Prompted by recent media attacks on human rights activists the Irish Anti War Movement today issued a statement expressing its full support of the cultural boycott campaign which asks artists not to perform in apartheid Israel. The statement noted that the cultural boycott is part of an International Campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). It was called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005 in response to the failure of the international community to hold Israel accountable for its illegal and brutal occupation of Palestinian lands.
For decades, Israel has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination through ethnic cleansing, colonization, racial discrimination and military occupation. Despite condemnation from the UN and human rights organizations Israel’s crimes and violation of international law continues with impunity.
The statement went on to say that the call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
Israeli cultural and academic institutions directly contribute to maintaining, defending or whitewashing the oppression of Palestinians, as Israel deliberately tries to boost its image internationally through academic and cultural collaborations. As part of the boycott, academics, artists and consumers are campaigning against such collaboration and ‘rebranding’. A growing number of artists have refused to exhibit or play in Israel. 200 Irish artists, including Damien Dempsey and Christy Moore, have signed the Irish Artists pledge to boycott Israel. Among many prominent international artists to decline or cancel performances in Israel are; Roger Waters, Bjork, Snoop Dog and the Pixies.
The statement quoted the following statement that has been made by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in response to the boycott campaign;
“Just as we said during apartheid that it was inappropriate for international artists to perform in South Africa in a society founded on discriminatory laws and racial exclusivity, so it would be wrong for Cape Town Opera to perform in Israel.”
In response to recent accusations in the media and by politicians of cyber-bullying by the IPSC Lola Hynes, of the IAWM Steering Committee said.
“Members of the IPSC work tirelessly to educate and inform people of the cruel apartheid system imposed on the Palestinian people living in Israel. The recent media portrayal of their campaign as one of intimidation is entirely incorrect. The appeals they make to artists to observe the cultural boycott are intelligent, civilized and polite. Unfortunately this is a volatile subject and they cannot be held responsible for what members of the public write in open social media forums. The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign has the complete support of the IAWM in its appeal to artists not to perform in Israel.
She went on to say:
“We also condemn the recent ridiculous comments made by Alan Shatter, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence linking the IPSC to Al Qaeda. It is disgraceful that peaceful human rights campaigners should be defamed in this way.”
The statement welcomed the recent move by the Danish Foreign Minister to allow supermarkets to introduce a labelling system alerting consumers to goods produced in illegal settlements and the announcement two days ago by the trade Ministry of South Africa of plans to require "Made in the Occupied Palestinian Territories" labels on products from Jewish settlements in place of "Made in Israel" labels.
It also acknowledged Minister Eamon Gilmore’s comments last week that Ireland may push for the EU to ban goods from Israeli settlements if Israel does not quickly change its settlements policy in Palestinian territories but noted that he should really follow the Danish and South African examples.
The statement concluded by calling on the Irish Government to actually ban such products from entering Ireland and to support the cultural boycott until Israel complies with international law and stops terrorizing the Palestinian people and stealing their land.
For further information contact;
Lola Hynes Secretary Steering Committee, IAWM – 086 8228795
Jim Roche PRO Steering Committee, IAWM – 087 6472737
Website - www.irishantiwar.org
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