Gaza Action Ireland Statement on Freedom Flotilla 3

From Gaza Action Ireland (GAI)
Irish group condemns Israel’s attack on Freedom Flotilla 3, Calls for End to the Siege of Gaza

Gaza Action Ireland strongly condemns today’s attack by Israel on the ships of the Freedom Flotilla and calls for an end to the illegal, immoral siege of Gaza.

As the people of Gaza waited expectantly on the shores of the besieged enclave, and as the ships of Freedom Flotilla 3 sailed towards them in solidarity and to highlight the siege, Israeli forces boarded them and kidnapped the crews.

As with previous campaigns by human rights activists to reach Gaza by sea, Freedom Flotilla 3 had been sailing in international waters over which Israel has no sovereignty, making the latter’s interference in the boats an act of piracy. GAI commends the work of solidarity groups to continue to bravely highlight the siege of Gaza.

The 48 participants on board the flotilla from 17 countries include human rights activists, journalists, artists, and political figures,one of them a Palestinian Member of the Knesset. Members of our own organization have previously sailed with many of those aboard and were attacked, kidnapped and illegally held by Israel.

“We remember only too well the lengths Israel went to maintain its illegal siege of Gaza, from attacking ships, murdering nine people on the Mavi Marmara and imprisoning and deporting peace activists, as well as stealing our vessels, aid materials and equipment.” GAI coordinator Mags O’Brien said.

Flotilla 1

The situation in Gaza has become increasingly grim and even before last summer’s murderous 51 day assault by Israel where more than 2,200 people, including more than 530 children were killed, NGOs and civil society were warning of extreme humanitarian disaster. Since then, almost no rebuilding has taken place with up to 100,000 people having spent the winter in makeshift tents, sleeping in schools and structurally unsound buildings.

The UN’s most recent inquiry into the situation on Gaza published earlier this month reports on massive emotional and psychological wounds felt by Palestinians as a result of the blockade and the most recent military assault on Gaza.

Israel and Egypt have maintained the blockade since 2007, increasing its intensity to unprecedented levels since the last major military assault on Gaza in the summer of 2014. Patients needing to travel outside the strip have died as a result of this closure, which amounts to forced imprisonment in the territory.

Zoe Lawlor, GAI coordinator, said, “We call on Israel to immediately lift the siege of Gaza, to allow all materials for reconstruction to enter and to cease its imprisonment of the Palestinians living there. We also call on the Irish government to cease its arms trade with Israel and to push for sanctions on that state until the latter ends its apartheid policies and daily violations of international law. It is an affront to humanity that Israel is not held accountable for the suffering it continues to inflict.”

Gaza Action Ireland, which grew out of the Irish Ship to Gaza initiative, is a solidarity group that organises civil-society contacts between Ireland and Palestinians in the Gaza strip. It is responsible for the Windows Into Gaza art exhibition that is currently touring Ireland, and it is planning to bring a team of young footballers from Gaza to play in Ireland in the coming year. In addition to artists and sports clubs, it has also forged links with fishermen, journalists, human-rights activists and providers of emergency services.
Gaza Action Ireland on Facebook
Twitter: @GAI1

From Besieged Gaza to Tricky: Show us solidarity, boycott Apartheid Israel -PACBI

21 February 2014

Dear Tricky, dear Adrian,

It grieves us to learn of your scheduled gig in Israel set for 26 February 2015, at a time when Israel continues unabated with its colonial and apartheid designs to further massacre, oppress, dispossess and ultimately violate our very basic rights as Palestinians.

In 1948, Israel ethnically cleansed the Palestinian people from their land in order to systematically form an exclusivist Jewish state (reference Ilan Pappe). It has since denied Palestinian refugees —constituting today more than 7 million people, which roughly corresponds to 70 percent of all living Palestinians who are scattered throughout the world and displaced inside their country— their internationally recognized right to return to their homes and their lands.

In 2004, inspired by the triumphant cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa, and supported by key Palestinian unions and cultural groups, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) issued a call for the academic and cultural boycott of Israeli institutions involved in Israel’s occupation and apartheid.  The movement calls for a boycott until “Israel withdraws from all the lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; removes all its colonies in those lands; agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian refugees rights; and dismantles its system of apartheid.”  I wish, in my letter to you, to underscore the importance of this Palestinian call, urge you to cancel your appearance in Tel Aviv and stress the rationale for the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

In fact, I was struck —in a very powerful way— by reading the description on your web site of your latest single, My Palestine Girl:

My Palestine Girl is the album’s heaviest and most political track. A relationship with a Paris-based Palestinian inspired Tricky to think about the challenges of a relationship with someone who lived in Gaza. “Imagine if the love of your life was there,” he says. “It’s a political thing to divide and rule. I’ve been to Israel. The kids I met don’t hate Palestinians. It’s a political thing.”

Reading your words, I’ve decided to write you very shortly, partly about life in Gaza, and partly in the hopes that you will open communication with me as a Palestinian woman in Gaza. Here, in Gaza, where I have been living all my life, we have been subjected to a criminal, inhumane and immoral siege since 2006.  The siege is considered illegal as it represents a form of collective punishment, and entirely hampers the freedom of our movement and our access to the most life-saving services such as health and education. As part of this siege, Israel has prevented not only various types of medicines, candles, books, crayons, clothing, shoes, blankets, pasta, and chocolate, but also musical instruments. We are literally caged inside this overcrowded, tormented and strangulated enclave, and face a very tight Israeli security cordon that has sharply restricted our movement in and out — including even international solidarity activists and cultural figures who try to reach the 1.8 million Palestinians incarcerated in the world’s largest open-air prison. The future becomes unimaginable and hope is hard to maintain.  Could you sing for us in Gaza under these conditions, Tricky?  Would the Israelis allow us to attend your show?  The answer is an unequivocal no.

I have survived three Israeli assaults on Gaza between 2008 and 2014. Three of my relatives were martyred by Israel’s “precision-guided” missiles in the offensive of 2012. In the 51-day massacre in Gaza last summer, Israel ferociously slaughtered more than 2,300 people— wiping out entire families and leaving more than 1,500 of Gaza’s children orphaned — not to mention the hundreds of injured civilians who are now suffering long-life disabilities. 10,000 Gaza residents are still sleeping on the floors of United Nations-run schools. Many more mothers with their siblings are surviving the heavy winter storms in makeshift shelters or huddling in their bombed-out houses with no heating or running water. All told, 100,000 people remain homeless.

In the wake of this assault— just one latest episode of the long history of Israel’s atrocities— and to salvage its deteriorating image, Israel has redoubled its effort to “brand” itself as an enlightened liberal democracy. Arts and culture play a unique role in this branding campaign, as the presence of internationally acclaimed artists from the West is meant to affirm Israel’s membership in the West’s privileged club of “cultured,” liberal democracies. But it should not be business as normal with a state that routinely violates international law and basic human rights.

Your performance would certainly serve this Israeli campaign to rebrand itself and will be used as a publicity tool by the Israeli government. “It’s a political thing,” as you say.

Please don’t be persuaded by the argument that music builds bridges and can bring smiles to people’s faces, thus ultimately spreading peace! We hear no music here, but buzzing drones, bombs and F16! Again, “It’s a political thing”.  And this is why I am convinced of the importance of artists’ public stances backing the cultural boycott of Israel since it applies the continual pressure that’s needed. Many prominent international cultural figures and artists including John Berger, Ken Loach, Arundhati Roy, Roger Waters, Sting, Snoop Dog, among others, have also heeded our call and cancelled their participation in festivals or gigs in Israel. Recently,

1,000 influential British artists signed on to a cultural boycott of Israel. I wholeheartedly urge you not to turn a blind eye to the realities of Israeli apartheid and to heed our call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it recognizes Palestinian rights and fully complies with international law.

As these words are penned, I have no electricity and the only source of light I have is that of the laptop screen. My heart is truly broken for all the undignified suffering we are witnessing and for being confined and unable to smell the air of freedom like other human beings. Our deprivation of our basic rights under the siege has not only been physical but also mental, cultural and psychological. Under a siege, life is reduced to existence or survival as we are dying slowly without medicine, adequate food and electricity and cooking gas. Culture stagnates as there are no resources and mental space for anything beyond the mundane—to engage in an artistic and cultural discussion is even a luxury for people living in Gaza.

Performing in Tel Aviv today is similar to performing in Apartheid South Africa’s Sun City.  If you are not convinced, I urge you to come and see for yourself if you are lucky enough for the Israelis to allow you into Gaza.  This is not about the kids in Israel; this is about the political and cultural institutions that you legitimize by performing there, and about the Palestinian kids (and people) whose voice you silence by ignoring their call for solidarity through boycott.

 

PLEASE think through Israel’s trespasses and say no to performing in Israel.

Yours Sincerely,
The Palestinian Campaign for the Cultural and Academic Boycott of Israel

Tricky_-_August_13,_2009

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

On twitter: @KnowleWestboy

Official Facebook page

Letter from DPAI (Don’t Play Apartheid Israel) Tricky: Cancel your apartheid Israel Gig, recognize BDS!

Letter from BDS France:  Lettre a Tricky: reconsider your planned concert in apartheid Israel

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

Brian Kerr launches ‘Gaza Kids to Ireland’

Gaza Action Ireland launched its Gaza Kids to Ireland project today in Dublin, with the support of Brian Kerr, former Irish national team manager,  who spoke very eloquently and passionately on the terrible and illegal obstacles apartheid Israel imposes on Palestinian football players both in Gaza and the West Bank. These include preventing the team from playing and training together, imprisoning players and coaches and have also seen players being shot, coupled with the bombing of the stadium in Gaza. In this light Kerr noted that the achievement of sports people in Palestine to continue to try to play and to compete successfully is remarkable. He also remembered the four children from the Bakr family who were murdered as they played football on the beach in Gaza this summer in Israel’s murderous assault which killed more than 2,200 people.

Press release from GAI below, article from the Journal here. ‘7-year olds in Gaza have suffered three wars and yet they’re still trying to play football.’

Interview with Trevor Hogan on the Tubridy Show, from 49 mins. Irish Independent piece:  Gaza’s young footballers gear up for visit to Ireland

Many thanks to everyone who came along and have been helping out with this project, particularly to the chair and vice-chair of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Martin Quigley and Fatin Al Tamimi. Also to Peter Houlihan for the photos.

We will keep people notified on how to get involved with this project, meanwhile if you would like to donate, please see the Gaza Action Ireland website.

Follow us on twitter @GazaAI1

Free Palestine!

GKI5

Photo Peter Houlihan PH Photography

Brian Kerr launches ‘Gaza Kids to Ireland’

A TEAM of Palestinian children from the besieged Gaza strip will play football in Ireland next summer, thanks to an initiative launched today by former Irish manager and leading football pundit Brian Kerr.

Hundreds of children were killed and approximately 3,000 were injured in Israel’s summer onslaught on the territory.

“We’d love to do something to help all of Gaza’s kids to have a normal childhood,” Kerr said at the launch in Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin, today. “In the meantime we can show this small group of them our hospitality – and the special sort of solidarity that comes from competing on a football pitch.”

Under-14 members of the Al-Helal club, based in northern Gaza, will play against teams from Dublin, Tipperary, Limerick and Antrim during their visit next August.

The ‘Gaza Kids to Ireland’ trip will see the children make a daunting journey across Egypt’s Sinai Desert, because the simpler route through Israel is closed by the illegal siege, and because Gaza doesn’t have an airport. It is being organised by Gaza Action Ireland (GAI) and Antrim to Gaza, who need to raise thousands of euro to support the initiative.

Contributions can be made at www.gazaactionireland.ie.

“Most people in Ireland were sickened at the sight of what Gaza’s men, women and children suffered under Israeli bombardment in July and August,” ex-rugby international Trevor Hogan, one of the GAI organisers of the visit, said today. “But the maiming and murder of so many kids was especially heartbreaking.

“We’ve expressed our anger already, not only at last summer’s assault but at the ongoing siege of this small, densely populated territory,” Hogan added. “This trip offers us a different way to show our support for the children of Palestine.”

Al-Helal’s clubhouse was damaged in the Israeli assaults of 2012 and 2014. It stands close to the beach, but the sea there is usually too polluted with sewage for the children to play in it.

“Even in Ireland, playing football is often the main form of exercise and entertainment that is freely available to children,” Kerr, who is also a director of Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI), said. “Imagine what it must mean to Gaza’s kids, who have just lived through the third major attack in less than six years on the territory where they live.”

GAI coordinator Zoë Lawlor said the organisers were delighted to have the support of many Irish sportspeople.

GKI6Photo Peter Houlihan PH Photography

GKI7Photo Fatin Al Tamimi

Event: Brian Kerr launches ‘Gaza Kids to Ireland’ football initiative

When: Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 11am

Where: Buswell’s Hotel, Molesworth Street, Dublin

 

A TEAM of Palestinian children will play football in Ireland next summer, thanks to an initiative to be launched next Wednesday by former Irish manager and leading football pundit Brian Kerr.

Ex-rugby international Trevor Hogan, one of the organisers of the visit, will also speak at the launch.

Under-14 members of the Al-Helal club, based in northern Gaza, will play against teams from Dublin, Tipperary, Limerick and Belfast during their visit next August.

The trip – which will see the children make a daunting journey across Egypt’s Sinai Desert, because the simpler route through Israel is closed by the siege – is being organised by Gaza Action Ireland and Antrim to Gaza, who need to raise thousands of euro to support the initiative.

Al-Helal’s clubhouse was damaged in the Israeli assaults of 2012 and 2014. With the nearby sea polluted by sewage, football is often the only exercise and entertainment available to Gaza’s children, who have just lived through the third major attack in less than six years on the territory where they live.

The organisers are pleased to have the support of many Irish sportspeople, including Kerr, who also serves as a director of SARI (Sport Against Racism Ireland).

AL H

The children of Al Helal Football Club, Gaza.

Irish group’s cautious welcome for Gaza ceasefire – Gaza Action Ireland

Irish group’s cautious welcome for Gaza ceasefire

A CESSATION of the assault on Gaza is to be welcomed, but we must ensure it brings a just and lasting peace and an end to the siege of the Palestinian territory, Gaza Action Ireland (GAI) said today.

“The people of Gaza have been traumatised by seven weeks of constant bombardment, death and injury, displacement and wanton destruction of their homes and most of their infrastructure and on that basis we welcome any respite from Israel’s violence,” GAI coordinator Zoe Lawlor said.

“However, this is the third occasion in six years that Gaza has been subjected to sustained attack by Israel, with devastating results,” Lawlor added. “The damage to Gaza’s infrastructure is worse than that in 1967. According to military analysts, the explosive power of the bombs was equal to the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima.”

Lawlor continued: “We in Gaza Action Ireland mourn the barbaric loss of life, with over 2,100 Palestinians dead, around 500 of whom were children. The psychological trauma caused by the attack cannot be underestimated and the scars will stay with the living forever.”

Mags O’Brien, another GAI coordinator, said: “The full terms of the ceasefire are as yet unclear but seem to be little more than previous ceasefire agreements, which failed to address the root causes of the ongoing conflict, that of Israel’s stranglehold control over every aspect of life in the Gaza Strip and, more fundamentally, the future and the autonomy of an independent state of Palestine.

Gaza

“History is doomed to repeat itself unless these issues are finally addressed,” O’Brien said. “The world cannot close its eyes to the problem. Moreover, unless the blockade is finally and completely dismantled, the danger remains that there will be yet another murderous onslaught by Israel on this tiny stretch of overpopulated land and on a people that have suffered devastating trauma.”

O’Brien said she hoped the widespread Irish support for Gaza during this conflict would continue past the ceasefire: “The thousands upon thousands in Ireland who marched, protested and publicly called for an end to the devastation in Gaza, and for the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador, must continue to support the call for a just solution to the conflict in Israel/Palestine.”

GAI strongly supports the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.  “Isolation is a powerful weapon, as was evidenced in South Africa,” Lawlor said. “We call on the Irish Government to ban all Israeli imports and to call within the EU for suspension of Israel’s privileged trading status on human-rights grounds. Israel must not be granted impunity for its war crimes against the Palestinian people and must be held accountable.

“We wish to send all our solidarity and respect to the people of Gaza whose resilience and resistance is incredible. The illegal Israeli siege of Gaza must be ended immediately and permanently,” Lawlor concluded.

 

 

Gaza Action Ireland, which grew out of the Irish Ship to Gaza initiative, is a solidarity group that organises civil-society contacts between Ireland and Palestinians in the Gaza strip. It is responsible for the Windows Into Gaza art exhibition that is currently touring Ireland, and it is planning to bring a team of young footballers from Gaza to play here. In addition to artists and sports clubs, it has also forged links with fishermen, journalists, human-rights activists and providers of emergency services.

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