From: ben d (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Dec 04 2006 - 02:26:56 PST
From: Steven Rose [mailto:email suppressed]
Subject: FW: Call for a cultural boycott of Israel
Please distribute the call below plus enclosures (with discrimination) to
writers, artists, film makers, musicians and other culture workers amongst
your friends who might be appropriate, urging them to sign John Berger's
appeal, and to return their agreement to sign to me.
Please note that until we have a substantial list of signatures there is an
embargo on publication.
There follows the call for a cultural boycott of Israel,
---- Dear friends; John Berger, Eduardo Galeano, Elia Suleiman and I (Steven Rose) are circulating this letter to you, calling on artists, writers, film-makers and other culture workers to support the call of their Palestinian colleagues for a cultural boycott of Israel. We hope that you will add your signature to it. John's personal addendum to the letter is also copied below. We hope to collect enough signatures over the coming few days to publish the letter in the London Guardian and other newspapers across Europe. If you are willing to sign, please respond directly to me at email suppressed For publication. There is a fragile ceasefire in Lebanon, albeit daily violated by Israeli overflights. Meanwhile the day to day brutality of the Israeli army in Gaza and the West Bank continues. Ten Palestinians are killed for every Israeli death; more than 200, many of them children, have been killed over the summer. UN resolutions are flouted, human rights violated as Palestinian land is stolen, houses demolished and crops destroyed. For archbishop Desmond Tutu, as for the Jewish (former ANC military commander presently South African minister of security), Ronnie Kasrils, the situation of the Palestinians is worse than that of black South Africans under apartheid. Meantime Western governments refer to Israel1s OElegitimate right1 of self-defence, and continue to supply weaponry. The challenge of apartheid was fought better. The non-violent international response to apartheid was a campaign of boycott, divestment, and, finally UN imposed sanctions which enabled the regime to change without terrible bloodshed. Today Palestinians teachers, writers, film-makers and non-governmental organisations have called for a comparable academic and cultural boycott of Israel as offering another path to a just peace. This call has been endorsed internationally by university teachers in many European countries, by film-makers and architects, and by some brave Israeli dissidents. It is now time for others to join the campaign as Primo Levy asked: If not now, when? We call on creative writers and artists to support our Palestinian and Israeli colleagues by endorsing the boycott call. Read the Palestinian call (www.pacbi.org). John Berger Eduardo Galeano Elia Suleiman Steven Rose, Secretary British Committee for the Universities of Palestine You can find more detail of the campaign on our website: www.bricup,.org.uk Please reply to Steven Rose at email suppressed >From John Berger: I would like to make a few personal remarks about this world-wide appeal to teachers, intellectuals and artists to join the cultural boycott of the state of Israel, as called for by over a hundred Palestinian academics and artists, and - very importantly - also by a number of Israeli public figures, who outspokenly oppose their country1s illegal occupation of the Palestine territories of the West Bank and Gaza. Their call is attached, together with my OEAfter Guernica2 drawing. I hope you will feel able to add your signature, to the attached letter, which we intend to publish in national newspapers. The boycott is an active protest against two forms of exclusion which have persisted, despite many other forms of protestations, for over sixty years - for almost three generations. During this period the state of Israel has consistently excluded itself from any international obligation to heed UN resolutions or the judgement of any international court. To date, it has defied 246 Security Council Resolutions! As a direct consequence seven million Palestinians have been excluded from the right to live as they wish on land internationally acknowledged to be theirs; and now increasingly, with every week that passes, they are being excluded from their right to any future at all as a nation. As Nelson Mandela has pointed out, boycott is not a principle, it is a tactic depending upon circumstances. A tactic which allows people, as distinct from their elected but often craven governments, to apply a certain pressure on those wielding power in what they, the boycotters, consider to be an unjust or immoral way. (In white South Africa yesterday and in Israel today, the immorality was, or is being, coded into a form of racist apartheid.) Boycott is not a principle. When it becomes one, it itself risks to become exclusive and racist. No boycott, in our sense of the term, should be directed against an individual, a people, or a nation as such. A boycott is directed against a policy and the institutions which support that policy either actively or tacitly. Its aim is not to reject, but to bring about change. How to apply a cultural boycott? A boycott of goods is a simpler proposition, but in this case it would probably be less effective, and speed is of the essence, because the situation is deteriorating every month (which is precisely why some of the most powerful world political leaders, hoping for the worst, keep silent.). How to apply a boycott? For academics it1s perhaps a little clearer - a question of declining invitations from state institutions and explaining why. For invited actors, musicians, jugglers or poets it can be more complicated. I1m convinced, in any case, that its application should not be systematised; it has to come from a personal choice based on a personal assessment. For instance. An important mainstream Israeli publisher today is asking to publish thre of my books. I intend to apply the boycott with an explanation. There exist, however, a few small, marginal Israeli publishers who expressly work to encourage exchanges and bridges between Arabs and Israelis, and if one of them should ask to publish something of mine, I would unhesitatingly agree and furthermore waive aside any question of author1s royalties. I don1t ask other writers supporting the boycott to come necessarily to exactly the same conclusion. I simply offer an example. What is important is that we make our chosen protests together, and that we speak out, thus breaking the silence of connivance maintained by those who claim to represent us, and thus ourselves representing, briefly by our common action, the incalculable number of people who have been appalled by recent events but lack the opportunity of making their sense of outrage effective. John Berger _________________________________________________________________ Off to school, going on a trip, or moving? Windows Live (MSN) Messenger lets you stay in touch with friends and family wherever you go. Click here to find out how to sign up! http://www.telusmobility.com/msnxbox/ __________________________________________________________________ For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.