Patti Smith, Massive Attack, Viggo Mortensen among 70+ artists demanding free speech on Palestine

Artists for Palestine UK is publishing (below) a longer version of the open letter published in tomorrow’s print edition of the Guardian, with the full list of signatories.

The statement responds to news that the award-winning band Young Fathers were invited, disinvited and re-invited to the Ruhrtriennale arts festival in Germany, following demands that they renounce their support for the global movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) in support of Palestinian rights. The band refused, and re-affirmed their support for human rights principles. Now, 79 artists, writers and producers from all fields of the arts in the UK, the US, Germany and beyond, plus public figures including Desmond Tutu, Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky and Angela Davis, speak out about what they say is an “alarming form of censorship, “blacklisting” and repression”.


No Palestine Exception to Freedom of Speech[1]

We, the undersigned artists, writers and public figures, are disturbed by attempts in Germany to impose political conditions on artists supporting Palestinian human rights. We are glad that the international outcry has convinced the Ruhrtriennale arts festival to reverse its repressive decision to cancel a performance by Young Fathers, after they refused to distance themselves from the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

Ruhrtriennale’s earlier decision was a particularly alarming form of censorship, “blacklisting” and repression.

We welcome the stance of another German festival, Morgenland, in resisting a similar attempt to suppress free speech.

We stand firmly against all forms of racism and identity-based discrimination, including anti-Blackness, sexism, antisemitism, Islamophobia and homophobia. Conflating nonviolent measures to end Israel’s illegal occupation and human rights violations with anti-Jewish racism is false and dangerous. It denies Palestinians their right to peaceful protest in pursuit of freedom, justice and equality and undermines the struggle against antisemitism.

While we may hold diverse views on the Palestinian-led BDS movement, we are united in considering it a lawful exercise of freedom of expression. Boycotts which are anchored in universal human rights and aimed at achieving justice for marginalized and oppressed communities are a legitimate nonviolent tactic. They have been used worldwide, including against apartheid in South Africa and the Jim Crow segregation laws in the United States.

In affirming this position, we are in agreement with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the European Union, several European governments, hundreds of European legal scholars, international progressive Jewish organizations and figures, more than two hundred U.S. rabbis and hundreds of European NGOs.

At a time when far right and xenophobic forces are gaining ground, we need to be more vigilant than ever in defending and advocating democratic values, including freedom of conscience and expression.

Signed:

Mai Abu ElDahab,  Director, Mophradat

Tunde Adebimpe,  Musician

Antonia Alampi,   Artistic co-director, SAVVY Contemporary

Nir Alon,  Artist

Julia Aranda,  Artist

Mohammed Bakri,  Actor

Saleh Bakri,  Actor

Jeff Barrett,  Founder, Heavenly Recordings

Avi Berg, Artist

Yves Berger, artist

Judith Butler,  Philosopher

David Calder,  Actor

Noam Chomsky,  Linguist, philosopher

Julie Christie,  Actor

Caryl Churchill,  Playwright

Jarvis Cocker,  Musician

Molly Crabapple,  Artist, writer

Liam Cunningham,  Actor

Angela Davis,  Political activist, academic

Laurence Dreyfus, Director, Phantasm viol consort

Tania El Khoury,  Artist

Brian Eno  Composer, producer

Reem Fadda,  Curator

David Farr,  Writer, director

Chiara Figone,  Archive Books/Kabinett/Journal

Marina Fokidis,  Curator, writer

Rebecca Foon, Musician

Peter Gabriel,  Musician, founder, WOMAD Festival

Dani Gal,  Artist

Danny Glover, Actor

Carl Gosling,  Heavenly Recordings

Ian Ilavsky,  Co-founder, Constellation Records

Iman Issa,  Artist

Ghada Karmi,  Writer, academic

Aki Kaurismaki,  Film director

A.L. Kennedy,  Writer

Naomi Klein,  Writer

Judith Knight,  Co-director, Artsadmin

Hari Kunzru,  Writer

Paul Laverty,  Screenwriter

Mike Leigh,  Writer, director

Mason Leaver-Yap, Associate Curator, KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Ken Loach,  Film director

Jens Maier-Rothe,  Curator

Jumana Manna,  Artist

Miriam Margolyes,  Actor

Yann Martel, Author

Massive Attack,  Band

Thurston Moore,  Musician

David Morrissey,  Actor

Nicholas Mirzoeff,  Cultural theorist

Danny Mitchell,  Heavenly Recordings

Leil Zahra Mortada,  Filmmaker

Viggo Mortensen,  Actor, writer, artist

Karma Nabulsi,  Professor of Politics

Mira Nair,  Film director

Bonaventure Ndikung, Founder, Savvy Contemporary

Paul Northup, Director, Greenbelt Festival

Rebecca O’Brien,  Film Producer

Ilan Pappe,  Historian

Jocelyn Pook,  Composer

Cat Power, Musician

Jeremie Pujau,  Artist

Fanny-Michaela Reisin,  President, International League for Human Rights

Michael Rosen,  Children’s poet, broadcaster

Eran Schaerf,  Artist

James Schamus,  Screenwriter, producer, director

Eyal Sivan,  Documentary filmmaker

Harry Leslie Smith, Writer

John Smith,  Artist, filmmaker

Patti Smith,  Musician, poet

Jesse Smith, Musician, activist

Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa

Alice Walker,  Writer

Roger Waters,  Musician

Eyal Weizman,  Architect

Vivienne Westwood,  Designer

Don Wilkie,  Co-founder, Constellation Records

Tim Wilson,  Founder, VAULT Festival

Tim Wise,  Writer

[1] https://ccrjustice.org/the-palestine-exception

7 thoughts on “Patti Smith, Massive Attack, Viggo Mortensen among 70+ artists demanding free speech on Palestine

  1. malahakch hamid says:

    Je suis pour l exécution des décisions de L ONU contre la violation de droits de l homme contre une chaise d Israël a l Lonu par e que Israël est une bande de mafia sioniste déteste la paix contre tout ce qui est humain …l archive d Israël soit sur les médias soit sur les journaux sont suffisant pour inculper Israël …

    Like

  2. Fadia Faraj says:

    Thank you all so very much for bravery and humanitarian act! Your solidarity with tge palestinian people is greatly appreciated! #FreePalestine 🇵🇸 #FreeGaza 🇵🇸 #BDS ✊🏿💪🏽🇵🇸👊🏾✌🏽🇵🇸🎸❤️!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. FBannourah says:

    All decent people will support the oppressed wherever they are.BDS movement is not antisemtic,the right wing Israeli government is pushing very hard to illegetimis the BDS movement,Donald Duck government is helping the Israeli government by putting sanctions on any organisation which support the BDS movement.
    I hope Europe will not succumb to the pressure from the Israeli Apartheid state and the US government and follow suit..

    Like

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