Artswatch reports on some of the events before, during and after the 14th May massacre in Gaza.
A chain of killings
Before the deaths of more than 60 people on 14th May, there were other killings, which took a heavy toll of media workers.
In the early hours of April 7, wrote Mariam Barghouti in AlJazeera, ‘we received a message that Palestinian photojournalist Yaser Murtaja had succumbed to his wounds in a hospital.’ He had been shot by Israeli snipers in Gaza a day earlier, on a day on which 28 others also died.
Just two days before his murder, Barghouti wrote, ‘Yaser messaged us to explain that he was working on a documentary on the Great March of Return. He never finished his documentary, never came home to his wife and two-year-old son and, instead of reporting news, he became the news.
The message came as a shock to us. His friends were in disbelief and those of us that never met Yaser but knew of him as a journalist comrade met the news with pain and a realisation that we are never truly safe. No press card, no shield can save us from murder. Continue reading
The writer-director of the acclaimed feature film ‘In Between’, one of the films programmed by the Seret London Israel Film & TV Festival, is one of 36 filmmakers and others to have signed a letter published in the Guardian today saying that UK cinemas should “uphold basic ethical standards” and refuse to provide a platform to “a regime that is guilty of systematic and large-scale human rights violations”. Maysaloun Hamoud has also withdrawn her film.
According to its website, the festival, which is supported by the Israeli Embassy and the World Zionist Organisation, intends to reflect Israel as a “melting pot of cultures, religions and backgrounds”. But Hamoud, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, said in a statement to Artists for Palestine UK:
“I do not want my film, or my name, to be used to portray an image of Israel as a “melting pot of cultures and religions”.
The arts, the filmmakers’ letter says, are “being employed to give an apparently acceptable face to a brutal reality”. They add that “Israel deliberately and routinely denies media freedom to Palestinians” citing the targeting of Palestinian journalists and photographers by Israeli forces.
‘We will no longer be performing at Pop-Kultur festival in Berlin this August. After we were recently announced for the festival, we were contacted privately by Palestinian artists and human rights activists about the festival’s cooperation with the state of Israel, and how this serves to normalise and whitewash Israel’s military occupation and decades of oppression against the Palestinian people. We cannot in good conscience be part of that.
As a band, Shopping are and will always be completely opposed to any form of oppression and discrimination, including homophobia, transphobia, colonialism and racism. We stand firmly against antisemitism and Islamophobia. For these reasons, and in harmony with the principles of the nonviolent, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights, we affirm our solidarity with the Palestinian call for BDS.’
Maxine Peake, Liam Cunningham, Juliet Stevenson and Helena Kennedy QC are among 36 filmmakers and others who have signed a letter protesting the hosting of the Seret London Israeli Film and TV Festival in UK cinemas, due to the involvement of the Israeli Embassy. The letter, published in Wednesday’s edition of The Guardian, says that cinemas are providing a platform for “a regime that is guilty of systematic and large-scale human rights violations”. Full letter and signatories below.