Gaza Kids to Ireland 2017 Events and Fundraising

The Gaza Kids to Ireland are coming back!

As the trip last year was such an uplifting, joyous experience, we are doing it all again this summer! At the end of July, the kids from Al Helal Academy are coming to Ireland to play football and meet you!

The children will play against teams from Dublin, Leitrim, Kinvara, Limerick and Cork during their visit and will participate in family events. We want to show them some hospitality while they’re here so we hope you’ll come out to our events and support them.

You can read about last year here:Gaza Kids to Ireland – It Happened

If you want to give some money to the project, please do so here:  Donate!

July 20th

Limerick, Upstairs at Dolans – An Evening of Palestinian Music and Culture in Aid of the Gaza Kids to Ireland 8pm

July 20th

Gaza Kids Al Helal FC to Ballybrack FC! Fundraising gig July 20th 7.30pm Purty Kitchen, Dún Laoghaire

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July 23rd

Night at the Musicals in aid of Gaza Kids to Ireland 23rd July 8pm Civic Theatre, Tallaght. An evening of song and laughter featuring the songs of hit Broadway musicals such as Les Mis, Wicked, Rent, and more, performed by professionally trained singers. Tickets available here

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July 27th

Gaza Kids to Manorhamilton Table Quiz Thurs 27 July 8pm Gurn’s Bar, Manorhamilton, Leitrim. 

July 31st

Palestine Comes to Kinvara! Tully’s Bar 8.30 pm

Music, dance and spoken word with renowned Palestinian percussionist Raed Said and Irish musicians.

 

The kids have been invited to the Shamrock Rovers V Derry game on 4th August, this is the Gaza Kids to Tallaght page, they are doing great work!

Facebook   Gaza Action Ireland
Twitter @GazaAI1

Email: infogazaactionireland@gmail.com

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Gaza Action Ireland stands with the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign as Bank of Ireland closes its accounts

Gaza Action Ireland (GAI) stands with our colleagues in the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC)  and strongly condemns Bank of Ireland’s inexplicable and outrageous closure of their accounts.

The Bank’s action, which has caused financial difficulty and much administrative reorganisation to the IPSC is simply unacceptable and totally wrong. For a long established, well respected human rights organisation, itself a long standing client of said bank, to be treated in such a manner, with no explanation forthcoming and very little time to act on the directive, is absolutely shocking and seriously calls into question the Bank’s operations.

The IPSC is one of Ireland’s leading solidarity organisations, acting as it does for justice for the Palestinian people, and has the support of many members and organisations, including GAI. The Palestinian people have called for a campaign of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) while they are subjected to apartheid, ethnic cleansing and war crimes by the Israeli state. The IPSC advocates for BDS, as does GAI and thousands of people all over the world, from the very famous to the average person. The BDS campaign is legitimate and justified and, whether one agrees with it or not, is  everyone’s right to engage in.
The Bank of Ireland’s actions are in direct contradiction with the right to advocate for justice for Palestine, and we condemn them.

This is part of a broader attack on solidarity organisations. As apartheid Israel is losing the battle for public opinion as the world sees its crimes against the Palestinian people, the BDS campaign is becoming more of a target – because of its success.

We reiterate our support for our friends at the IPSC and call on the Bank of Ireland to reinstate their accounts.

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Gaza Kids to Ireland – Media

RTE – Ballybrack Match Report 

Irish Times – Children’s Football Team from Palestine Arrive for Match

Gaza Kids to Ireland – Sandymount Beach

Clare FM from 31.45 – Interview 

Clare FM article

Newstalk  Interview-  About ¼ way through

Newstalk article – The Kids are their Window to the World Outside

Newstalk – Watch Gaza Kids Leave Ireland

Electronic Intifada – Gaza Football Club Dazzles Ireland

The Soccer Show – Al Helal Gaza Academy V Kinvara United

Lmerick Post – Gaza Brings Fancy Footwork to Limerick

Wexford Welcome for Palestinian Youths

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Limerick Live – Limerick Hosts U 14 soccer Team from Gaza

Palestine Monitor – Gaza Children Return After a 10-day Football Trip in Ireland

Broadsheet – Meanwhile in Nenagh

Galway Bay FM – Gaza Children Visit Kinvara

PNN – Israel Didn’t Break Spirit of Gaza Kids to Ireland

Irish America – Gaza Kids to Ireland Scheme a Success

Ireland Today – Kids Football Team from Gaza Enjoy a Historic Trip to Ireland

Tipperary Star- Nenagh Opens its Doors to U14 Gaza Soccer Team

FM 104 – Gaza Kids Play Football on Southside

Zazafl: Gaza Kids to Ireland – It Happened

The Shebab from Al Helal

Blixa Bargeld and Teho Teardo, Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

Dear Blixa and Teho,

Since the beginning of this campaign, we have been pondering the fact that Blixa has made a film for television on the ex-Israeli musician and activist Dror Feiler, which is due to air on the Arte TV channel four days before Blixa’s own planned concert in Tel Aviv on 15 September.

It is commendable that this film will shine a light on Dror’s activities, which most significantly include his participation in several of the flotillas to break the Israeli government’s brutal siege of Gaza. However, Blixa’s planned concert in Tel Aviv, four days after the broadcast of this film, would completely negate any positive impact coming from it, and would amount to both an affirmation and amplification of Israeli propaganda. The proximity of the broadcast to Blixa’s scheduled breach of the Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) call inevitably gives the impression that the former in some way is expected to justify the latter. The Israeli government, by viewing “culture as a propaganda tool of the first rank”, has created a zero-sum game scenario, the iron logic of which allows for no ambiguity and can only be successfully opposed by a boycott. By weaponising culture itself, the Israeli government further compels artists to decide between providing it with further ammunition or refusing to be complicit in this. It is precisely for this reason that Palestinian civil society has called for a cultural boycott of Israel.

In addition, while the tension arising from the broadcast of the film and the breach of the boycott immediately afterwards appears to give rise to an interesting dialectic, this scenario is achieved at the expense of Palestinian suffering. It seems, therefore, that Blixa is instrumentalising Dror Feiler, but also, and more importantly, the wider political situation as a whole purely for effect. By the same process the Israeli government will be able to instrumentalise Blixa for its own propaganda aims. We wonder if Blixa feels comfortable being used by a state that employs culture as a weapon while also using physical weapons such as cluster bombs and white phosphorous against the Palestinian people, killing and maiming thousands.

Furthermore, artists should not think that in using their performances in Israel as a platform to criticise the state and its policies they are constructively contributing to the Palestinian cause. They are doing nothing of the sort, but rather they facilitate Israeli government in its propaganda by allowing it to portray itself as a democracy tolerant of criticism, when, in fact, this is not the case.

Nor is the argument valid that there are other states in breach of international law, the point is that the Palestinian people have called for a boycott, just as those struggling against South African apartheid did. All that is being asked of you is that you not cross the Palestinian picket line.

Even if there is no direct government involvement of funding in this particular gig, PACBI’s guidelines stipulate “In general, PACBI urges international cultural workers (e.g. artists, writers, filmmakers)… where possible and as relevant, to boycott and/or work towards the cancellation of events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israel, its lobby groups or its cultural institutions, or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global cultural sphere.” And “It must be emphasized that a cultural product’s content or artistic merit is not relevant in determining whether or not it is boycottable.”

The reality is that for Israel any show that isn’t cancelled because of BDS appeals is considered a political victory over the Palestinian struggle and international solidarity with it. Hence any artist that’s been appealed to and refused to boycott is a win for Israel, in the view of the state.

Performing in Tel Aviv means playing for a segregated audience, on ethnically cleansed land, can you really see yourselves doing that?

For these reasons, we must repeat, with added emphasis, what so many international groups wrote to you in their first letter: “The call to boycott Israel until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights was first made in 2005, by over 170 (now over 200) Palestinian civil society groups. The boycott is a non-violent tactic against oppressive state power. It would be extremely disappointing if artists of your stature chose to break this call for solidarity with the Palestinian people, particularly at a time when Israel is escalating its daily attacks on them.”

In all of this the plight of the Palestinians is once again pushed into the background and the foreground struggle becomes that of yet another high-profile western artist refusing to use their position of privilege to stand in solidarity with people who have only asked that they do no harm. Therefore we would like to conclude by quoting the Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel’s letter to you:

“We are asking you to not side with the oppressor by performing in Tel Aviv 15th September. Don’t let your music normalize the racist brutality and the ethnic cleansing Palestinians suffer from day in day out under the control of the Israeli Apartheid regime. Instead, let your music stand on the right side of history. If you do so, you will look back with a clean conscience when the day arrives that we Palestinians are granted the same human rights as anyone else.”

Letters

From Gaza

 From International Groups

From Boycott from Within (2

  From Don’t Play Apartheid Israel

From Boycott from Within (1)

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-GAZA-FLOTILLA

Palestinians hold their national flag as they ride boats during a rally to show support for activists aboard a flotilla of boats who are soon to set sail for Gaza in a fresh bid to break Israel’s blockade of the territory, at the seaport of Gaza City on June 24, 2015. Freedom Flotilla III

Tel Aviv https://electronicintifada.net/content/jaffa-eminence-ethnic-cleansing/8088

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The Shebab from Al Helal

They came, they saw, they conquered – every match and every heart. The boys, coach and chairman of Al Helal Football Academy, Gaza City finally made it to Ireland, and it was beautiful.

The Gaza Kids to Ireland project has been years in the making and has been majorly stalled a few times, not least after apartheid Israel’s vicious attack on Gaza in 2014 where more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 556 children, were murdered. We launched officially with Brian Kerr in late 2014 but it was only early this year that things started moving. The logistics of trying to get out of Gaza are very complicated. The group needed Irish visas, permits for Jordan and most problematical – permits to leave Gaza, these granted or not by Israel. Palestinians are the only people who need permission to leave their country. One of the major hasbara tropes trotted out by Israel is that it pulled out of Gaza and no longer occupies it, rubbish – Israel controls most aspects of life for the Palestinians in Gaza, and it controls whether they can leave or enter the Strip.

Freedom of movement is a fundamental right and those of us lucky and privileged enough to have it should recognise its importance and fight for everyone to have it. From seeing the terrible difficulties Palestinian friends experience and spending time with people on the move through Fortress Europe, I’ve never been more aware of how crucial this is to our shared humanity.

This was definitely the case for this project, the visa/permits processes took months. We had huge difficulties regarding permits – the group was initially to be in Ireland on the 13th July but their permits weren’t granted so we had to reschedule the entire programme. Eventually the permits were granted but one player from the 15 – Karam Zedan (who had been injured in 2009) – wasn’t given a permit and neither were 5 of the adults due to travel, including the only woman. The utter cruelty of Israel denying one child from 15 the opportunity to travel to Ireland bears further consideration, it really is unspeakable. Imagine how a 13 year old boy must have felt seeing his friends and teammates going on a big adventure that they had all been preparing for together for months. To stop just one child from the whole group is purely sadistic. Of course, in the massive catalogue of Israel’s crimes against Palestinian children, this is at the lower end of their scale of violence, but it’s still brutal and needless and rotten. Karam was injured by the 2009 Israeli attack on Gaza and it’s likely they didn’t want him as living evidence of their war crimes. However, despite not being in Ireland,  Karam was in everyone’s thoughts throughout the trip and the children remembered him, making videos singing “We are all Karam” everywhere they went, he was always with us. But he should have been with us in person as well as in spirit. Another cruelty inflicted on a Palestinian child by the apartheid state. Why do they do it? Because they can.

Israel also prevented five adults from travelling with the group, the only woman, Hadeel, a specialist in children’s mental health, two coaches Mohammed and Eyad, a journalist Mohanad, and administrator Salah.  Not allowing these adults to travel is again cruel and needless, it’s an assertion of control and power. Imagine how they must have felt, having Israel’s absolute control reasserted so cruelly. It’s beyond my imagination because of privilege, and I want it to be beyond everyone’s, because of  justice.

Preventing them from travelling was also designed to cause maximum disruption to the trip. The journey from the Erez crossing to Amman airport in Jordan is long, difficult and full of checkpoints. That journey for only two adults with fourteen children is extremely tough and it is testimony to Ayed and Mohammed that they made it and indeed undertook the whole trip for the sake of the kids. I can’t say enough about these two men, they are fantastic. The Israelis were strategic, they allowed only one coach, one English speaker and no woman, with a group of boys who had never left Gaza before. But despite these obstacles, they coped, they thrived and they were brilliant.

And they arrived! Right up to the minute I heard they had boarded the plane,  I couldn’t believe it would happen. It happened. And they arrived, 14 really cute children with big brown eyes and bigger smiles wearing hot pink jerseys came to Ireland for an unforgettable ten days.

The kids played football, they danced, they sang, they were on the telly, they walked down Grafton St like celebs, walked the beach in Bray, went to the funfair, to SeaWorld, they dazzled with their feet in Dublin, Galway, Tipperary and Limerick. They went to parks and castles, went swimming and horseriding, they played hurling and rugby, went on boats and unicycles. They went mental in the shopping centre in Limerick.  They did the guard of honour for Galway United versus Dundalk, played at half time to the delight and cheers of the Palestinian flag waving GUFC ultras. Oh, and they met the President of Ireland there.

They played football against Ballybrack FC, Kinvara United, Nenagh AFC, Nenagh Celtic and Pike Rovers. They played on pitches, beaches and in parks. A highlight was their game in Ballybrack where the Palestinian community came out in numbers and reacted as if they had won the World Cup, it was raucous! 

They won every game, they played beautiful football, they dazzled.  Everyone remarked on their skill, their footwork, speed, their ability to keep hold of the ball. They are really good players. While their size compared to their Irish counterparts was a concern – and the siege of Gaza causes nutritional issues for the children there – their skill made up for it and they beat all comers!

They are fun and funny, kind, talented boys and it was a real privilege to spend time with them. Everyone who met the kids was delighted by them, they really lifted people’s hearts, the amount of love around the trip was special. Because there were only two adults let travel, I stayed with the group every night and this really allowed me to get to know them and enjoy their company, I loved it. The kids’  energy and enthusiasm is infectious. The evenings were spent moving mattresses around so they could camp in together (a nightly slumber party!), waving hello to their parents and family on the phone, begging them to go to sleep and helping them to pack! My greatest achievement of the trip is being the butt of two running jokes, in English AND Arabic. These kids know how to slag. I loved their camaraderie, how they looked after each other, especially if anyone was a little homesick, how they respected their ‘captains’ and how they interacted with everyone here. They really are great kids, brilliant representatives of their families, of Gaza, of Palestine.

It was also a privilege to spend time with Ayed and Mohammed who had to take on the mantles of guardians, coaches, organisers, translator, media people and coordinators during the trip. They did it with smiles throughout, they are lovely men.

It was great too to hang out with my Gaza Action Ireland fam and marvel as they pulled events together at the last minute and were as solid and decent as they always have been. They rock.

This project was intended as an act of practical solidarity with Gaza and to further build civil society links between there and here. We wanted to give the children a break from life under siege and for people here to have the opportunity to meet them and to see the richness of Palestinian culture, life, sport. We want all the time that people in Gaza know that they are in our hearts, on our minds, that we want to fight against the siege that deprives them of their rights, their freedom, that they are important to us, that we are inspired by their struggle, that we will do our best to show solidarity with them. Ayed said a few times that this trip was a window to the outside world for the friends and families of the kids, trapped as they are by the Israeli siege. And the kids were always taking photos and filming everything to show their families, they were that window.

As much as the visit was a window into the world outside Gaza for the kids, it was also a window into Palestine for us. A window into the strength and resilience of Palestinian culture, the incredible collective memory. Ayed described how when they were travelling from Erez to Amman the children were asking about their original homes, towns and villages and how he was pointing them out to them. It’s really beautiful how this memory of the home, the land is passed down through the generations, from those expelled in the Nakba to today’s children. Beautiful and tragic. They will return. 

I was overwhelmed by the solidarity and love shown to the kids by people here, everywhere they went, it was very special to see the Palestinian communities here so happy to meet them.  We could have brought them to every county and it still wouldn’t have been enough. So many people wanted to meet them, host them, feed them, do activities, just brilliant. It bodes well for future visits.

Since the kids went back to Gaza I’ve read missed them, much more than I could have imagined. I talk to them online all the time and endure the jokes being sent repeatedly in Facebook recordings! They got under my skin and I want to see them again and for all of them to be safe and happy always. And we have to work as hard as we can so that they don’t have to live under siege and under threat, the siege has to be lifted.

It’s almost impossible to get into Gaza and it’s almost impossible for people there to get out, that denial of freedom of movement and human connection, so often between families in Gaza and other parts of Palestine, is one of apartheid Israel’s greatest crimes, it has to end.

When the permits were denied, I was talking to  Mohammed Abuaita who wasn’t allowed to travel. He wrote these beautiful words and has let me put them here.

    “We know that we live in a big prison
     This is our destiny..
      Let me tell you something..
     From the center of the siege .. we make Hope
      We draw a smile to the world.”

Palestinian resistance is poetry.

There are many more words, but for now I miss the shebab from Al Helal and I am immeasurably enriched by spending time with them. I wish them to be safe with every part of myself, body and soul. Kol she tamam?  #COYBFG

Shukran shebab! Khaled, Mohanned, Abdelatif, Tamer, Raed, Shabiba, Yousef, Khalifa, Zizou, Hassan, Damo, Abunajie, Amjad, Ayoub. FB_IMG_1471122134075 #COYBFG

 

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Tricky: Cancel your apartheid Israel Gig, recognize BDS!

Dear Tricky (Adrian Thaws),

We recently heard you and your band plan to play in Israel on 26 February this year.  Your planned gig comes a few months after Israel embarked on a murderous 50 day attack on the Palestinian people living in Gaza.  Israel’s misleadingly termed ‘Operation Protective Edge’ killed over 2,200 people (including over 510 children) and maimed 10,000 more, left thousands homeless and caused the obliteration of 89 entire families.   The devastation in Gaza is catastrophic and, as this is the third major assault on the Strip in just six years, has left the people there deeply traumatised. Israel also regularly kills Palestinians in the West Bank, imprisons thousands, including children, and carries out illegal home demolition as well as settlement building. There are more than 50 laws which discriminate against the Palestinian citizens of Israel, while those in the West Bank live under occupation, those in Gaza live under siege and constant attack, and the huge refugee population, spread all over the world, lives with the pain of exile and dispossession.

Would you perform for the oppressors in any state? Would you have performed in Sun City during the era of South African apartheid?  From EBONY magazine regarding Dream Defenders, formed in the aftermath of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s killing last year:
“Dream Defenders unanimously passed a resolution to support the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in this interval [1].”
On 15 January, Dream Defenders visited Occupied Palestine and did a solidarity demonstration in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005 [2].
Tricky_-_August_13,_2009

While you may be told that music is a way to build bridges, in fact your very presence will be used as an endorsement, whether given or not, of Israel’s policies. Indeed its official state social media sites regularly post about artists who breach the boycott, linking them to state policy – do you really want this?

 

Award winning author and BDS supporter David Sheen writes about Israel:
“Another type of racist assault that has become increasingly common in Israel is attacks on Africans. Incitement against the 50,000 non-Jewish Africans who have sought asylum in Israel in recent years, including top government officials comparing them to cancer and Ebola, has made them a popular target for racist ruffians in Tel Aviv. Locals report it is not uncommon for Israeli youths to throw dog feces at African mothers nursing their babies. In January, an Israeli man stabbed a one-year-old African baby in the head and later explained to police that he did it because “they said that a black baby, blacks in general, are terrorists [3].”

 

Tricky, we appeal to you to join many other artists of conscience, and respect the Palestinian-led call for a cultural boycott of Israel, to stand with the principle that justice -contingent on freedom and equality- must be present before peace is possible.

Please know that you will not be playing to a free audience in Israel, you will be playing to a segregated audience, one which Palestinians cannot be part of. Your audience enjoys its privilege at the expense of millions of incarcerated, occupied Indigenous Palestinian people, and also African refugees who are imprisoned in camps in Israel.

Israel is an apartheid state engaged in extreme discrimination against the Palestinian people. With so many years occupying and dehumanising the Palestinian people, Israel is an extremely racist society in which marches are common against the indigenous people and also immigrants seeking asylum.

Inspired by this Palestinian led struggle which has huge international support, many artists have refused to play in Israel, including over 500 Irish artists who have all signed a pledge to respect the boycott. [4] The choice to join them is yours, please do the right thing.

DPAI (Don’t Play Apartheid Israel)

We are a group, of over 1700, representing many countries around the globe, who believe that it is essential for musicians & other artists to heed the call of the PACBI, and join in the boycott of Israel. This is essential in order to work towards justice for the Palestinian people under occupation, and also in refugee camps and in the diaspora throughout the world.

DPAI Facebook page:

Tricky, Apartheid Israel is a Murder Weapon – Don’t Play

Tricky’s twitter is: @KnowleWestboy

NOTES

[1]http://www.ebony.com/news-views/dream-defenders-black-lives-matter-ferguson-reps-take-historic-trip-to-palestine#axzz3P0RYklDX]

[2] https://www.facebook.com/DreamDefenders/posts/664571190318530

[3] http://www.alternet.org/world/how-israel-covers-its-ugly-racial-holy-war

[4] http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/irish-artists-pledge-to-boycott-israel-reaches-500-signatures

Original source:

 

Cultural Boycott Highlights and Cultural Worker Support for Palestinians: A Summary of 2014

Cultural Boycott Highlights and Cultural Worker Support for Palestinians: A Summary of 2014

By Don’t Play Apartheid Israel (DPAI)

January 2014: Norwegian artist Moddi courageously cancels his planned concert in Israel and writes: “I have chosen to cancel my performance in Tel Aviv on February 1st. This is without comparison the most difficult decision I have ever made as an artist, and one that hurts almost as much as it feels right.  The reason for my decision is the situation in Israel and the areas it controls. Although music can be a unique arena for public debate, the debate over these territories has been misused for a long time [1].”

Jasiri X furthers the message about the boycott of Israel with his release of music video Checkpoint, rapping “Support BDS, don’t give a dime to the checkpoint [2].”

 MA
JULY: British band Massive Attack in
Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon
support BDS (Getty Images).

 

French musician Titi Robin shows amazing solidarity with the Palestinian people, his cancellation of his planned Israel concert is particularly significant as he had performed there in the past.  He states “these journeys finally made me take this decision, which appears to me, after a long term reflection, the most honest one regarding the evolution of the situation [3].”

February 2014: Notable international cartoonists, including Siné, Tardi and Joe Sacco, mobilize against the presence of Sodastream at the International Festival of Comics in Angoulême, France. Ninety-nine cartoonists sign onto an open letter asking the organizers to join in the boycott of Sodastream [4].  Other famous names in contemporary comics that signed include Alison Bechdel (“Fun Home”), Kate Beaton (“Hark A Vagrant”), Ben Katchor (“The Jew of New York”), Peter Kuper (“Spy vs. Spy”), and Jaime Hernandez.

March 2014: People’s Books Co-op in Milwaukee, WI voted to join the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against Israel. In support of the cultural boycott the PBC will not participate in any official Israeli celebrations or festivals and will decline offers to perform or speak in Israel [5].

Founders of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters and Nick Mason come together in support of the BDS movement, and they both urge all bands intending to play Israel to reconsider, pointing out that “Playing Israel now is the moral equivalent of playing Sun City at the height of South African apartheid; regardless of your intentions, crossing the picket line provides propaganda that the Israeli government will use in its attempts to whitewash the policies of its unjust and racist regime [6].” Waters has been a supporter of, and advocate for, the BDS movement for some years now.

Playing Israel today, in this time of ever increasing Palestinian solidarity, is a huge political statement. This tweet by the Associated Press is indicative of just how big BDS has become.

“@Beyonce won’t be heading to Israel for a concert. Her rep tells @APEntertainment that reports about Bey performing in Tel Aviv are false [7].”

 JD
OCTOBER: Bestselling Dominican-American author and Professor at MIT Junot Díaz endorses the cultural boycott of Israel.

 

Philosopher and activist Grace Lee Boggs and actor and activist Danny Glover denounce the inclusion of the film ‘American Revolutionary: the Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs’ in a government-sponsored Israeli film festival. In a strong statement they assert that:  “We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine, and support their call for cultural and academic boycott of Israel.” This was sent to the Electronic Intifada and co-signed with ten other individuals involved with the award-winning documentary that focuses on the life and work of the 98-year-old Boggs [8].

NY band The Shondes write in agreement and support of the cultural boycott:  “We support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement (BDS) because it pressures Israel to comply with international law: to end the illegal occupation, ensure refugees their right to return home, and guarantee full rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel [9].”

Over 100 artists and intellectuals — including Judith Butler, Lucy Lippard, Chantal Mouffe, Walid Raad, Martha Rosler, and Gayatri Spivak — observe the cultural boycott by signing on to a public letter calling on participants to withdraw from Creative Time’s travelling ‘Living as Form’ exhibition on the grounds that it is currently showing at an institution with a “central role in maintaining the unjust and illegal occupation of Palestine.” The missive came in response to revelations that the social practice exhibition curated by Nato Thompson had been touring in Israel for six months unbeknownst to participants, including its appearance at The Technion, a university in Haifa with extensive research-and-development links to the Israeli military and defense technology industry [10].

July 2014: Israel embarks on a violent attack on the people living in Gaza, which is held under illegal siege.  Israel’s misleadingly termed Operation Protective Edge, eventually kills over 2,200 people (including over 510 children).

After learning about the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divest and sanctions against Israel, US rapper Talib Kweli announced on twitter that he would respect BDS. Kweli was supposed to appear in an international hip-hop, funk and groove festival planned for mid-August in Israel [11].

According to Israeli media, Pearl Jam implicitly supports the cultural boycott. Lead singer Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam effectively denounced Israel’s attacks on Palestinians (though without naming it) at a concert: “I swear to fucking god, there are people out there who are looking for a reason to kill. They’re looking for a reason to go across borders and take over land that doesn’t belong to them. They should get the fuck out, and mind their own fucking business.  We don’t want to give them our money. We don’t want to give them our taxes to drop bombs on children [12].” An article in Hebrew reports on the failure to bring Pearl Jam to Israel and implicitly concludes that  the reason the efforts failed was the boycott [13].

A huge coordinated effort was made to ask Neil young to cancel his planned gig in Israel.  Roger Waters is among those who contacted Young, stating “Woody Guthrie would turn in his grave!  Neil Young! [14]”  Speculation has been made that Young allowed Israel to manipulate the reasons for his cancellation.  Staging and fencing were never built for his gig in Tel Aviv, ticket refunds were made, and he did not state he would reschedule.

Numerous bands and festivals are cancelled as Israel’s offensive rages on, and Israel predictably makes the questionable claim that cancellations were made for security reasons.  BDS activists continue to urge all artists to respect the boycott.  Meanwhile, many artists support Palestinians on twitter [15].  Waka Flocka Flame and French Montana are two of many groups to tweet in support of Palestine.

Nobel Peace laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Rigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams join with other notables to support a military embargo of Israel.  Other signatories include Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters, playwright Caryl Churchill, US rapper Boots Riley, João Antonio Felicio, the president of the International Trade Union Confederation, and Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions. Such cooperation across a wide spectrum of people is significant [16].

Influential Ebony magazine publishes “Why Black people Must Stand With Palestine”, drawing parallels to injustices;  “Similar to the Palestinians’ call for people of conscience to boycott and divest from companies that support their oppression, we might call on people abroad to pressure an end to “the New Jim Crow”—mass incarceration [17].”

 Sinead.GAZA.LONDON
AUGUST: Sinéad O’Connor dons GAZA solidarity shirt during her London concert.

 

Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor cancels her show (planned for September), refusing the bow to pressure to play, and assuring her fans that she had not previously been aware of the cultural boycott [18]. During her August show in London, the singer puts on a t-shirt with GAZA written on it (see photo).

Cultural artists join over 21,000 people in signing on to a letter to David Cameron, demanding military sanctions against Israel.  Signatories include rock legend Peter Gabriel, Jemima Khan, Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack, Brian Eno and Bryan Adams, the writers Will Self, Hanif Kureishi, Ahdaf Soueif, Esther Freud, Laura Bailey and William Dalrymple, and the actors David Morrissey, Maxine Peake and Alexei Sayle [19].

Brian Eno of Roxy Music fame takes an active role in the press, asserting that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC): “… seems to regard Palestinian lives as less valuable, less newsworthy [20].”

Award-winning band and veteran political activists Massive Attack use their headline slot at Longitude Festival in Dublin, Ireland to highlight their solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.  A lit-up message behind the performers said: “Gaza has been ocupied [sic] or under restrictions since 1948 [21].”

Going beyond outrage at Israel’s crimes against humanity, and vocally answering the call for BDS, artists come together in “Boycott Israel.”  Norwegian Don Martin, Immortal Technique, El Tipo Este of Cuban duo Obsesion, Parisian rapper Tonto Noiza, and Johannesburg-based Tumi Molekane inform listeners about BDS in different languages [22].

New York Times bestselling author Ayelet Waldman tweets support for BDS, saying  that although she is Israeli and she loves her country, and she formerly opposed BDS, she is ready to give BDS a chance [23].

The Hollywood Reporter, the largest publication covering the entertainment industry,  attempts to explain the widespread support by celebrities of Palestinians with “Why Young Hollywood is More Willing to Question Israel’s Policies [24].”

Multiple award winning singer Selena Gomez  tweets to what she calls #wearethenextgeneration to be that change, it’s about humanity, pray for Gaza.

[25] Her tweet stays on twitter.

Prominent Jewish people, Palestinians, and others stand for Palestine in a powerful video with Jonathan Demme (Academy Award), Gloria Steinem, Tony Kushner (Pulitzer Prize), Diana Buttu, Chuck D, Eve Ensler, Brian Eno, Roger Waters, Mira Nair (Academy Award), Wallace Shawn, Naomi Klein, Mira Nair, Raj Patel, Noura Erakat,  Alison Bechdel, Urvashi Vaid and many others [26].

The cultural boycott of Israel is the central topic of conversation, in speculations about the real reason why the Israeli dance troupe’s performance was nixed from the program at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe show [27].

Magic Johnson was slated to play basketball for 5000 Israeli armed forces soldiers during an inauguration for a newly opened arena. It was reported that the Jerusalem Municipality was surprised when he refused to participate in the event.

The Hollywood Reporter notes support for Palestinians again when Oscar winners Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Pedro Almodovar denounce Israeli genocide in an open letter, others who signed the letter include directors Montxo Armendariz and Benito Zambrano, along with actors Lola Herrera, Eduardo Noriega and Rosa Maria Sarda; and musicians Amaral and Nacho Campillo among others [28]. Their support also makes headlines in many large Spanish language publications such as Eldiario.es.

Video “La Palestine pleure de SANG” is released by SLM, a popular French rap duo, using images from Gaza to compelling music [29a].

Yaakov Shwekey, known for formerly playing for the Israeli military, cancels his planned concert in Israel [29aa].

Robert Del Naja and Grant Marshall of Massive Attack visit the Bourj el-Barajneh refugee camp in Lebanon (see photo), and speak of their ‘love and commitment’ to supporting the plight of young Palestinian refugees.  Del Naja asserts “it is important to bring attention to those Palestinians living in Lebanon since 1948: all the young people I met who weren’t born in Syria were born in Lebanon, and all of them are waiting to go home [29b].

Veteran American band Kansas backs out of a planned gig in Israel, no plans for a reschedule are firm, and full ticket refunds are given [29bb].

August 2014: The Irish artists’ pledge to support the cultural boycott of Israel reaches 500 signatures, a significant milestone for such a small country, and includes creative and performing artists residing all over the island of Ireland. Over 200 artists signed up due to Israel’s murderous attack on Gaza. [31]

Musician Anoushka Shankar, daughter of the acclaimed Ravi Shankar,  speaks out on Israel’s attack upon Gaza: “I can’t be silent.  It is genocide [32].” Shankar’s declaration is notable, in that she has previously bypassed the cultural boycott, playing in Israel.  Her choice to become an artist of conscience now is commendable.

In an enormous victory for BDS, the Tricycle Theater refuses to host the UK Jewish Film Festival citing Israeli sponsorship [32a].  In a huge turnaround, acclaimed Irish film director Lenny Abrahamson (former Israel supporter and defender of Israel’s attack on Lebanon) publicly announces:  “As a filmmaker of Jewish background I fully support the Tricycle’s position [32aa].”

Often teetering on one side or another, Russell Brand makes a case for BDS, calling for big businesses to pull funding from Israeli companies that facilitate the oppression of the people of Gaza [33]. His video goes viral.

Many more musicians continue to cancel their planned Israel gigs as August wears on and the damage to Gaza is publicized.

South Korean directors Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Stoker, Joint Security Area) and Ryoo Seung-wan (The Berlin File, The Unjust) were among 100 public figures, along with academics, legal experts and religious figures to sign a petition and deliver it to the Israeli embassy in Seoul.  The petition refers to Israel’s actions in Gaza as a “civilian massacre” and calls on Israel to “stop immediately.” Elsewhere in the petition, the actions of Israel are described as a “war crime.” The governments of South Korea, Europe, and the US are asked to comply with what amounts to military sanctions against Israel [34].

Regarding Lana Del Rey’s cancellation, the Wondering Sound writes: “It’s a sad twist that Del Rey’s excellent new album is titled Ultraviolence, making her cancellation all the more tragically appropriate [35].”  When musicians reschedule Israel they are acting to support the Israeli state, regardless of whether intentional or not.

Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard and saxophonist Marcus Strickland withdraw from the Red Sea Jazz Festival, an event sponsored by the Israeli government.

A group of high-profile political figures predominantly from Central America, South America and the Caribbean — including Bolivian President Evo Morales, US author Alice Walker, deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya (signed with his common name “Mel Zelaya”), former Cuban president Fidel Castro,Cuban musician Silvio Rodrígiuez, Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano and others — sign onto a strongly worded statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people and support for BDS [36].

Numerous Norwegian actors sign a pointed statement endorsing the BDS movement, and insisting that the Norwegian National Theatre shall not be used to normalize Israel’s illegal actions.  Actors Siri Austeen, Camilla Eeg-Tverbakk, Chris Erichsen, Trine Falch and dozens more signed [37].

Throughout August, more celebrities tweet in support of Palestine and question Israel’s actions including Mia Farrow, John Legend and footballer Joey Barton.

G4S is the British-Danish firm which provides security services to checkpoints, prisons and interrogation centers in Israel.  When legendary musician Pete Wylie found out the city of Liverpool had been paying for services from G4S he argued: “I cannot condone or work with a council that sees fit to engage with G4S,” cancelling his appearance at the city’s International Music Festival in support of BDS [38].

Wylie’s move follows a wider campaign by local Palestine solidarity groups which has seen Liverpudlian writers, actors, musicians and other artists sign up to an open letter to the city council, criticizing its contracts with G4S.  Signatories to the letter — which refers to the “appalling misery and carnage in Palestine” — include authors Frank Cottrell Boyce, Alan Gibbons and Jimmy McGovern and actor and comedian and Alexei Sayle, alongside several dozen other artists [38].

Renowned comedian Bill Bailey has put his voice to a powerful new video calling for medical aid to Gaza [39].

The Society for Cinema and Media Studies – Middle East Caucus, writes an open letter endorsing BDS [40].

Bryan Adams, Grammy Award, Oscar Award (among many others) winning musician, uses twitter, “..and the Israeli blockade of #Gaza just entered its 8th year, leaving its 1.7 million inhabitants destitute [41].”

Renowned Algerian singer Souad Massi explains with conviction why she upholds the cultural boycott of Israel, though she had been offered bookings in Israel “time and time again [42].”

Acclaimed film director Ken Loach spoke at the Katrin Cartlidge Foundation Award Ceremony (Sarajevo film festival) honoring Palestinian directors Abdel Salam Shehadeh and Ashraf Mashharawi, and called for an “absolute boycott of all the cultural happenings supported by the Israeli state.” Referring to the boycott, he added “Israel must become a pariah state [43].”

The 20th Annual Film Festival in Bristol, England, publically refuses Israeli Embassy Funding in order to maintain a “neutral political status [44].”

“The oppression of one concerns that of all,” say the majority of artists and participants of the 31st São Paulo Bienal Art Exhibit, who refused to support the normalization of Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian people, “We believe Israeli state cultural funding directly contributes to maintaining, defending and whitewashing their violation of international law and human rights [45].”

Popular Lebanese singers use twitter to raise awareness to their fans about Gaza [46].

The Amsterdam “Spot on Israel” show fails to normalize Dutch relations with Israel during its sojourn with the “first lady of the Israeli Habima theater.”  Brave activists can be seen being assaulted and then arrested for protesting in a video that halts the small Israeli state funded show [47].

Many authors including Junot Díaz and Eliot Weinberger sign in agreement with the cultural boycott that: “ It is deeply regrettable that the Brooklyn Book Festival has chosen to accept funding from the Israeli government just weeks after Israel’s bloody 50-day assault on the Gaza Strip, which left over 2100 Palestinians – including 500 children – dead, displaced a fourth of the population, destroyed homes, schools, and hospitals, and involved numerous potential war crimes [48].

Author and academic Marcelo Svirsky sets off on his Walk for BDS from Sydney to Canberra, a distance of 287 kms. He is feted by well-wishers from Sydney University Staff for BDS [49].

Concerts benefiting Gaza with financial contributions take place worldwide, too numerous to list here.

The Swiss Federal Council is called upon by over 640 Swiss swiss artists and cultural actors to suspend military cooperation with Israel, including canceling a recent order of Elbit H-900 military drones, which were tested in Gaza and would are intended to be used by the Swiss intelligence to monitor Switzerland’s own population [50].

September 2014: Notable international artists donate their work to create a series of compelling posters for Gaza [29].

Golden Globe and Academy Award winner Asghar Farhadi joins with Nasrin Sotoudeh to create a campaign titled “stop killing” to address the massacre in Gaza.  Farhadi  is considered by Time magazine (2012) to be one of the top 100 most influential people in the world [30].

October 2014: The Beach Boys don’t specify a reason, however they cancelled their planned gig in Israel as reported in Haa’retz and many other media outlets [51].

Israel especially singles out international film festivals as targets for rebranding attempts, often assigning local Israeli embassies as financial sponsors of festivals.  In Belgium, the Brussels Jewish Film Festival was not exempt from this effort.  The Union of Progressive Jews of Belgium (UPJB) boldly protested this by withdrawing both their participation and their sponsorship from the Brussels Jewish Film Festival [52].

New York Times bestselling author Junot Díaz (see photo), who received a Pulitzer Prize for his novel ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ and won the prestigious MacArthur “Genius Grant,” endorsed the United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). Diaz asserts: “If there exists a moral arc to the universe, then Palestine will eventually be free. But that promised day will never arrive unless we, the  justice-minded peoples of our world, fight to end the cruel blight of the Israeli occupation [53].”

Hip hop superstar Chuck D, of the groundbreaking group Public Enemy, also signaled his endorsement of USACBI [53].

Mira Nair reaffirms her strong support for the cultural boycott by joining numerous other artists in an open letter asking the World Music Institute (New York) not to present Israeli propagandist Idan Raichel [54].

 

 

NOTES

[1] ttp://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/moddi-cancels-tel-aviv-gig-after-appeal-gaza

[2]http://mondoweiss.net/2014/01/video-checkpoint-jasiri

[3] In the French Press:

http://www.lecourrierdelatlas.com/663418022014Titi-Robin-renonce-a-jouer-a-Jerusalem.html

[4] http://www.peoplesbookscoop.org/?page_id=1333

[5] http://www.peoplesbookscoop.org/?page_id=1333

[6] http://www.salon.com/2014/05/01/pink_floyds_roger_waters_and_nick_mason_why_rolling_stones_shouldnt_play_in_israel/

[7] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/beyonce-denies-shes-going-israel

[8] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/grace-lee-boggs-danny-glover-object-film-screening-tel-aviv

[9] http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/05/29/an-open-letter-from-the-shondes/?utm

[10] http://hyperallergic.com/131497/over-100-artists-and-intellectuals-call-for-withdrawal-from-creative-time-exhibition/

[11] http://www.kadaitcha.com/2014/07/03/talib-kweli-solidarity-with-those-who-live-it-is-a-stronger-statement/

[12] At 5:22

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4ukBCCyczA#t=244

[13] In Hebrew http://www.mako.co.il/music-news/world/Article-5ee5eaf4a3c2741006.htm

[14] http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/jul/14/neil-young-crazy-horse-israel-concert-gaza-conflict

[15] http://www.salon.com/2014/07/31/tweet_and_delete_on_gaza_celebrity_courage_and_cowardice_over_social_media/

[16] http://www.bdsmovement.net/2014/nobel-celebrities-call-for-military-embargo-12316#sthash.iwrtjr3q.dpuf

[17] http://www.ebony.com/news-views/why-black-people-must-stand-with-palestine-402#axzz37pFwSTIv

[18] http://www.hotpress.com/Sinead-OConnor/news/Sinad-OConnor-I-wont-play-in-Israel/11954250.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/reviews/sinead-oconnor-london-roundhouse-gig-review-gaza-robin-williams-its-all-here-from-a-singer-who-refuses-to-skirt-issues-9667054.html

[19] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/amena-saleem/rock-stars-peter-gabriel-and-bobby-gillespie-urge-arms-embargo-israel

[20] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/amena-saleem/brian-eno-joins-criticism-bbcs-bias-against-palestinians

[21] http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/massive-attack-makes-gaza-statement-using-headline-stage-at-longitude-festival-9622836.html

[22] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/alexander-billet/watch-global-hip-hop-call-israel-boycott

[23] https://storify.com/jvplive/celebrities-speak-out-on-gaza

[24] http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/why-young-hollywood-is-more-721353

[25] http://www.buzzfeed.com/miriamberger/selena-gomez-instagrammed-a-picture-in-support-of-palestinia

[26] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxDYiBls99w

[27] http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/arts/news/edinburgh-fringe-second-israel-funded-show-pulled-1-3498490

[28] http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/penelope-cruz-javier-bardem-denounce-721894?mobile_redirect=false

[29a] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtxSZOtDN3s

[29aa] https://twitter.com/MrPeeZee/status/493480856426512385

[29b] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/massive-attack-visit-palestinian-refugees-in-lebanon-all-of-them-have-a-right-to-a-life-of-dignity-and-beauty-9635645.html

[29bb] http://www.timesofisrael.com/promoters-hold-out-hope-for-some-culture-this-summer/

[29] http://www.humaginaire.net/

[30] http://keyhani.blog.lemonde.fr/2014/07/17/iran-asghar-farhadi-et-nassrin-sotoudeh-se-mobilisent-contre-le-massacre-a-gaza/

[31] http://www.ipsc.ie/press-releases/irish-artists-pledge-to-boycott-israel-reaches-500-signatures

[32] http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/genocide-anoushka-shankar

[32a] http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/121157/tricycle-theatre-refuses-host-uk-jewish-film-festival-over-israeli-sponsorship

[32aa] http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/irish-director-backs-festival-boycott-over-israeli-sponsorship-1.1890360#.U-QE_lvBMPU.twitter

[33] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/russell-brand-calls-for-israel-boycott-comedian-urges-big-businesses-that-facilitate-the-oppression-of-people-in-gaza-to-pull-funding-9668147.html?kdk

[34] http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/korean-filmmakers-sign-gaza-petition-723383

[35] http://www.wonderingsound.com/news/lana-del-rey-postpones-tel-aviv-israel-concert/

[36]  http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/jimmy-johnson/fidel-castro-alice-walker-bolivian-president-condemn-israel-join-latin-american

[37] In Norweigan http://www.underskrift.no/vis.asp?Kampanje=5192

[38] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/sarah-irving/musicians-condemn-liverpool-councils-g4s-link-citing-abuse-against-palestinians

[39]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXyoEM5_jAo#t=40

[40] http://mecstatement.wordpress.com/

[41] https://twitter.com/bryanadams/status/501867732875624449

[42] http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/5/33/108885/Arts–Culture/Music/I-have-the-right-not-to-perform-in-a-country-which.aspx

[43]http://www.screendaily.com/news/ken-loach-calls-for-israel-boycott/5076553.article?blocktitle=LATEST-FILM-NEWS&contentID=40562

[44] http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-28981867

[45] http://news.artnet.com/art-world/artists-call-on-bienal-de-sao-paulo-to-reject-israeli-funds-updated-88974

[46] http://en.bellebeirut.com/behind-beirut/lebanese-singers-tweet-support-gaza/

[47] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/video-activists-assaulted-arrested-protesting-israeli-theater-amsterdam

[48] http://adalahny.org/adalah-web-action/1194/open-letter-brooklyn-book-festival-re-israeli-sponsorship

[49] http://mondoweiss.net/2014/10/marcelo-svirskys-palestine

[50] http://www.lecourrier.ch/declaration2014 and http://www.bds-info.ch/index.php/fr/home-fr/158-bds-fr/campagnes/bds-suisse/boycott-culturel-academique/921-640-swiss-artists-demand-that-the-swiss-federal-council-suspend-military-cooperation-with-israel

[51] http://www.haaretz.com/life/music-theater/1.621971

[52] http://www.upjb.be/communiques/article/l-upjb-ne-participera-pas-au-brussels-jewish

and http://www.kadaitcha.com/2014/10/23/international-cultural-venues-encouraged-to-boycott-israeli-government-funding/

[53] http://www.usacbi.org/2014/10/artists-and-intellectuals-including-junot-diaz-chuck-d-and-boots-riley-call-for-boycott-and-divestment-from-israel/

[54] http://adalahny.org/adalah-web-action/1202/open-letter-world-music-institute-do-not-present-idan-raichel

Reblogged from: http://refrainplayingisrael.blogspot.ie/2015/01/cultural-boycott-highlights-and.html