Artswatch Palestine: April – July 2019

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

Our findings suggest that sniper bullets manufactured by Sierra were used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) against civilian protesters in Gaza in 2018″
Forensic Architecture, May 2019.
photo: Natchez Shooters Supplies

Art and Power

The submission of the research group Forensic Architecture to the 2019 Biennial at the Whitney Museum in New York included an extensive investigation into the use of tear gas and bullets manufactured by companies led by Warren Kanders, a Whitney vice chair.

The companies’ products had been used against migrants at the US-Mexico border wall and in other states including Bahrain, Turkey and Kuwait.

Subsequently, Forensic Architecture discovered new evidence that directly linked the weapons manufacturer to Israel’s violence on the Gaza ‘border’.  The evidence, reported HyperAllergic on 20th July, took the form of an ‘unexploded open-tip bullet in the sand surrounding the Al-Bureji protest camp near the border’The bullet was intact and matched the analysis that Forensic Architecture had conducted on ammunition manufactured by one of Kanders’ companies, Sierra Bullets.

Forensic Architecture, like several other exhibitors, withdrew from the Biennial. ‘Refusal to take a stand is complacency,’ said Nicholas Galanin, another of those who withdrew, ‘especially when you are an American institution with so much influence and voice.’

Kanders, who has donated $10 million to the museum, then resigned from its board, and the exhibitors rejoined the Biennial, keeping their work in the show.

Zachary Small, who broke the story on Hyperallergic, told the Daily Beast that these events were ‘part of a larger conversation in the art world, in which artists are increasingly being asked to be the tip of the spear in larger political conflicts, often at the bidding of wealthy patrons and institutions’.

Palfest re-formed

Between 2008 and 2018, Palfest, the Palestine Festival of Literature, brought together over 200 international and Palestinian writers. Following the Festival the visiting authors would return home to speak and write about what they had experienced in Palestine.

After a year’s break, Palfest returned this Spring – to Ramallah, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nablus and Haifa. It has a new focus on ‘writing that clarifies and frames the connections between the colonization of Palestine and the accelerating systems of control and dispossession around the world’. The festival drew parallels, for instance,  between Palestine and North America.

Ursula Lindsey in Al-Fanar Media, reported on Palfest Phase 2. ‘One of the clear futures we’re facing,’ Palfest organiser Omar Robert Hamilton told her, ‘is one in which an increasingly small elite controls the last two generations of a dwindling planet’s resources, with a massively expanded police force defending it.’

‘Israel, ‘Hamilton went on, ‘is at the forefront of that—of the development of surveillance algorithms, technology, weapons, the expertise of population control and resource control’. Palfest is built around the understanding that the situation in Palestine is part of ‘a clear and present danger facing everyone across the planet’.

Borders and visas

Cultural projects are at the heart of Palestinian resistance. As Rafeef Ziadah commented to al-Jazeera’s Samira Shackle in August, ‘they are a crucial part of movements for freedom, bringing people together in struggle, challenging negative perceptions and stereotypes, and affirming life against the organised brutality of occupation’.

Israeli governments have sought to cut off the supply lines on which cultural production depends. Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, reports that Israel is refusing to issue work permits for international academics working at Palestinian universities in the occupied West Bank and is ‘escalating a harsh visa policy that is forcing them to abandon their students and leave the country’. Among the institutions affected is the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, which is linked to Birzeit University. In 2018-2019, eight international faculty out of 19 were denied visa extensions or entry.

The Palestinian Youth Orchestra, founded in 2004, faces similar difficulties. Ziadah argues that the PYO, which recruits young musicians from inside and outside Palestine, is in its very nature a threat to Israeli policy. It does not have to be explicitly a political project in order to incur the hostility of Israel: its very existence ‘challenges in fundamental ways this system of oppression that segregates Palestinians from one another and from the rest of the world’.

Musicians based in the Gaza Strip  have repeatedly had travel permits denied by the Israeli authorities, even when their visas to travel overseas have been granted. Palestinian musicians living in Lebanon or Syria are often unable to get permission to travel to the West Bank to perform. The PYO’s rehearsals sometimes have to take place via Skype.

In the UK, the Home Office has added its own bricks to the wall: in 2015, it refused a visa to the Palestinian photographer Hamde Abu Rahma. Last year, it was the turn of the artist Malak Mattar. In June it denied entry to the film-makers Yousef Nateel and Hussein Owda.

Reinventing Jerusalem

In Silwan, east Jerusalem, large-scale demolition of Palestinian homes has been accompanied by an archaeological project which seeks to replace the complexities of history with a single story.

Fox News reported on 4th July that ‘Israel has officially opened a reconstructed stairway, known as “Pilgrim’s Road” that Jesus is believed to have walked on in ancient Jerusalem as another place with the significance of ‘biblical proportions to billions, especially for Judeo-Christian visitors to the Holy Land.’ The Jerusalem Post writes that archaeologists are convinced that this is the path millions of Jews took three times a year when making a pilgrimage to the Temple.

Writing in +972 Chemi Shiff and Yonathan Mizrachi give a different perspective. They point out that in most sites that have been inhabited by countless cultures over the centuries, the archaeological record usually reveals a story of complex relations between the various cultures that resided in any specific area. They criticise a narrative which gives primacy to one ‘ethno-national group’s exclusive claims’ and deplore an archaeological method which rejects digging down through different strata in favour of excavating a single pathway, a horizontal tunnel.

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry has issued a statement condemning all attempts by Israel to ‘reinvent the identity of the Old City of Jerusalem.’ Israeli commentators, meanwhile, see the opening of the road as a pivotal event in establishing Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.

A spectacle of demolition

In April, the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute and the Negotiations Affairs Department of the State of Palestine published a report on health, education, welfare and culture in East Jerusalem. It concluded that Palestinian residents were involved in a daily struggle trying to preserve their identity, their cultural heritage and their right to stay in their city. With partial exceptions in the field of music, cultural institutions were in decline, deprived of funds and severely damaged by restrictions on movement. More than this, a living intangible cultural heritage – of oral traditions, performing arts, local knowledge, and traditional skills – was under threat. Palestinian people were being forced out of Jerusalem, in what for some was a second exile.

On 22ndJuly, these developments accelerated rapidly. 700 police and 200 soldiers moved into the neighbourhood of Wadi Hummus to demolish 70 Palestinian homes, which were deemed to be built too close to the Separation Wall. ‘A demolition of this scale and visibility,’ writes Jeff Halper in The Nation, ‘cannot be understood without grasping its political message; in fact, the scale and visibility are the message’.

The Israelis’ message, Halper goes on, is crystal clear: ‘we do not recognize Palestinians as a side with legitimate national rights and claims, and we will no longer negotiate with them. The entire land of Israel is ours, and we are taking possession of it. You Arabs have three options: Submit and accept the fact that you are living as either second-class citizens or noncitizens in a Jewish state, leave, or if you choose to resist, die.’

A spectacle of punishment

Dareen Tatour’s ordeal is not yet over, reports Oren Ziv on +972. Convicted in 2018 of incitement to violence over a poem she published on Facebook, cleared on appeal in May this year, she now finds herself involved in legal action once again, as a result of the prosecution’s submission that her conviction should be reinstated. In September Israel’s Supreme Court will rule on the admissibility of this submission. Tatour, meanwhile, has launched a petition against the prosecution’s new move, stating:

‘We are together. We will not be silenced. We protect art, poetry and freedom of expression.I know that I am not alone in this battle. I will not give up as I know it is a collective struggle to protect our basic rights. Despite the hardship of facing a new trial, I will continue my struggle for freedom of expression and especially artistic expression. This trial is not my personal trial. It is the trial of every artist, poet, writer and human being.’

Lopez performs in Israel, and Egypt

Ignoring Palestinian calls not to perform in Israel, the singer Jennifer Lopez turned up in Tel Aviv on 1st August, to perform at Hayarkon Park, a venue built on the site of a Palestinian village ethnically cleansed by the Israeli army in 1948.  Lopez tweeted , ‘The mother land Israel!!! First time here. I’m in love!!’

Lopez went on to give a concert in Egypt. The performance at the Seaside Beach Club, reported The Times of Israel, ‘drew some 2,000 people, including Egyptian celebrities and government ministers.’ Tickets were priced at up to four times the average monthly wage.

At the event were the Egyptian Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr, the Minister of Social Solidarity, Ghada Wali, and the Minister of Planning and Administrative Reform, Hala Al-Saeed. Nasr posted a photo to Instagram of herself and the other ministers.

 

 

 

Open letter to UK artists booked for Pop-Kultur Berlin 2019

 

Dear UK artists booked for Pop-Kultur Berlin festival 2019,

Artists for Palestine UK has joined the call from Palestinians, and also from Israeli artists and Israeli human rights defenders, and from LGBTQI+ campaigners in Berlin, for participating artists to withdraw from Pop-Kultur Berlin 2019, in protest at the festival’s continued partnership with the Israeli embassy.

As you may know, the far-right Israeli government cynically exploits the arts to improve its image abroad and to distract from state-sanctioned discrimination and violence against millions of Palestinians on the basis of their identity. For this reason, Palestinians asked Pop-Kultur Berlin to end its partnership with the Israeli state.

Art matters. The arts should not be used to whitewash a regime whose apartheid character has become explicit and undeniable.

We hope that UK-based artists who are scheduled to appear at Pop-Kultur Berlin 2019 will chose to stand with Palestinian artists and their audiences – be they living under military occupation in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem or Gaza, be they living as second class citizens within Israel’s borders in historic Palestine, or in exile in the refugee camps and in the diaspora. 

Last year, Israel targeted and completely destroyed the al-Mishal Cultural Centre in Gaza. The UN has found that photo-journalists in Gaza have been deliberately targeted and shot by Israeli army snipers since 2018. Palestinian photographers and journalists in the occupied West Bank and Jersualem are routinely harassed, assaulted and arrested while trying to do their job.  Palestinian on-line space is heavily policed and many face arrest simply for reporting on their own experience.  For example, a Palestinian poet was recently released from almost three years in jail and under house arrest for the ‘crime’ of posting one of her poems on Facebook. 

The Israeli state has buried and erased Palestinian cultural heritage since its founding, and today the government is systematically removing historic documents from its own archives in order to conceal proof of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. Two weeks ago the Israeli state blew up 13 Palestinian apartment blocks in occupied East Jerusalem, demonstrating the impunity with which Israel continues ethnic cleansing policies in plain sight, confident that our government/s will not press for sanctions in order to defend the Palestinian population.

As with South African apartheid, when all avenues for seeking justice have been exhausted, boycott is a non-violent weapon of the weak against the powerful. Our strength lies in our collectivity. We urge you to join the fourteen artists from six countries, including eight from the UK, who withdrew from the last two editions of the festival following appeals. Please support the Palestinian call, and to refuse Pop-Kultur Berlin’s normalization of Israeli apartheid.

Yours sincerely,

Artists for Palestine UK

Photo credit: Palestinian band ‘Al-Anqaa’ play in the ruins of the Al-Mishal cultural centre, Gaza, shortly after the Israeli military destroyed it in  August 2018 (©MEE/Mohammed Asad)

Boots Riley, Naomi Klein among 100+ figures demanding free speech on BDS movement for Palestinian rights

Over one hundred high-profile artists and public figures are expressing dismay at political repression against  the BDS movement for Palestinian rights, slamming “attempts in Germany to impose political conditions” on artists such as Talib Kweli (pictured).  In an open letter published in the Guardian (and copied below), a broad range of artists from all fields and genres signed but also figures  from the field of human rights including: Index on Censorship, Patrisse Cullors co-founder of Black Lives Matter, human rights lawyer and former judge Sir Stephen Sedley, and philosopher Judith Butler.

“We are shocked that Open Source Festival, Düsseldorf has disinvited black American rapper Talib Kweli, leading to the cancellation of his Germany tour, after he refused to denounce the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

Attempts in Germany to impose political conditions on artists who support Palestinian rights, particularly targeting black, POC and queer artists, comprise a shameful trend of censorship, anti-Palestinian repression, and attacks on freedom of conscience.

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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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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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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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