‘UK government must end isolation of artists from Gaza’: hundreds of academics and artists speak out

The letter  below criticises the UK government’s shameful ‘hostile environment’ policy, as it impacts  on artists, and in particular artists from Gaza. Israel’s policies have brought Gaza to the brink of economic, social and ecological collapse. To refuse visas to individuals who use all their efforts to be productive and creative in the face of dire circumstances, largely brought about by Israeli policy, makes the UK an accomplice in a strategy of collective punishment.
*UK-based academics and artists can sign the letter here.*

We, U.K. based artists and academics are dismayed that two Palestinian filmmakers Yousef Nateel and Hussein Owda from Gaza have been refused visitor visas to the UK. Their film Gazagraph is part of ‘The Past in the Present’ film programme developed for Creative Interruptions, a major research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.  They have been invited to attend the world premiere of their film, take part in further screenings and participate in an academic conference and networking events at Sheffield Hallam University,  the British Film Institute, Kings College London, Regents University, Migration Matters Festival in Sheffield and HOME in Manchester . The events are due to take place in June.

 We are alarmed at the recent trend of rejecting entry to academics and artists from Gaza. In August 2018 the Home Office delayed granting a visa to the Palestinian Author Nayrouz Qarmout making it impossible for her to attend the Edinburgh International Book Festival.  In the same month they prevented the young Palestinian visual artist Malak Mattar from attending an exhibition containing her own work. We wish to challenge what is a systemic problem affecting all artists in the Global South.  Over the last two years there has been a significant increase in the number of rejections.  In the case of Gaza, the systematic isolation of its artists and academics by the British government not only impedes academic and cultural exchange but also colludes in Israel’s efforts to isolate and inflict collective punishment on the people of Gaza. We call on the Home Office to reconsider their decision and allow Yousef and Hussein visitor visas to the U.K. to share their creative talents here.

List of signatories:

Adam Sargant Storyteller
Aitemad Muhanna-MATAR Middle East Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science
Alberto Fernández Carbajal University of Roehampton
Alex Callinicos Professor of European Studies, King’s College London
Alison Gibbons Sheffield Hallam University
Alnoor Mutha Senior Research Fellow
Amani Hassani PhD, independent researcher
Anand Pillay Mathematics, Visiting Professor, Leeds
Anandi Ramamurthy Sheffield Hallam University
Angela Martin film editor;  former Snr Lecturer, Sheffield Hallam University
Anita Rupprecht Principal Lecturer, University of Brighton
Anna Bernard King’s College London
Anna Francis Associate Professor
Annabelle Sreberny Emeritus professor, SOAS, University of London
Annaliese Connolly Sheffield Hallam University
April de Angelis Playwright
Ash Kotak Writer and curator
Ava Hunt University of Derby
Aydan Greatrick University College London
Barry Heselwood University of Leeds
Bashir Abu-Manneh University of Kent
Ben Rogaly Professor of Human Geography, University of Sussex
Betty Hunter Honorary President Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Binita Walia Artist and Marketing and PR Consultant
Bob Jeffery Senior Lecturer, Sheffield Hallam University
Cadi Catlow Animation director
Caroline Parker MBE Actress/arts practitioner
Caroline Rooney Professor of African and Middle Eatern Studies, Kent
Caryl Churchill Playwright
Cat Villiers film producer
Catherine Charrett Queen Mary University of London
Cathy Bergin University of Brighton
Christian Hogsbjerg University of Brighton
Claudia Kappenberg University of Brighton
Dani Abulhawa Sheffield Hallam University
Daniele Rugo Brunel University London
David Roger Production Designer in Film/Television Member of Artists for Palestine UK
David Thorpe Audiobook narrator and tutor
Delmozene Morris-Ley Examiner
Derek Attridge University of York
Diane Langford Writer
Douglas Kuhrt Theatre Lighting designer
Dr Adi Kuntsman Senior Lecturer,  Manchester Metropolitan University
Dr Aida Foroutan Artist & Art Historian
Dr Anne Alexander University of Cambridge
Dr Fahid Qurashi Staffordshire University
Dr Hassan Hakimian Director, London Middle East Institute, SOAS
Dr Hilary Aked Writer
Dr Judy Price University of Brighton
Dr Karis Campion University of Manchester
Dr Katy Sian Lecturer in Sociology, University of York
Dr Katy Sian University of York
Dr Ken Fero Regents University London
Dr Melanie Richter-Montpetit Lecturer in International Security, University of Sussex
Dr Michael Pierse Senior Lecturer, School of AEL, Queen’s University Belfast
Dr Paul Kelemen University of Manchester
Dr Rajesh Patel Senior Lecturer Manchester Metropolitan University
Dr Rich Moth Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Liverpool Hope University
Dr Rick Bowler Senior Lecturer Community and Youth Work Studies
Dr Robin Dunford University of Brighton
Dr Sabina Shah Independent academic essayist and filmmaker
Dr Sam Browse Sheffield Hallam University
Dr Sarah Irving Linnaeus University, Sweden
Dr Shameela Islam-Zulfiqar University of Manchester
Dr Steven Lucas Lecturer at Liverpool Hope University
Dr Zoe Norridge King’s College London
Dr. Caitlin Fox-Hodess Lecturer, University of Sheffield
Dr. Mark Abel University of Brighton
Ekua Bayunu International Artist
Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh Professor of Migration and Refugee Studies, UCL
Elizabeth Lynch Research Fellow Birkbeck Contemporary Theatre
Erica Burman Professor of Education, University of Manchester
Eugene Michail University of Brighton
Eva McQuade Student
Eyal Clyne Sociologist
Faith Taylor Teaching Associate, QMUL
Farah Haddad RefuAid
Farhana Sheikh Writer
Francis Campbell actor/musician
Gary Cordingley Artist
Gaydon Phillips Former stage manager. Literary manager.
George Legg King’s College London
George Matheson
Gilbert Achcar SOAS, University of London
Gillian slovo Writer
Haim Bresheeth SOAS London
Hanan Abdalla Filmmaker
Haytham Bayasi translator, editor
Hilary Rose Emerita Professor of Social Policy University of Bradford
Hilary Wise Retired senior lecturer, Queen Mary, University of London
Harriet Walter Actor
Ian McDonald Newcastle University
Ian Parker Emeritus Professor of Management, University of Leicester
Ilan Pappe historian
Izzat Darwazeh Professor, University College London
James Dickins Prof. of Arabic, University of Leeds
James Krishna Floyd Actor/Writer
Jamila Boughelaf Dancer
Jananne Al-Ani Artist
Jane Elliott King’s College London
Janet Watson University of Leeds
Jared Margulies University of Sheffield
Jas Nijjar Brunel University London
Jason Hird dancer
Javed Majeed King’s College London
Jawed Siddiqi Sheffield Hallam Univesity
Jayne Davies Heritage Project Officer
Jeff Young Writer
Jennifer Fearon Sheffield Hallam University
Jo Beck Art Director
John Hextall Company manager
John Morgan artist
John Narayan Birmingham City University
John Rwothomach Director/Playwright/Actor
Jon Pullman Filmmaker
Jonathan Gilhooly Lecturer, University of Brighton
Jonathan Meth Curator, The Fence network; Associate Lecturer, Institute for Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship, Goldsmiths; Visiting Fellow, Department of Film, Theatre & Television, University of Reading
Jonathan Rosenhead Emeritus Professor, London School of Economics
Jonathan Tate
Kalpana Wilson Birkbeck, University of London
Kani Artist
Karen Grainger Sheffield Hallam University
Karren Winchester Actor
Katucha Bento University of Leeds
Kellie Thompson Liverpool Hope University
Ken Jones Emeritus Professor, Goldsmiths, University of London
Ken Loach filmmaker
Khaldoun Shami Academic Researcher in Documentary Film, Secularism and Minorities
Kooj Chuhan Artist and Filmmaker
L Whitworth University of Brighton
Laura Mulvey Professor, Birkbeck College, University of London
Lee Jasper Professor at UNI. Under No Illusions
Leon Sealey-Huggins Lecturer University of Warwick
Lisa Stampnitzky Lecturer in Politics, University of Sheffield
Louise Purbrick University of Brighton
Lowkey Musician
Lucy Hanson Senior Lecturer, Liverpool Hope University
Lyndsey Stonebridge Professor of. Humanites and Human Rights, University of Birmingham
LynneSegal Birkbeck, University of London
Madhav Sharma Actor
Madhu Krishnan Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Writing, University of Bristol
Majd University lecturer
Manick Govinda Freelance Arts Consultant
Manju Gregory Kabutar theatre
Marcella Mameli-Badi Ceramicist, teacher
Margareta Kern Lecturer, Falmouth University
Matthew Zajac Artistic Director, Dogstar Theatre company
Maxine Community Advocacy
Mazen Masri City, University of London
Meg Oxford Creative Director
Mica Nava Emeritus Professor, University of East London
Mike Dibb Independent UK Documentary Producer/Director
Mim Shaikh Broadcaster / Actor / Spoken Word Artist
Miriam Margolyes Actress
Miss Nicole Mailer Freelance Arts worker
Musheir El-Farra Film Maker
Nadia Edmond Principal lecturer Education, university of Brighton
Nadia Sibany Dancer
Nadje Al-Ali SOAS University of London
Neve Gordon Queen Mary University of London
Nicholas Harrison King’s College London
Noga RItter singer-songwriter, artist, workshop facilitator
Nooshin Farhid Artist & Associate Lecturer MAFA
Nora Parr SOAS, University of London
Norman Walshe Film production design
Omar Aysha Filmmaker
Patrick Williams Manchester Metropolitan University
Paul Laverty Screenwriter
Paul Mason Journalist
Penny Woolcock writer/director
Pete kaLu Artist
Peter Chand Professional Storyteller
Peter Jones Sheffield Hallam Universtiy
Philomena Harrison Psychiatric Social worker/senior lecturer in Social work
Photini Vrikki Brunel University London
Prof John S Yudkin University College London
Prof. Bob Brecher University of Brighton
Prof. Hagit Borer FBA Queen Mary University of London
Rachel Garfield University of Reading
Rachel Seoighe Lecturer in Criminology, University of Kent
Raisah Ahmed Screenwriter & Director
Ramzy Suleiman Musician 47soul
Rasha Soliman University of Leeds
Ray Bush Professor of African Studies and Development Politics, University of Leeds
Rebecca Hayes Laughton Theatre Producer/Director & Drama school lecturer
Rebecca O’Brien Film producer
Rebecca Ruth Gould University of Birmingham
Rehan Sheikh Actor
Remi Joseph-Salisbury Presidential Fellow, University of Manchester
Revd Canon Garth Hewitt musician
Richard Kuper Researcher
Rinella Cere Sheffield Hallam University
Roger waters Musician
RogerJames Elsgood Independent producer.
Roy Battersby Director
Russell Honeyman MA Fine Art 2019
Ruth ABOU RACHED University of Cambridge (alumni)
S. Sayyid Professor,
Sadia Habib Independent Researcher
Sadia Zulfiqar Academic/ LCWU, LUMS, Lahore, Pakistan
Saeed Taji Farouky director cinematographer
Samir Bhamra Creative Director of UK Asian Film Festival
Samir Eskanda Musician
Sara Haq Artist
Sarah Beddington Artist and filmmaker
Sarah Crafter The Open University
Sarah Griffin Free lance illustrator
Sarita Malik Professor of Media, and Creative Interruptions Principal Investigator, Brunel University London
Scott Massie Liverpool Hope University
Serena Spadoni Teacher
Shahd Abusalama Dancer and researcher at Sheffield Hallam University
Shirin Housee University of Wolverhampton
Sita Brand Producer and Storyteller
Sophia Brown Birkbeck, University of London
Stephania Goswami Artist
Steven Rose Emeritus professor, The Open University
Susan Trangmar Reader in Fine Art UAL
Sylvia Ferreira Dance artist
Taghrid Choucair Vizoso Artist & Producer
Tahra Anitya Activist, writer, actor
Tanzil Chowdhury Lecturer in Public Law, Queen Mary, University of London
Tarek Younis Psychologist
Tariq Mehmood Writer/Asst Professor
Terry Meade Principal Lecturer University of Brighton
Tim Allen Animator
Tim Garratt Musician
Tina Gharavi Filmmaker, Academic Newcastle University
Tom Hickey Principal Lecturer in Philosophy and Aesthetics, University of Brighton
Tony Erizia Musician, band leader
Tracy Ramsey University Tutor
Uriel Orlow University of Westminster, London
Virinder S Kalra University of Warwick
Virpi Kettu Media, teacher
Virtual Migrants Association Artists’ Collective
Yasmin Khan Youth worker
Yasmin Wilde Actress


Mike Leigh, Leila Sansour, Pratibha Parmar, Ken Loach and others say UK cinemas should boycott Israeli film festival Seret

In our letter published in the Guardian yesterday and copied below, 20 British filmmakers and writers including Mike Leigh, Leila Sansour, Ken Loach and Prahitbha Parmar criticise the hosting of an Israeli government sponsored film festival in the UK. 

The letter cites the findings of the recent UN report on Israel’s violence against Palestinians in Gaza.  It compares celebrity and business protests against Brunei over its new anti-LGBT law, with those against Israel over its violence against the Palestinians.


“We’re shocked and dismayed to see how many mainstream cinemas – among them Picturehouse and Everyman – are hosting this year’s Israeli film festival, Seret, whose funders and supporters include the Israeli government and a clutch of pro-Israel advocacy organisations. Two months ago, a commission set up by the UN human rights council concluded that the actions of Israeli soldiers against Palestinian participants in the Great March of Return in Gaza may constitute “war crimes or crimes against humanity”. “Particularly alarming,” said a member of the commission, was “the targeting of children and persons with disabilities.”

This UN report is the latest in 70 years of reports of mass expulsions, killings, house demolitions, detention without trial, torture, military occupation and military onslaught against the indigenous population, the Palestinians. But none of this appears to disturb the cinemas involved in the festival. One is even housing a fundraising screening for an organisation that sponsors non-Israelis to join the Israeli army.

By comparison, we note the instant resort to boycott by people outraged by Brunei’s legislating to have LGBT people and alleged adulterers stoned to death (Celebrities boycott Brunei-owned hotels over country’s new anti-LGBT laws, 4 April; Sultan of Brunei, who passed anti-LGBT laws, owns slew of luxury UK properties, 15 April). We’re outraged too. But if George Clooney, Elton John and a host of others can instantly embrace a boycott to put pressure on Brunei, what is stopping programmers at Picturehouse and elsewhere doing the same in relation to Israel?

We cannot understand why cultural institutions continue to behave as if Israel is an ordinary democracy. It is not. Palestinians deserve better than this. UK cinemas should not be hosting Seret.”

Amir Amirani Director, producer
Roy Battersby Director
Haim Bresheeth Writer, film-maker
David Calder Actor
Prof Ian Christie Film writer, broadcaster
Dror Dayan Film-maker
Helen de Witt Film programmer
Saeed Taji Farouky Film-maker
Deborah Golt DJ, broadcaster
Ashley Inglis Screenwriter
Paul Laverty Screenwriter
Mike Leigh Writer, director
Ken Loach Director
Sophie Mayer Film critic, curator
Rebecca O’Brien Producer
Pratibha Parmar Writer, director
William Raban Film-maker
Leila Sansour Director
John Smith Artist, film-maker
Penny Woolcock Film-maker


Artswatch Palestine: December – March 2019

*Photo: The play ‘Palestine: Year Zero’ cancelled a few days before premiere.

Our digest of news from Israel’s cultural war against the Palestinians 

A word in the mayor’s ear 

Last year, the ‘Cultural Loyalty’ Bill, which would have withdrawn funding from cultural productions deemed to be anti-Israel, failed to win the approval of the Knesset.

The Bill may have died, but its principles live on. 

Ha’aretz (9thDecember 2018) reports that Avigdor Yitzakhi, head of Israel’s state-run lottery, has successfully pressured the mayor of Kabul, a Palestinian-majority town in the north of Israel, to cancel a play whose plot involves the demolition of Palestinian homes.  Performances of ‘Palestine: Year Zero’ were cancelled a few days before its first performance.

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Brian Eno: Israel must not be allowed to use Eurovision as a propaganda tool

Brian Eno’s op-ed is published in today’s Guardian, and copied below.

“Those of us who make art and culture for a living thrive on free and open communication. So what should we do when we see culture becoming part of a political agenda? “Music unites,” says UK Eurovision entrant Michael Rice. What happens when a powerful state uses art as propaganda, to distract from its immoral and illegal behaviour? Everybody involved in the Eurovision song contest this year should understand that this is what is happening.

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Artswatch Palestine: September- November 2018

  • Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa (pictured) was on her way to Palestine Literature Festival when she was denied entry to her homeland,  held in a prison cell, then flown back to the United States.

Our digest of news from Israel’s cultural war against the Palestinians 

Dareen Tatour

Dareen Tatour, Palestinian poet and citizen of Israel, was released from prison on September 20th. She had spent almost three years in jail or under house arrest. Her ‘crime’ was to post one of her poems on Facebook –  ‘Resist my people, resist them’.  In July this year, she was finally sentenced, on grounds of incitement to violence and support for terror organisations.   (Indictments for online incitement have tripled in Israel since 2014.)

In August, Tatour entered the special wing of Damoun Prison. She was classified as a ‘security’ prisoner and denied access to her phone and the internet. Her father was at first denied permission to visit her. He and Dareen’s mother were finally allowed to see her on 5 September, after Tatour had spent almost a month in prison. She was released with a suspended sentence hanging over her, to guard against further ‘incitement’.

The Loyalty in Culture Bill

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Judy Joo: Please stand with Palestinians

* In Gaza 97% of water is currently contaminated by sewage and/or salt due to the ongoing blockade of 1.7 million Palestinians living there (Oxfam)

Judy Joo is a chef, writer and restaurateur. We love the creativity of her work at London’s  Jinjuu — but we hate apartheid, so we’re hoping Joo will turn down the Israeli government-sponsored ‘Tel Aviv Round Tables’ food festival.  More than 70 chefs and food writers in the US are choosing to speak out against Israel’s violation of Palestinian land rights, water rights and basic human rights. Please join them Judy Joo!

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DJs, producers, electronic musicians join boycott of Israel en masse

Today a stream of DJs, producers, record labels, electronic musicians are speaking up for Palestine and endorsing the cultural boycott of Israel. Using the hashtag #DJsForPalestine, these artists and cultural producers say they are supporting the Palestinian call for boycott as a peaceful protest against the occupation, “for as long as the Israeli government continues its brutal and sustained oppression of the Palestinian people”.

This collective action follows the pattern of a similar wave of bands, including  Portishead and Wolf Alice, who came out in protest using the hashtag #ArtistsForPalestine, shortly after Israel’s massacre of unarmed Palestinian protesters in Gaza this May.

Caribou, the Discwoman collective, Laurel Halo, The Black Madonna, Ben UFO, Tessela, Truants, Ciel, DEADBOY, FourTet, Room4Resistance and many, many more joined together for this action.   Some artists added personal messages, for example Ben Thomson / UFO explained:

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Artists call for boycott of Israel-hosted Eurovision 2019 – UK signatories

Artists, musicians and writers from 18 different  countries have published an open letter in the Guardian which condemns the purported hosting of Eurovision 2019 in Israel, saying that the contest should be moved to a non-divisive location, and – citing the recent killing of large numbers of Palestinian civilians – to a country with a better human rights record.
  • Personal statements by international artists can be found here.
  • In addition to the selection of international names in the Guardian, see the full list of British signatories attached to the letter here:

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Artswatch Palestine: June-August 2018

Gaza – the war against culture

On Thursday, 9th August, at around 17.45, Israeli drones began firing missiles at the Sa’ed al-Mishal Cultural Centre on Aydiyia Street in al-Rimal neighbourhood, west of Gaza City.  The 5-story building which housed the centre was completely destroyed.

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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”.

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Young Fathers affirm support for Palestinian rights despite cancellation by German arts festival

Ruhrtriennale arts festival in Germany have asked Mercury Prize-winning Young Fathers to declare themselves non-supporters of the Palestinian-led BDS movement for human rights, as a condition of appearing at the festival later this summer. In a statement on June 12, the festival announced the cancellation of the UK group’s concert, saying:

Regrettably, the Young Fathers have not distanced themselves from BDS. (…) The Ruhrtriennale distances itself in all forms from the BDS movement and wishes to have absolutely no connection with the campaign. We have therefore decided to cancel the concert.

Today, Young Fathers have asked Artists for Palestine UK to publish the following statement :

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Artists join the boycott of Israel en masse

Following Israel’s massacre in Gaza in which snipers targeted thousands of unarmed Palestinian protestors,  also attacking medics, journalists, photographers and children – a coordinated wave of  bands have publicly endorsed the cultural boycott of Israel in support of Palestinian rights, and for freedom, justice and equality.
Here are sample tweets from Wolf Alice, Portishead, Reverend and the Makers, Slaves, Peace, Circa Waves, Nadine Shah and more – starting with the response from the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) who initiated the call.
Follow the hashtag #artistsforpalestine
British artists and bands can add their name to the now more than 1,300 who signed the Artists Pledge for Palestine on this site.

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Artswatch Palestine: January – May 2018

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

Award-winning director withdraws film from Seret London Israel Film & TV Festival

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.

Shopping announce withdrawal from Pop-Kultur Berlin in solidarity with Palestinians

We are proud to publish to a statement from UK band Shopping, who today announce their withdrawal from Pop-Kultur Berlin festival in protest at its decision to accept support from the Israeli embassy in Germany. Last year, eight artists withdrew in protest for this same reason.

Their statement:
‘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.’

The Palestinian appeal to international artists, information, and artists’ statements 2017-18 can be found on a new website, Boycott Pop Kultur Festival.
#popkulturfestival #popkultur2018 #popkulturberlin #popkulturberlin2018
Photo: Jenna Fox

Film-makers call on cinemas to reject Israel-sponsored festival

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.
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Jamiroquai, will you stand with the Palestinians?

Dear Jamiroquai,

We write to ask you to cancel your concert in Israel. We do so knowing that band members are not indifferent to the situation in Palestine. In a 2008 interview, Jay Kay said, ‘Ask me something else; Ask me about the situation in Palestine’.

If we asked you about the situation in Palestine today, you’d probably know  that it has greatly deteriorated since 2008, with three prolonged bombing campaigns by Israel on Gaza. The besieged Strip is, according to the United Nations, ‘unlivable’, and there’s an ever expanding colonisation of land in the Palestinian West Bank. Continue reading

Morcheeba: Please don’t give comfort to the oppressor

Artists for Palestine UK is dismayed that despite the unlawful and calculated* massacre of 21  people (to date) during the march by refugees trapped inside Gaza – it appears that the duo that make up British trip-hop outfit Morcheeba, are set to entertain audiences in Tel Aviv next month. As we make our letter to Morcheeba public, we still hope that Skye Edwards and Ross Godfrey will connect with Palestinian artists or organisations, or indeed with ourselves, before proceeding with business-as-usual under this deeply racist and brutal Apartheid regime.
*According to NGOs Human Rights Watch and B’tselem

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Artswatch Palestine: October – December 2017

Our regular report on Israel’s war on Palestinian cultural life and expression.

Dareen Tatour: languid oppression

The Israeli state continues its legal harassment of Dareen Tatour (Artswatch 2016 and 2017). Yoav Haifawi reports in +972 (17th December) that more than two years after her arrest in October 2015, the poet’s trial ‘drags on languidly’ in a Nazareth court with no end in sight. On Monday, December 4, the remand judge once again rejected her request to be released from the house arrest imposed on her ‘until the end of legal proceedings.’ Even when she is allowed to leave her house during the day, she must be accompanied at all times by a court-authorized custodian. Under such conditions it is clear, writes Haifawi, that she cannot work or live a normal life.

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Artists to Lorde: individual messages of support

On 5 January 2018, more than a hundred international artists signed a letter to the Guardian in the UK in support of New Zealand singer Lorde’s decision to cancel her gig in Tel Aviv later this year.
Since then, some of those signatories have given APUK permission to publish the personal letters they’ve also written to Lorde.   We’re happy to share, amongst others, Brian Eno’s and Roger Waters’ moving expressions of solidarity and support, while Peter Gabriel’s message affirms the need for artists to stand up for human rights.  We’re also reproducing below some of the many messages artists have posted in support of Lorde on social media or via this site.


Brian Eno, musician

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