Susan Sarandon, Claire Foy, Mark Ruffalo, Eric Cantona call for an immediate end to Israeli attacks on Palestinian human rights groups

More than 100 public figures urge the international community to protect Palestinian human rights defenders.

For immediate release: Wednesday Nov 17th 2021

Musicians Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Jarvis Cocker and Massive Attack, film directors Laura Poitras, Jim Jarmusch, Costa Gravas and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, actors Mark Rylance, Tilda Swinton, Simon Pegg, Richard Gere, authors Philip Pullman, Naomi Klein, Irvine Welsh, Colm Tóibín and Monica Ali — are among dozens of high profile figures who have signed a statement [1] criticising the Israeli government for launching what they say is:

“An unprecedented and blanket attack on Palestinian human rights defenders beginning with the designation […] of six leading Palestinian human rights organizations as “terrorist” groups.” 

The statement goes on to warn that the Israeli military order that outlaws six “most eminent” Palestinian organizations in the occupied West Bank:

“…puts at risk not just the organizations themselves, but the entire Palestinian civil society and the tens of thousands of Palestinians they serve everyday.”

The artists urge:

“We call on all persons of conscience across the globe to stand with us. We call on the international community to #StandWithThe6 and protect Palestinian human rights defenders.”

Further to the joint statement, musician Peter Gabriel said:

“The Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which was adopted in 1998 by the UN General Assembly, makes clear that an occupying power with a true commitment to human rights would “protect and encourage” human rights defenders, and “not ostracize, harass or silence them”. Those brave enough and committed to guard our human rights, as these six organisations are, especially in difficult and dangerous situations, must be defended.”

Music producer Brian Eno commented on the situation:

“This is beyond cruelty. It’s savagery, barbarism. Israel stands bathed in shame.”

Author and former Greek Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis urged for sanctions: 

“The decades-long failure of governments to hold Israel to account for its repression of the Palestinians has led to this situation. The international community must speak out and sanction Israel, now.”

Ken Loach cited a statement by Amnesty International and called for accountability:

“Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are right when they say that this is ‘an attack by Israel on the international human rights movement’.  When will the Israeli government be held to account for its crimes? Political leaders cannot claim to support the rule of law and then do deals with Israel when its racist oppression of Palestinians is plain for all to see. ”

Screenwriter Paul Laverty (I, Daniel Blake, Looking For Eric) said:

“Once Governments start shutting down human rights organisations two simple questions ring in our ears… What are they hiding? What are they scared of? The answers are always revealing.”

Award-winning novelist Kamila Shamsie called on others to listen to Palestinian voices:

“For many years now, Palestinian writers, thinkers, and human rights campaigners have been calling for meaningful solidarity from people around the world. The least we can do is listen, amplify their voices, and above all, refuse to be complicit with the system that so cruelly oppresses them.

I #StandWithThe6 and all human rights defenders.”

Tunde Adebimpe of the Brooklyn-based band TV on the Radio, commented:

“Criminalising unions and human rights organisations are actions akin to those of a totalitarian regime.  This really is intolerable – for Palestinians as it would be for any of us.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. The statement in full:

Over the past two weeks, Israel has launched an unprecedented and blanket attack on Palestinian human rights defenders beginning with the designation, on 19 October 2021, of six leading Palestinian human rights organizations as “terrorist” groups. The organizations include: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq), Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC). Still, despite international condemnation by the UN, international human rights groups, and government officials, the Israeli occupation has doubled down in their crackdown and issued a military order that outlaws, entirely, the six Palestinian organizations in the West Bank. 

The designations target six of the most eminent Palestinian human rights defenders engaged in critical human rights work and cover all aspects of civil society in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Addameer serves as one of the biggest organizations providing direct legal support to Palestinian political prisoners. Al-Haq, the oldest human rights organization both in Palestine and Middle East,extensively documents international humanitarian law and international human rights law violations in the occupied territory, specialising in individual and corporate accountability. Bisan Center produces extensive research and development reports in support of the poor and marginalized communities. DCI-P is a local affiliate of an international human rights organization that works to protect the rights of Palestinian children. The UAWC supports thousands of Palestinian farmers and their families amid the encroachment and violence of illegal Israeli settlements. The UPWC is a feminist, progressive, and grassroots organization that aims to empower Palestinian women. The vital work of these six organizations to protect and empower Palestinians and hold Israel accountable for its gross human rights violations and apartheid regime of institutionalized racial discriminationis precisely the work that Israel is trying to end.

Israel’s designation of these six Palestinian organizations as “terrorist” groups, and the military order that outlaws them places the safety of the organizations and their staff at imminent risk. The military order allows for Israeli occupation forces to raid their offices, forcibly shut them down, arbitrarily arrest their staff to be tried under Israeli military courts, and institute other reprisals including travel bans and residency revocations against their members. The threat of retaliation is real, and puts at risk not just the organizations themselves, but the entire Palestinian civil society and the tens of thousands of Palestinians they serve everyday.

To this end, we call on all persons of conscience across the globe to stand with us. We call on the international community to #StandWithThe6 and protect Palestinian human rights defenders, and demand that Israel rescind the terrorist designations immediately.

Full list of 124 signatories:  

Kevin Macdonald, film director, UK

Peter Gabriel, musician, founder, Womad Festival, UK

Mike Leigh, film director, UK

Jodie Evans, film producer, USA

Robert Wyatt, musician, UK

Alfreda Benge, artist, UK

Aki Kaurismaki, film director, Finland

Liam Cunningham, actor, Ireland

Susan Sarandon, actor, USA

Ece Temelkuran, author, Turkey 

Tilda Swinton, actor, UK

Jim Jarmusch, film director, USA

Laura Poitras, film director, USA 

Simon Fisher Turner, musician, UK 

Iciar Bollain, film director, Spain 

Kleber Mendonça Filho, film director, Brasil 

Julie Christie, actor, UK 

V (formerly known as Eve Ensler), Playwright, USA 

Mark Ruffalo, actor, USA

Philip Pullman, author, UK

Stephen Dillane, actor, UK

Brian Eno, artist, UK

Roger Waters, musician, UK

Ken Loach, film director, UK

Paul Laverty, writer, UK

Yann Martel, author, Canada

AL Kennedy, author, UK 

Naomi Klein, author, Canada

Robert Guediguian, film director, France

Asif Kapadia, film director, UK

Juliet Stevenson, actor, UK

Yanis Varoufakis, author, Greece

Peter Kosminsky, screenwriter and director, UK

Titi Robin, musician, France

Etienne Balibar, philosopher, France 

Harriet Walter, actor, UK

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, film director, Thailand

Bella Freud, artist, UK

David Michôd, film director, Australia

Claire Foy, actor, UK

Mark Rylance, actor, UK

Alfonso Cuaron, film director, Mexico

Thurston Moore, musician, USA

Jeremy Deller, artist, UK 

Kamila Shamsie, author, UK

Monica Ali, author, UK

Eric Cantona, actor, France 

Phil Manzanera, musician, UK 

Laurie Anderson, artist, USA

Michèle Gavras, producer, France

Annemarie Jacir, film director, Palestine 

Costa Gavras, film director, Greece 

Juan Diego Botto, actor and playwright, Spain 

Alberto San Juan, actor and playwright, Spain 

Carlos Bardem, actor and writer, Spain

Residente (René Pérez), singer, artist, writer, film director, Puerto Rico

Irvine Welsh, author, UK 

Tunde Adebimpe, musician, USA

David Byrne, musician, USA

Ohal Grietzer, musician, Israel

Tai Shani, visual artist, UK

Hany Abu-Assad, film director, Palestine 

Simon Pegg, actor, UK 

David Mitchell, author, UK 

Mira Nair, film director, India

Jarvis Cocker, musician, UK 

Fisher Stevens, director, USA 

Leopoldo Gout, artist, USA 

Julio Pérez del Campo, film director, Spain 

Alain Damasio, author, France

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, choreographer, Belgium 

Joe Sacco, comic book artist, journalist, USA 

Mercè Sampietro, actor, Spain 

Ian McEwan, author, UK

Colm Tóibín, author, Ireland

Elaine Mokhtefi, translator, USA

Madeleine Thien, author, Canada

Eliot Weinberger, author, USA

Sabrina Mahfouz, playwright and poet, UK

Joel Beinin, professor, USA

Omar Robert Hamilton, author, UK

John Oakes, publisher, USA

Mary Jane Nealon, poet, USA

Rachel Kushner, author, USA

Lina Meruane, author, Chile

Naomi Wallace, playwright, USA

Rashid Khalidi, author, Palestine

Ben Ehrenreich, author, USA

Adam Shatz, Writer, London Review of Books, USA

Farid Matuk, poet, USA

Michel Moushabeck, publisher, USA

Eileen Myles, poet, USA

Lila Abu-Lughod, Professor, USA

Natalie Diaz, poet, USA

Andrew Ross, New York University, USA

Zeina Azzam, poet, USA

Bernardine Dohrn, human rights advocate, USA

Molly Crabapple, author, USA

Jeffrey Sachs, University Professor at Columbia University, USA

Bruce Robbins, author, USA

Shuchi Saraswat, author, USA

James Schamus, screenwriter and producer, USA

Nancy Kricorian, writer, USA

Jacqueline Rose, author, UK

Andrew O’Hagan, author, UK

Hannah Khalil, playwright, Ireland 

Ritu Menon, publisher, India

Janne Teller, author, Denmark 

Nicholas Blincoe, author, UK

Rick Simonson, Bookseller, USA 

Brigid Keenan, author, UK

Massive Attack, band, UK

Chipo Chung, actor, UK

Richard Gere, actor, USA

Fredwreck, music producer, USA

Naomi Shihab Nye, poet, USA

Karthika Naïr, poet and librettist, France

Omar el-Khairy, playwright, UK

Edward Koren, writer, USA

Curtis Koren, cartoonist, USA

John McCarthy, writer, UK

Clive Oppenheimer, filmmaker, UK

John Burnside, writer, UK

Eberhard Kienle, writer, France

Anti-racism charity confirms Ken Loach as judge for its School Competition

For immediate release

  • Show Racism the Red Card has resisted pressure to ditch campaigning film-maker Ken Loach as a judge for its annual School Competition.
  • Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Mark Rylance, Miriam Margolyes OBE, Dame Marina Warner, Baroness Blackstone, Steve Coogan and many other leading figures have backed Loach.
  • Eric Cantona: Everybody knows Ken Loach is a warrior against injustice. Show Racism the Red Card is right to work with him.
  • Fellow filmmaker Mike Leigh: ‘The charity has unquestionably made the right moral decision.’ 
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