Israeli officials get to work trumpeting Nick Cave’s latest comments

The minute Nick Cave published a letter yesterday that defended his controversial decision to play in Israel saying –

I do not support the current government in Israel, yet do not accept that my decision to play in the country is any kind of tacit support for that government’s policies.

Israeli officials wasted no time in getting to work trumpeting their support – undermining his effort to put distance between himself and the regime.   Once again, the words and deeds of artists like Nick Cave are used as vital capital in Israel’s ongoing propaganda war against the Palestinian people.

At the time of the Bad Seeds’ concert back in November 2017, Nick Cave received an outpouring of endorsements from unlikely fans in the form of Israeli government officials and diplomats  around the world – which we reproduced here. Radiohead’s appearance received an equally rapturous display of enthusiasm from Israel’s government when they crossed the Palestinian picket line.

Today Galit Peleg, Israeli diplomat, Head of Public Diplomacy at the Consulate General of Israel in New York showed her delight, tweeting:

 

Meanwhile the Israeli government’s official ‘anti-BDS’ app  urged followers to LIKE comments supportive of Nick Cave’s decision. This is the practice known as ‘astroturfing’, coordinating a fake social media hype around a particular issue.

 

 

Sadly, claims made in Cave’s letter (which had been part of a private correspondence with Brian Eno) reveal that he is catastrophically misinformed.

The letter  claims that the Palestinian lands that are illegally occupied by Israel are merely “disputed” and it proposes the notion that  apartheid Israel is in fact “a real, vibrant, functioning democracy”. Both turns of phrase that directly echo the language of Israeli hasbara (advocacy/propaganda) but which reflect neither the reality and nor the language used by any respected human rights organisations nor by international law.

The letter goes on to cite Professor Noam Chomsky to back-up its argument stating: “The estimable Noam Chomsky considers the BDS as lacking legitimacy and inherently hypocritical”.

In order set the record straight we are happy to quote Chomsky on the above claims:

The oft repeated idea that Israel is a “vibrant democracy” is an absurd one. Unless the qualification is purely symbolic, there can be no “democratic Jewish (Christian, Muslim, white) state”. In the case of Israel, the “Jewishness” is very far from symbolic. There is no need to repeat here what I’ve written in the past, documenting extensively Israel’s discriminatory practices.’

And:

‘I am opposed to any appearance in Israel that is used for nationalistic or other propaganda purposes to cover up its occupation and denial of Palestinian human rights. I’ve been involved in activities to hold Israel accountable for its international law violations since before the BDS movement took shape. While I have some tactical differences with the BDS movement, I strongly support the actions and continue to participate in them.’ 

Nick Cave has apparently made his letter to Brian Eno public because his fans continue to ask about his controversial decision to play in Israel.

Brian Eno’s response to Cave’s 2017 press statement in Israel in can found here.

Artists for Palestine UK’s statement  ‘Nick Cave, who is being silenced?” in response to his curious claim that artists like himself are somehow being ‘silenced’, is here. The statement concludes with the words:

We regret that in a land of injustice Nick Cave is giving comfort to the unjust.

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

A few weeks after her release, on 5thNovember, Tatour listened to the Knesset debate on the first reading of Culture Minister Miri Regev’s Loyalty in Culture bill. In an article for Mondoweiss, she reflected on its significance.

Regev, wrote Tatour, spoke for three hours. She began her speech by naming a few works of art that had been recently presented in the country’s theatres, such as Palestinian former prisoner Walid Daqqa’s play “A Parallel Time”. She moved on to list works by director and actress Einat Weizman – “Prison Notebooks,” “Prisoners of the Occupation,” “The State of Israel against Poet Dareen Tatour,” –  before reading part of Mahmoud Darwish’s poem “Write Down, I am Arab” and Tatour’s own poem “Resist, My People.”

Regev said she would not fund venues that presented these works. They should instead be banned and censored. She also spoke of why there must be a vote on the loyalty in culture bill, drafted by her, and why there should broadly be loyalty in art to the state of Israel.

If the bill became a law, noted Tatour, it would grant Regev the sole discretion to decide what projects should be censored, and what projects critical of Israel constitute “incitement.”

The Failure of the Loyalty in Culture Bill

The bill did not become law.

On 26thNovember, the vote on the bill’s final reading was postponed indefinitely: following the resignation of Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman in protest against a ceasefire in Gaza, the ruling coalition lacks a stable majority.

Writing in Ha’aretz, Yossi Verter notes that despite Regev’s failure, the state still possessed the power to cut state funding to organisations which reject Israel’s self-description as a ‘Jewish and democratic state’, or that mark Israeli Independence Day as a day of mourning.

Einat Weizman, in conversation with Dareen Tatour, commented:

‘To my regret (unfortunately), loyalty in culture has existed long before the bill did. Most artists realized the national identity of the period and they know very well the subjects that could cause them trouble and the subjects that are easier on them to talk about and that receive support and encouragement; several years ago, a new prize was created, “The Zionist Creative Works Prize.” Several artists use self-censorship on their creations, they use allusions and symbols instead of talking about specific things as they are. I believe that the status quo here is very crucial and very critical to the point that there is no time to use symbols.’

Art.net has reported protests against the bill. On 25thNovember, artists came to burn their work in the centre of Tel Aviv, ‘to sacrifice them as victims of the loyalty law’. ‘We are sacrificing culture for politics,’ said sculptor Sigalit Landau. ‘These people don’t understand culture and how much love is needed to bring something into the world.’

The Disloyal (1)

Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar is one of the pioneers of Arabic hip-hop. Along with his group DAM, he has adopted the artform to tell stories of the street culture of Lod, or Al-Lyd, once a Palestinian city with a majority Arab population.

‘Hip hop just opened the door for me,’ Nafar told Tom Barnes of the mic website in 2017. ‘I started comparing things between Malcolm and the Black Panthers and the PLO and whatever the Palestinian people were going through. It’s weird that I had to go to the West to come back and explore my eastern roots.’

Central to Nafar’s work is the ongoing catastrophe of the occupation:

Who’s a terrorist? I’m a terrorist?

How am I a terrorist while I live in my country

Who’s a terrorist? You’re a terrorist!

You’ve taken everything I own while I’m living in my homeland.

Ha’aretz reports that the student union at an academic college in northern Israel has cancelled a performance by Nafar, scheduled for 28th November. A representative of the student union told Nafar’s manager that she did not want ‘unpleasant friction’.  In a WhatsApp message she added that ‘she just wanted to be certain that there simply won’t be anything political in the performance.’

Nafar said after the cancellation that the request for him to avoid the use of his political views in his concert ‘shows that something very bad is seeping into the student union.’ It wanted to silence his voice as part of ‘the overall war against the Palestinian narrative’.

Attorney Sawsan Zaher of the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel said the union’s move discriminated against Arab students because ‘they are denied the right to be exposed to art and shows that are compatible with their views.’ She said the decision reflected an internalization of a ‘dangerous message’ and was a result of a ‘particularly racist and radical wave of legislation’ that includes the ‘cultural loyalty’ bill.

The Disloyal (2)

Lina Makhul is an American-Palestinian singer who in 2017 won the Israeli version of The Voice.

‘Statements obtained by this newspaper,’ runs an article in Yedioth Ahronoth (16thNovember) ‘point to problematic behaviour on the part of [this] Arab singer who was born in the U.S. and grew up in Acre. According to the statements, Makhul refuses to perform on Independence Day, defines herself not infrequently as a Palestinian with an Israeli passport and recently cancelled participation in a song recorded for the organization Israeli Flying Aid because its logo is a Star of David symbol.’

Makhul has denied making the comments attributed to her.

Itay Stern, writing in Ha’aretz, recalls that in an interview published by a magazine owned by Yedioth Ahronoth a year ago, Makhul said: ‘I am a native of the United States, I am an Israeli citizen and I am Palestinian. It’s very clear. These are facts; it’s not something I can choose.’ Asked about her Palestinian identify, she said: ‘When I am asked what my ethnic origin is, I say my great-grandmother is Palestinian. They lived here their whole lives and so did their children and my parents as well. So it’s like nothing changed here except for the country’s name.’

Stern quotes some of the Israeli journalists have defended Makhul. Chen Lieberman, Channel 10 News’ culture editor, wrote on Twitter: ‘Every Arab singer will now know that she must not express her political beliefs not only in public, but also in private forums in case Yedioth reporters hear and tattle.’

Hadas Bashan wrote: ‘Peak Zionism: If they perform on Independence Day, we’ll wrap them in a bear hug and boast about how good it is to be Arabs here; if they don’t perform on Independence Day, they’re traitors.’

The price of breaking the cultural boycott

Writing in Mondoweiss (11thSeptember), Jonathan Ofir welcomes the decision by Lana del Rey, following dialogue with Palestinians, to cancel her scheduled September appearance at the Meteor festival in Northern Israel. Her decision initiated a wave of some 20 other cancellations.

Ofir recalls that when the UN imposed a cultural boycott on South Africa in 1980, the hotel magnate Sol Kerzner offered lavish sums to international artists who were willing to defy the boycott by performing in Sun City, in the Bantustan of Bophuthatswana. Frank Sinatra performed there in 1981 for $2 million.

Meteor made available similar, off-the-scale deals: $700,000, according to Variety, nine times Del Rey’s usual appearance fee.

Palestine Literature Festival: the price of attendance

Rafique Gangat reports at length in Gulf News on Kalimat, the Palestine Festival of Literature, which was held in in occupied Jerusalem, Nablus, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Haifa in November. Kalimat, in the words of one of its co-ordinators, Mahmoud Muna, aims ‘to generate and widen existing discourses and practices of writing, shedding light on how writing can serve as an exercise in agency, humanism, creativity and resistance’.

The event was overshadowed by the detention and deportation by the Israeli authorities of bestselling Palestinian writer Susan Abulhawa, author of Mornings in Jenin. After being denied entry to her homeland, and held in a prison cell, Abulhawa was flown back to the United States, she spoke via Skype to an audience in the Palestine Heritage Museum in Jerusalem:

‘There is no more appropriate place than Dar Al Tifel [the museum] to read this statement: the bitter irony of our condition is not lost on me. I, a daughter of the land, of a family rooted at least 900 years in the land, and who spent much of her childhood in Jerusalem, was being deported from her homeland by sons and daughters of recent arrivals, who came to Palestine mere decades ago with European-born ethos of racial Darwinism, invoking biblical fairy tales and divinely ordained entitlement. The true vulgarity is the way they have taken and continue to take everything from us, how they have carved out our hearts, stolen our everything, and occupied our history. I want to leave with one more thought I had in that jail cell. Israel is spiritually, emotionally, and culturally small, despite the large guns they point at us — or perhaps because of them. It is to their own detriment that they cannot accept our presence in our homeland, because our humanity remains intact and our art is beautiful and life-affirming, and we aren’t going anywhere but home.’

The patience of activism

Anthroboycott, the website of Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions, republishes this, from Howard Zinn.

You do things again and again, and nothing happens. You have to do things, do things, do things: you have to light that match, light that match, light that match, not knowing how often it’s going to sputter and go out and at what point it’s going to take hold. . .Things take a long time. It requires patience, but not a passive patience–the patience of activism. . .We should be encouraged by historical examples of social change, by how surprising changes take place suddenly, when you least expect it, not because of a miracle from on high, but because people have laboured patiently for a long time. (Howard Zinn, The Historic Unfulfilled Promise [2012], pp. 46-47).

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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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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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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Artists’ statements on Trump and occupied Jerusalem

Today’s edition of The Guardian (December 12) carries a letter signed by one hundred artists, including prominent writers, filmmakers, and musicians, in response to Trump’s ‘recognition’ of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.   The signatories, who include actors Mark Ruffalo and Tilda Swinton and musician Peter Gabriel, said:

In recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Donald Trump seeks to achieve through a declaration what Israel has been trying to do for fifty years through force of arms: to erase Palestinians, as a political and cultural presence, from the life of their own city […]

We reject Trump’s collusion with such racist manipulation, and his disregard for international law. We deplore his readiness to crown the Israeli military conquest of East Jerusalem and his indifference to Palestinian rights.

As artists and as citizens, we challenge the ignorance and inhumanity of these policies, and celebrate the resilience of Palestinians living under occupation.

The full list of signatories is published here.

Separately, some of the artists have issued their own individual statements, one of them in verse. We are proud to publish responses by poet Michael Rosen, musicians Peter Gabriel and Robert Wyatt, playwright Caryl Churchill, writers Selma Dabbagh, Hari Kunzru and Ahmed Masoud, producer Kate Parker, filmmaker Ken Loach, and more below.

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Israel’s apartheid regime salutes Nick Cave

Musician and writer Nick Cave declared at a press conference on Sunday that he wanted to ‘make a principled stand’ by crossing the Palestinian boycott picket line, dismissing widespread calls to cancel his group the Bad Seeds’ two concerts in Tel Aviv.  Cave’s words have found him a new fan-base in the form of Israel’s government: there has been an outpouring of public endorsements from its foreign ministry and diplomatic missions across Europe, the U.S., and Australia, as well as from numerous lobby groups.

We have sampled, and reproduced below, tweets from ten Israeli government bodies and spokespeople and seven lobby groups, all of which work hard to counter the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) human rights movement and promote Israel’s interests.

Nick Cave declared his love for Israel, and the Israeli regime reciprocated, providing further proof, if any were needed, of the propaganda value to Israel of appearances by international artists.  Cave has gifted Israel’s government a PR coup. Yet Israel’s imposition of decades of military occupation and apartheid against the indigenous Palestinian population is increasingly being challenged by principled solidarity, including from artists. Instead of helping Israel’s regime to whitewash its violations of Palestinian human rights, we invite Cave to support those working for freedom and rights for all. Continue reading

Leading writers respond to Nick Cave

Israel’s officials wasted no time in reciprocating Nick Cave’s declaration of love for Israel, made at his recent press conference there. Today, leading writers have responded to the musician and author’s claims about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.  These statements, published below, follow responses from artists including Brian Eno and Roger Waters. 

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Artswatch Palestine: August-September 2017

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

The Palestine Museum: in search of connectedness

August saw the opening of the Palestine Museum at Bir Zeit. Its first major exhibition, Jerusalem Lives, aims to speak about Jerusalem to Palestinians throughout the occupied West Bank who are prevented from visiting the city.  The exhibition registers Jerusalem’s diminishing place in the world: ethnic domination and the relentless takeover of Palestinian neighbourhoods, are turning Jerusalem from a global city into one which is losing its connectedness to other places. Nigel Wilson in Al Jazeera quotes curator Reem Fadda on a sound installation by Emily Jacir in the museum’s gardens: she asked the taxi drivers ‘to recreate the emotion that was there when they used to take travellers all across the cities of Palestine, from Lyd to Ramle to Ramallah and across the borders into Arab cities; they used to go to Damascus, Beirut and it was all connected’.

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Why is Jewish Community Centre JW3 celebrating Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat?

AN OPEN LETTER TO RAYMOND SIMONSON,
CEO OF JW3 JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTRE LONDON

From Artists for Palestine UK
Sunday 10 September 2017, London.

Dear Raymond Simonson,

We’re reading the blurb for Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat’s presentation on Tuesday at JW3, and curious to know if JW3 as an organisation supports the views it expresses.

The blurb says ‘Nir Barkat was 7 years old…when Israel’s capital was finally reunited’.   You will know that the United Nations Security Council, the UN General Assembly, and the International Court of Justice consider that East Jerusalem is Palestinian territory illegally occupied by Israel.   Where does JW3 stand?

The blurb refers to ‘Jerusalem at 50’ (presumably fifty years of Israeli conquest, since Jerusalem has been in existence in some form since the Canaanites), and calls this ‘the fulfilment of a 2000-year-old dream’.

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Artists slam Israel’s planned occupation of London’s Roundhouse

Roger Waters, Ken Loach, Caryl Churchill and Thurston Moore are among many leading artists calling for London’s celebrated Roundhouse to cancel its involvement with a festival designed to promote Israel as a progressive and liberal destination with a ‘glittering’ capital city.

TLV in LDN is supposedly a celebration of culture, but its director Marc Worth has revealed in an interview that the festival is the dream child of Israel’s diplomatic mission in the UK, and was conceived in response to the growing movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). BDS seeks to highlight Israel’s systemic violation of Palestinian human, civil and political rights. Continue reading

The naked face of Israel – Ilan Pappé on rebranding Zionism

 

In 2007, Wonderwoman star Gal Gadot was poster girl for a new Israeli branding campaign.
Credit: Maxim

In 2007 a poster of an almost naked Miss Israel, Gal Gadot, and a poster of four fit young men, equally barely dressed, were the faces of Israel in a campaign named Brand Israel, commissioned by the government and the Jewish Agency for Israel. The young woman (Miss Israel 2004 and a recent star in the Hollywood blockbuster Fast and Furious) was meant to attract the heterosexual young American to a rebranded Jewish State, while the young men became the faces advertising Tel Aviv as the gay capital of Israel. One wonders how Theodore Herzl or even David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin would have regarded this presentation of Zionism as a soft-porn wet dream. But policymakers had decided that anything and everything was appropriate in the struggle to fend off Israel’s negative image.

This passage appears in the Epilogue  to “The Idea of Israel” by Israeli historian Ilan Pappé, published in 2014 with the subtitle “A History of Power and Knowledge”.   A “mordantly witty book” (Jewish Quarterly), it shows how Zionism operates outside of the government and military in areas such as Israel’s literature, education system, media and cinema. Pappé reveals how successive generations of intellectuals have framed the 1948 conflict as a liberation campaign, creating a foundation myth that went unchallenged in Israeli society until very recently. Its perpetuation is the goal of a “Brand Israel” campaign which continues to this day.

Prof. Pappé has kindly made his Epilogue, which focuses on Brand Israel, available to supporters of the boycott movement which seeks to unmask and challenge the weaponisation of culture in Israel’s war against Palestinians.

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Open Letter to the Board of Deputies of British Jews

London, 30 August 2017

Dear Gillian Merron,

What are we to make of the UK’s main Jewish organisation calling for the Barbican to remove a video artwork from a science-fiction themed exhibition?

Apparently you had not seen ‘In the Future They Ate from the Finest Porcelain’, the video installation by Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour and Danish author Søren Lind, when you chose to write to the Barbican to demand its removal.

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Artswatch Palestine: June-July 2017

Our regular report on Israel’s war on Palestinian cultural life and expression.
[Pictured: Palestinian-American rapper and video-maker, Abu Rahss]

HOW ISRAEL MAINTAINS A FREE AND THRIVING PRESS

In May 2015, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2222, on the protection of journalists in conflict situations. The resolution ‘condemned all violations and abuses committed against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel in situations of armed conflict’.

During the debate on the resolution, Israel’s delegate, David Roet, spoke in praise of his country, ‘a model for how a democratic nation, even while facing immense challenges could maintain a free and thriving press’.

In a statement released on Friday 28th July, the NGO Reporters sans Frontières condemned Israeli forces for using ‘intimidation, denial of access, violence and arrests to limit or prevent media coverage of the demonstrations and clashes sparked by the introduction of additional security measures around the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem’

In a statement released on 31st July, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists condemned a pre-dawn raid by Israeli forces on the headquarters of the media production company Palmedia. They ransacked Palmedia’s offices, and destroyed equipment.

In a statement released on 6th August, the Committee to Protect Journalists condemned Israel’s decision, announced by Communications Minister Ayoob Kara, to close Al-Jazeera’s offices in Israel, revoke the credentials of its journalists and censor its transmissions.

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Israeli cultural whitewash fails to impress at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

For the second August in a row, advocates for Israel have used Edinburgh’s huge annual cultural gathering as cover for an attempt to whitewash the state’s decades of oppression and racist discrimination against Palestinians.

Under the rubric of coexistence and cultural cooperation, this year’s International Shalom Festival, staged over three days at a community secondary school, sought to avoid the opprobrium heaped upon its blatantly propagandistic 2016 incarnation.

Last year the event’s organisers, known for working with the Israeli Embassy to undermine and oppose campaigning work in support of Palestinian rights, proudly proclaimed it as a major “Israel advocacy” initiative. This year the same groups – the Confederation of Friends of Israel Scotland (COFIS) and StandWithUs – have tried to entice audiences with a vision of Israel as a haven of tolerance and harmony offering “real examples of coexistence”.

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Ken Loach has nothing to apologise for

UPDATE:
Statement from Paul Laverty, Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien 18.07.2017
Award-Winning Filmmaker Ken Loach Donates Film Screening Proceeds to BDS Movement 05.10.2017

 

Statement from Artists for Palestine UK
London, July 15

As UK band Radiohead prepares to perform in Israel on July 19 in direct breach of the Palestinian boycott, leading boycott supporter Ken Loach has faced defamatory attacks on his integrity.

Loach is committed to supporting Palestinian rights

Loach is one of over 1,220 signatories to the Artists’ Pledge for Palestine who have made the following commitment:

‘… In response to the call from Palestinian artists and cultural workers for a cultural boycott of Israel, we pledge to accept neither professional invitations to Israel, nor funding, from any institutions linked to its government until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.’

Because Artists for Palestine UK (APUK)  has always understood the complex problems that artists from all disciplines face around rights ownership once an artwork enters the market, we have been explicit about which practical steps can be expected of artists who support the Palestinian call for boycott, and which  cannot. The guidelines, which have been on the Artists for Palestine UK website since we launched in February 2015, include the following question and answer:

‘Q. I am an artist and I do not have control over who buys the art I produce, nor the circulation of that work once it has been sold. Am I in a position to sign the Pledge?

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Artswatch Palestine: April-May 2017

‘Artswatch’ is a regular digest that monitors attacks on Palestinian cultural life, creative resistance, and cultural interventions in Israel-Palestine. In this edition:
* Pinkwashing rejected
* The trial of Dareen Tatour
* The detention of Abu Sakha
* The banning of International Women’s Day
* A war of aggression on Amazon
* Ten years of PalFest
* On the red carpet in Gaza
* Regev’s dress at Cannes

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