artists from abroad, says the refusal to show in Israel can take many forms. “I wanted to invite Laure Provost,
the winner of the 2013 Turner Prize, to participate in an exhibition I’m working on, but she is a signatory to the boycott and won’t come. The same goes for Mark Leckey, who said it in a different way. Other artists have not officially signed on to the boycott but don’t respond to the invitation and it’s clear they don’t want to come. In September an exhibition I curated opened in Los Angeles and most of the artists were Israeli. There were a few journalists who wrote me to say they were impressed by the exbibition, but due to the current situation they preferred not to write reviews of exhibitions that were identified as Israeli.”
One of the goals of Thursday’s conference is to raise awareness about the existence of the boycott. “It’s a very sensitive subject that gets people fired up, for good and for ill,” says Tamir. “Within our group, some people support the boycott and some oppose it, and there are those who are aware of the contradiction, since it’s difficult to boycott yourself. We ask ourselves how is it possible to work in the field of art, that tries to be international, and at the same time to deal with a boycott from outside.”
Tamir draws a connection between the boycott and the threats to freedom of expression within Israel. “Israel is already a kind of an island. On the other hand, within Israel there is more hostility toward freedom of expression. What the war in the summer showed us was very scary. A boycott is a type of freedom of expression. Whether or not you agree with it, people have the right to practice it and to call for it. To discuss the issue of whether it’s justified or not is a different matter, but even if people have controversial views they have a right to express them.
“It’s very difficult for someone who supports both freedom of expression and freedom of action. There’s a contradiction. That’s the main issue of the boycott. If we remain completely alone here, with only our own voices and no international artist agrees to exhibit here, what would that tell us?”
One of the speakers at the conference, Hila Cohen-Schneiderman, a curator at the Petah Tikva Museum of Art who also works independently, plans to offer a proposal she calls “utopian.” She argues that Israel is already disconnected from the Arab world, preferring to “think that we belong to Europe or the United States.” The Arab boycott only reinforces this tendency. Instead she proposes that “if Arab artists were to exhibit here and make us see the place we belong to, it would be much more effective.” In that spirit she wanted to include in an upcoming exhibition a piece by Rabia Mroue,a Lebanese artist, about the civil war in Syria.
“I asked him for permission to show the work and never got an answer. In the end I came to understand in a roundabout way that the answer was negative. I see it as vital for the Israeli audience to see what is happening in Syria. If an artist like James Turrell were to boycott Israel but an artist like Rabia Mroue were to show his works here, we would benefit much more.”
Udi Edelman, a curator at the Israeli Center for Digital Art who also works independently and is one of the conference organizers, says he finds it difficult to either support fully or reject fully the idea of the boycott.
“Going all the way with it means deciding that we will no longer invite international artists, but that is a very difficult think and it isn’t necessarily the right decision. On the other hand, it would be interesting to have international artists consider these questions more deeply. If they boycott, they should do it openly or go deeper into the questions of our existence here.”

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cultural Boycott Highlights and Cultural Worker Support for Palestinians: A Summary of 2014

By Don’t Play Apartheid Israel (DPAI)
Note:  This is an updated version, the former version did not include the Feb. International Festival of Comics in Angoulême, France. 

January 2014: Norwegian artist Moddi courageously cancels his planned concert in Israel and writes: “I have chosen to cancel my performance in Tel Aviv on February 1st. This is without comparison the most difficult decision I have ever made as an artist, and one that hurts almost as much as it feels right.  The reason for my decision is the situation in Israel and the areas it controls. Although music can be a unique arena for public debate, the debate over these territories has been misused for a long time [1].”  

Jasiri X furthers the message about the boycott of Israel with his release of music video Checkpoint, rapping “Support BDS, don’t give a dime to the checkpoint [2].”

JULY: British band Massive Attack in
Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon
support BDS (Getty Images).

French musician Titi Robin shows amazing solidarity with the Palestinian people, his cancellation of his planned Israel concert is particularly significant as he had performed there in the past.  He states "these journeys finally made me take this decision, which appears to me, after a long term reflection, the most honest one regarding the evolution of the situation [3]."


February 2014: Notable international cartoonists, including Siné, Tardi and Joe Sacco, mobilize against the presence of Sodastream at the International Festival of Comics in Angoulême, France. Ninety-nine cartoonists sign onto an open letter asking the organizers to join in the boycott of Sodastream [4].  Other famous names in contemporary comics that signed include Alison Bechdel (“Fun Home”), Kate Beaton (“Hark A Vagrant”), Ben Katchor (“The Jew of New York”), Peter Kuper (“Spy vs. Spy”), and Jaime Hernandez.

March 2014: People’s Books Co-op in Milwaukee, WI voted to join the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against Israel. In support of the cultural boycott the PBC will not participate in any official Israeli celebrations or festivals and will decline offers to perform or speak in Israel [5].

Founders of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters and Nick Mason come together in support of the BDS movement, and they both urge all bands intending to play Israel to reconsider, pointing out that “Playing Israel now is the moral equivalent of playing Sun City at the height of South African apartheid; regardless of your intentions, crossing the picket line provides propaganda that the Israeli government will use in its attempts to whitewash the policies of its unjust and racist regime [6].” Waters has been a supporter of, and advocate for, the BDS movement for some years now.

Playing Israel today, in this time of ever increasing Palestinian solidarity, is a huge political statement. This tweet by the Associated Press is indicative of just how big BDS has become.
"@Beyonce won't be heading to Israel for a concert. Her rep tells @APEntertainment that reports about Bey performing in Tel Aviv are false [7]."

OCTOBER: Bestselling Dominican-American author and Professor at MIT Junot Díaz endorses the cultural boycott of Israel.
Philosopher and activist Grace Lee Boggs and actor and activist Danny Glover denounce the inclusion of the film ‘American Revolutionary: the Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs’ in a government-sponsored Israeli film festival. In a strong statement they assert that:  “We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine, and support their call for cultural and academic boycott of Israel.” This was sent to the Electronic Intifada and co-signed with ten other individuals involved with the award-winning documentary that focuses on the life and work of the 98-year-old Boggs [8].

NY band The Shondes write in agreement and support of the cultural boycott:  “We support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement (BDS) because it pressures Israel to comply with international law: to end the illegal occupation, ensure refugees their right to return home, and guarantee full rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel [9].”

Over 100 artists and intellectuals — including Judith Butler, Lucy Lippard, Chantal Mouffe, Walid Raad, Martha Rosler, and Gayatri Spivak — observe the cultural boycott by signing on to a public letter calling on participants to withdraw from Creative Time’s travelling ‘Living as Form’ exhibition on the grounds that it is currently showing at an institution with a “central role in maintaining the unjust and illegal occupation of Palestine.” The missive came in response to revelations that the social practice exhibition curated by Nato Thompson had been touring in Israel for six months unbeknownst to participants, including its appearance at The Technion, a university in Haifa with extensive research-and-development links to the Israeli military and defense technology industry [10].

July 2014: Israel embarks on a violent attack on the people living in Gaza, which is held under illegal siege.  Israel’s misleadingly termed Operation Protective Edge, eventually kills over 2,200 people (including over 510 children).

After learning about the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divest and sanctions against Israel, US rapper Talib Kweli announced on twitter that he would respect BDS. Kweli was supposed to appear in an international hip-hop, funk and groove festival planned for mid-August in Israel [11].

According to Israeli media, Pearl Jam implicitly supports the cultural boycott. Lead singer Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam effectively denounced Israel’s attacks on Palestinians (though without naming it) at a concert: “I swear to fucking god, there are people out there who are looking for a reason to kill. They’re looking for a reason to go across borders and take over land that doesn't belong to them. They should get the fuck out, and mind their own fucking business.  We don’t want to give them our money. We don’t want to give them our taxes to drop bombs on children [12].” An article in Hebrew reports on the failure to bring Pearl Jam to Israel and implicitly concludes that  the reason the efforts failed was the boycott [13].

A huge coordinated effort was made to ask Neil young to cancel his planned gig in Israel.  Roger Waters is among those who contacted Young, stating “Woody Guthrie would turn in his grave!  Neil Young! [14]”  Speculation has been made that Young allowed Israel to manipulate the reasons for his cancellation.  Staging and fencing were never built for his gig in Tel Aviv, ticket refunds were made, and he did not state he would reschedule.

Numerous bands and festivals are cancelled as Israel’s offensive rages on, and Israel predictably makes the questionable claim that cancellations were made for security reasons.  BDS activists continue to urge all artists to respect the boycott.  Meanwhile, many artists support Palestinians on twitter [15].  Waka Flocka Flame and French Montana are two of many groups to tweet in support of Palestine.

Nobel Peace laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Rigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams join with other notables to support a military embargo of Israel.  Other signatories include Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters, playwright Caryl Churchill, US rapper Boots Riley, João Antonio Felicio, the president of the International Trade Union Confederation, and Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions. Such cooperation across a wide spectrum of people is significant [16].

Influential Ebony magazine publishes “Why Black people Must Stand With Palestine”, drawing parallels to injustices;  “Similar to the Palestinians’ call for people of conscience to boycott and divest from companies that support their oppression, we might call on people abroad to pressure an end to "the New Jim Crow"---mass incarceration [17].”

AUGUST: Sinéad O'Connor dons GAZA solidarity shirt during her London concert.
Irish singer Sinéad O'Connor cancels her show (planned for September), refusing the bow to pressure to play, and assuring her fans that she had not previously been aware of the cultural boycott [18]. During her August show in London, the singer puts on a t-shirt with GAZA written on it (see photo).

Cultural artists join over 21,000 people in signing on to a letter to David Cameron, demanding military sanctions against Israel.  Signatories include rock legend Peter Gabriel, Jemima Khan, Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack, Brian Eno and Bryan Adams, the writers Will Self, Hanif Kureishi, Ahdaf Soueif, Esther Freud, Laura Bailey and William Dalrymple, and the actors David Morrissey, Maxine Peake and Alexei Sayle [19].

Brian Eno of Roxy Music fame takes an active role in the press, asserting that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC): “... seems to regard Palestinian lives as less valuable, less newsworthy [20].”

Award-winning band and veteran political activists Massive Attack use their headline slot at Longitude Festival in Dublin, Ireland to highlight their solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.  A lit-up message behind the performers said: “Gaza has been ocupied [sic] or under restrictions since 1948 [21].”

Going beyond outrage at Israel’s crimes against humanity, and vocally answering the call for BDS, artists come together in “Boycott Israel.”  Norwegian Don Martin, Immortal Technique, El Tipo Este of Cuban duo Obsesion, Parisian rapper Tonto Noiza, and Johannesburg-based Tumi Molekane inform listeners about BDS in different languages [22].

New York Times bestselling author Ayelet Waldman tweets support for BDS, saying  that although she is Israeli and she loves her country, and she formerly opposed BDS, she is ready to give BDS a chance [23].

The Hollywood Reporter, the largest publication covering the entertainment industry,  attempts to explain the widespread support by celebrities of Palestinians with “Why Young Hollywood is More Willing to Question Israel’s Policies [24].”
Multiple award winning singer Selena Gomez  tweets to what she calls #wearethenextgeneration to be that change, it’s about humanity, pray for Gaza [25]. Her tweet stays on twitter.

Prominent Jewish people, Palestinians, and others stand for Palestine in a powerful video with Jonathan Demme (Academy Award), Gloria Steinem, Tony Kushner (Pulitzer Prize), Diana Buttu, Chuck D, Eve Ensler, Brian Eno, Roger Waters, Mira Nair (Academy Award), Wallace Shawn, Naomi Klein, Mira Nair, Raj Patel, Noura Erakat,  Alison Bechdel, Urvashi Vaid and many others [26].

The cultural boycott of Israel is the central topic of conversation, in speculations about the real reason why the Israeli dance troupe’s performance was nixed from the program at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe show [27].

Magic Johnson was slated to play basketball for 5000 Israeli armed forces soldiers during an inauguration for a newly opened arena. It was reported that the Jerusalem Municipality was surprised when he refused to participate in the event.

The Hollywood Reporter notes support for Palestinians again when Oscar winners Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Pedro Almodovar denounce Israeli genocide in an open letter, others who signed the letter include directors Montxo Armendariz and Benito Zambrano, along with actors Lola Herrera, Eduardo Noriega and Rosa Maria Sarda; and musicians Amaral and Nacho Campillo among others [28]. Their support also makes headlines in many large Spanish language publications such as Eldiario.es.

Video “La Palestine pleure de SANG” is released by SLM, a popular French rap duo, using images from Gaza to compelling music [29a].

Yaakov Shwekey, known for formerly playing for the Israeli military, cancels his planned concert in Israel [29aa].

Robert Del Naja and Grant Marshall of Massive Attack visit the Bourj el-Barajneh refugee camp in Lebanon (see photo), and speak of their ‘love and commitment’ to supporting the plight of young Palestinian refugees.  Del Naja asserts “it is important to bring attention to those Palestinians living in Lebanon since 1948: all the young people I met who weren’t born in Syria were born in Lebanon, and all of them are waiting to go home [29b].

Veteran American band Kansas backs out of a planned gig in Israel, no plans for a reschedule are firm, and full ticket refunds are given [29bb].  

Golden Globe and Academy Award winner Asghar Farhadi joins with Nasrin Sotoudeh to create a campaign titled “stop killing” to address the massacre in Gaza.  Farhadi  is considered by Time magazine (2012) to be one of the top 100 most influential people in the world [30].

August 2014: The Irish artists’ pledge to support the cultural boycott of Israel reaches 500 signatures, a significant milestone for such a small country, and includes creative and performing artists residing all over the island of Ireland. Over 200 artists signed up due to Israel’s murderous attack on Gaza. [31]

Musician Anoushka Shankar, daughter of the acclaimed Ravi Shankar,  speaks out on Israel’s attack upon Gaza: “I can’t be silent.  It is genocide [32].” Shankar’s declaration is notable, in that she has previously bypassed the cultural boycott, playing in Israel.  Her choice to become an artist of conscience now is commendable.  

In an enormous victory for BDS, the Tricycle Theater refuses to host the UK Jewish Film Festival citing Israeli sponsorship [32a].  In a huge turnaround, acclaimed Irish film director Lenny Abrahamson (former Israel supporter and defender of Israel’s attack on Lebanon) publicly announces:  “As a filmmaker of Jewish background I fully support the Tricycle’s position [32aa].”

Often teetering on one side or another, Russell Brand makes a case for BDS, calling for big businesses to pull funding from Israeli companies that facilitate the oppression of the people of Gaza [33]. His video goes viral.

Many more musicians continue to cancel their planned Israel gigs as August wears on and the damage to Gaza is publicized.

South Korean directors Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Stoker, Joint Security Area) and Ryoo Seung-wan (The Berlin File, The Unjust) were among 100 public figures, along with academics, legal experts and religious figures to sign a petition and deliver it to the Israeli embassy in Seoul.  The petition refers to Israel's actions in Gaza as a "civilian massacre" and calls on Israel to "stop immediately." Elsewhere in the petition, the actions of Israel are described as a "war crime." The governments of South Korea, Europe, and the US are asked to comply with what amounts to military sanctions against Israel [34].

Regarding Lana Del Rey’s cancellation, the Wondering Sound writes: “It’s a sad twist that Del Rey’s excellent new album is titled Ultraviolence, making her cancellation all the more tragically appropriate [35].”  When musicians reschedule Israel they are acting to support the Israeli state, regardless of whether intentional or not.

Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard and saxophonist Marcus Strickland withdraw from the Red Sea Jazz Festival, an event sponsored by the Israeli government.  

A group of high-profile political figures predominantly from Central America, South America and the Caribbean — including Bolivian President Evo Morales, US author Alice Walker, deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya (signed with his common name “Mel Zelaya”), former Cuban president Fidel Castro,Cuban musician Silvio Rodrígiuez, Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano and others — sign onto a strongly worded statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people and support for BDS [36].

Numerous Norwegian actors sign a pointed statement endorsing the BDS movement, and insisting that the Norwegian National Theatre shall not be used to normalize Israel’s illegal actions.  Actors Siri Austeen, Camilla Eeg-Tverbakk, Chris Erichsen, Trine Falch and dozens more signed [37].

Throughout August, more celebrities tweet in support of Palestine and question Israel’s actions including Mia Farrow, John Legend and footballer Joey Barton.

G4S is the British-Danish firm which provides security services to checkpoints, prisons and interrogation centers in Israel.  When legendary musician Pete Wylie found out the city of Liverpool had been paying for services from G4S he argued: “I cannot condone or work with a council that sees fit to engage with G4S,” cancelling his appearance at the city’s International Music Festival in support of BDS [38].

Wylie’s move follows a wider campaign by local Palestine solidarity groups which has seen Liverpudlian writers, actors, musicians and other artists sign up to an open letter to the city council, criticizing its contracts with G4S.  Signatories to the letter — which refers to the “appalling misery and carnage in Palestine” — include authors Frank Cottrell Boyce, Alan Gibbons and Jimmy McGovern and actor and comedian and Alexei Sayle, alongside several dozen other artists [38].

Renowned comedian Bill Bailey has put his voice to a powerful new video calling for medical aid to Gaza [39].

The Society for Cinema and Media Studies - Middle East Caucus, writes an open letter endorsing BDS [40].

Bryan Adams, Grammy Award, Oscar Award (among many others) winning musician, uses twitter, “..and the Israeli blockade of #Gaza just entered its 8th year, leaving its 1.7 million inhabitants destitute [41].”

Renowned Algerian singer Souad Massi explains with conviction why she upholds the cultural boycott of Israel, though she had been offered bookings in Israel “time and time again [42].”  

Acclaimed film director Ken Loach spoke at the Katrin Cartlidge Foundation Award Ceremony (Sarajevo film festival) honoring Palestinian directors Abdel Salam Shehadeh and Ashraf Mashharawi, and called for an “absolute boycott of all the cultural happenings supported by the Israeli state.” Referring to the boycott, he added “Israel must become a pariah state [43].”

The 20th Annual Film Festival in Bristol, England, publically refuses Israeli Embassy Funding in order to maintain a “neutral political status [44].”  

“The oppression of one concerns that of all,” say the majority of artists and participants of the 31st São Paulo Bienal Art Exhibit, who refused to support the normalization of Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian people, “We believe Israeli state cultural funding directly contributes to maintaining, defending and whitewashing their violation of international law and human rights [45].”

Popular Lebanese singers use twitter to raise awareness to their fans about Gaza [46].

Author and academic Marcelo Svirsky sets off on his Walk for BDS from Sydney to Canberra, a distance of 287 kms. He is feted by well-wishers from Sydney University Staff for BDS [49].

September 2014: Concerts benefiting Gaza with financial contributions take place worldwide, too numerous to list here.  


The Amsterdam “Spot on Israel” show fails to normalize Dutch relations with Israel during its sojourn with the “first lady of the Israeli Habima theater.”  Brave activists can be seen being assaulted and then arrested for protesting in a video that halts the small Israeli state funded show [47].


Many authors including Junot Díaz and Eliot Weinberger sign in agreement with the cultural boycott that: “ It is deeply regrettable that the Brooklyn Book Festival has chosen to accept funding from the Israeli government just weeks after Israel's bloody 50-day assault on the Gaza Strip, which left over 2100 Palestinians – including 500 children – dead, displaced a fourth of the population, destroyed homes, schools, and hospitals, and involved numerous potential war crimes [48].

The Swiss Federal Council is called upon by over 640 Swiss swiss artists and cultural actors to suspend military cooperation with Israel, including canceling a recent order of Elbit H-900 military drones, which were tested in Gaza and would are intended to be used by the Swiss intelligence to monitor Switzerland’s own population [50].


Notable international artists donate their work to create a series of compelling posters for Gaza [29].

October 2014: The Beach Boys don’t specify a reason, however they cancelled their planned gig in Israel as reported in Haa’retz and many other media outlets [51].

Israel especially singles out international film festivals as targets for rebranding attempts, often assigning local Israeli embassies as financial sponsors of festivals.  In Belgium, the Brussels Jewish Film Festival was not exempt from this effort.  The Union of Progressive Jews of Belgium (UPJB) boldly protested this by withdrawing both their participation and their sponsorship from the Brussels Jewish Film Festival [52].

New York Times bestselling author Junot Díaz (see photo), who received a Pulitzer Prize for his novel ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ and won the prestigious MacArthur “Genius Grant,” endorsed the United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). Diaz asserts: “If there exists a moral arc to the universe, then Palestine will eventually be free. But that promised day will never arrive unless we, the  justice-minded peoples of our world, fight to end the cruel blight of the Israeli occupation [53].”

Hip hop superstar Chuck D, of the groundbreaking group Public Enemy, also signaled his endorsement of USACBI [53].

Mira Nair reaffirms her strong support for the cultural boycott by joining numerous other artists in an open letter asking the World Music Institute (New York) not to present Israeli propagandist Idan Raichel [54].


NOTES
[3] In the French Press:  
[4] http://lettertoangouleme.tumblr.com/
[12] At 5:22
[39]