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.
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.
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.
Nick Cave has held a press conference in Israel, in which he explained he ‘decided to play in Israel to stand up to ‘anyone who tries to censor and silence musicians’. According to the NME: ‘The musician explained that his change in attitude came about when Brian Eno asked him to a sign a list called Artists For Palestine three years ago. “On a very intuitive level, [I] did not want to sign it,” he said. “There was something that stunk to me about that list.”
“So after a lot of thought and consideration I rang up my people and said, ‘We’re doing an European tour and Israel.’ Because it suddenly became very important to me to make a stand against those people who are trying to shut down musicians, to bully musicians, to censor musicians, and to silence musicians. At the end of the day, there’s maybe two reasons why I’m here. One is that I love Israel and I love Israeli people, and two is to make a principled stand against anyone who tries to censor and silence musicians. ”’
Today, in addition to a statement from Artists for Palestine UK, we are publishing a number responses to Cave’s comments from individual artists.
*UPDATE Thurston Moore comment added on 25.11.2017
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
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?
London, April 24th 2017
Dear Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien and Philip Selway,
You’re listed to play Tel Aviv in July this year.
We’d like to ask you to think again – because by playing in Israel you’ll be playing in a state where, UN rapporteurs say, ‘a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people’.
We understand you’ve been approached already by Palestinian campaigners. They’ve asked you to respect their call for a cultural boycott of Israel, and you’ve turned them down. Since Radiohead campaigns for freedom for the Tibetans, we’re wondering why you’d turn down a request to stand up for another people under foreign occupation. And since Radiohead fronted a gig for the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we’re wondering why you’d ignore a call to stand against the denial of those rights when it comes to the Palestinians.
- Mike Leigh, film director and five-times Oscar nominee said: “ A five-star trip to the land of their parents and grandparents is just what exhausted Palestinians from the refugee camps could do with. I think the world would be happy to see Israeli government money used for once to make reparations to Palestinians — and I hope the stars will agree.’
- Ken Loach, BAFTA nominee and Palme d’Or winner said: “Just think what $55,000 could do for Palestinians whose homes have been destroyed and their lands stolen. Let’s hope that film people can see through this crude propaganda.”
- Brian Eno, musician and composer suggested an alternative swag bag offering: “Visit Palestine! Enjoy a tear-gas filled weekend in an East Jerusalem ghetto!