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Boycotting Israel gains momentum

Remember Palestine-06-16-2012 from Press TV with Lauren Booth featuring Gilad Atzmon.

As convoys and flotillas are being increasingly blocked from entering Palestine, activists look increasingly to the Boycott Movement as a way to pressure Israel. Most recently, the Co-operative Group decided to no longer engage with any supplier of produce known to be sourcing from the Israeli settlements. This was a great achievement for activists who have campaigned for this kind of boycott for years in the face of government’s refusal to act in compliance with international human rights norms.

This month campaigns were also held against the Habima Theatre Company performance as part of the Globe’s Shakespeare festival. This boycott was called in response to the Palestinian call to boycott all Israeli cultural institutions which “continue to serve the purposes of the Israeli colonial and apartheid regime”. The protest at Habima’s performance was covered by most of the UK’s major news outlets drawing attention to Israel’s human rights violations.

4 Responses to Boycotting Israel gains momentum

  1. Roy Bard June 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    Its interesting watching how the decision by Alice Walker not to allow Yediot Books to publish The Colour Purple is being reported as her refusing to allow it to be published in Hebrew. The letter says nothing about that – pointing out that it is Israel’s behaviour that is the problem and also explaining that she campaigned ahainst the showing of the Spielberg film of the book in South Africa during the anti-Apartheid boycott. It seems pretty clear that her objection is to an Israeli comapny publishing her book.

    Yet its widely reported as her refusing to allow a Hebrew translation (in fact one exists from the 80s)

    The most extreme so far has to be Alice Walker: The Color of Anti-Semitism

    It is impossible to win the battle against antisemitism, when any action is twisted to racialise it …..

  2. Roy Bard June 20, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    They say we need books like “The Color Purple” in order to help us open people’s hearts and minds and promote peace. But “The Color Purple” already came out in Israel some time ago. So did books by G.M. Coetzee, and books by Palestinian authors, and Israeli journalists and Israeli ex-soldiers. The bookshops are filled with political writings such as these, and have been for quite some time. The occupation has been with us for quite some time as well. Is another translation of “The Color Purple” going to change anything about the occupation? Probably not. But the turmoil created around the refusal to have it translated might actually help.

    This is the whole point of the boycott movement – to encourage artists, who would otherwise simply write and perform, to make a stand. It may be a choice to boycott Israel altogether, or to visit both Israel and Palestinein an informal visit, or to go on a formal visit (crossing the BDS picket line) – but make statements against the occupation. Whereas once Israelis could go on without any notion of what their favorite artists think of their compliance with the apartheid – now they are forced to hear them, one of or another. And like the newspapers that printed empty, clean, white issues to protest censorship laws, so does the echoing denial of words by Alice Walker speaks volumes in itself. The rest is silence.

    Haggai Matar in the cultural boycott debate on 972 magazine

    • Ariadna Theokopoulos June 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

      Great statement. Thanks for providing the link, Roy.
      I also read this statement by Sheizaf there that I find persuasive:

      “Finally, a word about cultural boycotts. People hate them, and they are usually met with more anger and frustration than any other form of boycott. I think that the reason lies not in the the special value of music or literature, but in the fact that it’s the elites that consume most of those imported cultural products, and when you hurt the elite, they cry louder. But for this reason, it’s a more effective and even more moral form of boycott. Economic boycott hurt the poor first, in a way that could actually put their lives and well-being in danger. It’s unfair, because the poor are usually the last to influence policy. Cultural boycott targets the elites, and doesn’t kill anyone. So I think it’s actually fairer game and more effective than other forms of political sanctions.”

  3. Jonathon Blakeley June 20, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    Hit them where it hurts, with Israel they love their culture. Boycott them there, all Israeli nationals are fair targets. Stink bomb their cultural events, simple effective covert and very smelly, Like they are.