‘We refuse to be complicit': Over 150 Swiss artists call to boycott Israeli art fest

Activism
on 15 Comments
culturescapes
 

The Swiss BDS Group has announced a statement signed by over 150 Swiss artists calling on artists, cultural institutions and the public to boycott the Culturescapes Israel festival and a “Swiss Season” program which hosts Swiss artists in Israel.

Among the signatories are the internationally acclaimed filmmakers Claude Goretta and Alain Tanner, the theater directors François Rochaix and Jean Grädel, as well as the actor Jean-Luc Bideau. A Swiss BDS Group press release says Culturescapes Israel festival and “Swiss Season” programs represent “the largest Israeli propaganda effort ever launched in Switzerland through the domain of culture.”

From the Declaration of Swiss Artists Responding to the Palestinian Appeal for Solidarity:

When Israel, through the Culturescapes festival, conducts a wide public relations campaign in Switzerland, when the program Swiss Season invites Swiss artists to present their works in prestigious venues in Israel, the undersigned artists and cultural actors hereby express their rejection of the politics of the Israeli state, policies which, for over 60 years, violate the rights of the Palestinian people.

The flattering image that Israel seeks to present, an image of a country in which creativity blooms in freedom, clashes with the reality that the Palestinian people endures. The refugees are still refused their right to return, Palestinians citizens of Israel are subject to legal and cultural segregation, the Gaza Strip is still under siege, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem remain under military occupation. In contempt of the law and public protestations, Israel continues the colonization and the construction of the separation wall in the West Bank and Jerusalem. We recognize in these politics the traits of an apartheid regime, as defined by international law.

In order to resist against this oppressive situation, and in order to struggle against the impunity that Israel enjoys through the support of the great powers, Palestinian civil society launched an appeal for solidarity in the form of Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions – BDS). We note that the non-violent boycott, when it gains wide popular support, is an effective means of putting pressure on those in power. Israeli companies such as Agrexco, which exploited agricultural land in the Occupied Territories, and multinational corporations such as Veolia, which is implicated in the construction of the light train project that connects the illegal settlements to the center of Jerusalem, have been subject to the successful pressure of BDS supporters. BDS is also adopted by the group of Israeli citizens, Boycott from Within, continuing their actions despite the anti-boycott law passed recently in the Israeli parliament.

Palestinian artists and intellectuals launched the Palestinian call for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel – PACBI), directed at their fellow artists and intellectuals all over the world. Many internationally recognizes names have responded to the call, including John Berger, Bjork, Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, Eduardo Galeano, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Henning Mankell, Massive Attack, Arundhati Roy, and Carlos Santana. Israel’s present publicity offensive in Switzerland gives us the opportunity to respond in our turn to this Palestinian appeal for solidarity.

We refuse to be complicit. Conscious of our political responsibility as artists and as citizens, we express our support for the boycott, and we pledge not to present our works in Israel, for as long as persist the occupation and the colonization of the Palestinian territories, for as long as equality is denied Palestinian who are citizens of Israel, and for as long as the right of return of the refugees is refused.

15 Responses

  1. muzz al atesta
    December 6, 2011, 12:01 pm

    thanks Adam

    BDS worldwide!

    link to bds-info.ch

    link to occupyzuerich.ch

  2. Theo
    December 6, 2011, 1:50 pm

    We have a lot more artists in this country, what happened to them?

  3. hophmi
    December 6, 2011, 5:26 pm

    From the people who brought you WWII neutrality and served as a clearinghouse for stolen Jewish assets.

    • Inanna
      December 7, 2011, 2:25 am

      Said by the person who supports a state that stole the homes, lands, furniture, books, cars, livestock and lives of over 1 million people since 1948 and is continuing to do it to this day.

      Don’t you ever suffer from cognitive dissonance when you make these sorts of statements?

      • hophmi
        December 7, 2011, 3:05 am

        I support a state that built itself up from nothing and is the most liberal in the region. And no, I suffer no cognitive dissonance because I do not single out Israel for special treatment like everyone else here.

      • john h
        December 7, 2011, 1:18 pm

        I do not single out Israel for special treatment

        That is exactly what you and nearly all Zionists do. It is also what the US and most Western countries do.

        It is the essence of Zionism, seen from Balfour onwards. It is endemic in Israel’s flouting of international law with impunity, in the Holocaust factor, and in the US misuse of its SC veto.

        It is also seen in Israel’s position that its history gives it a right no other nation has had, to “return” to and rule a land inhabited by another people for over 1000 years.

      • john h
        December 7, 2011, 3:28 pm

        I suffer no cognitive dissonance

        Let’s check that claim out by considering what cognitive dissonance is.

        Cognitive dissonance is a condition of conflict or even anxiety resulting from holding conflicting ideas simultaneously.

        The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions.[1] Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying.

        Dissonance can also lead to confirmation bias, the denial of dis-confirming evidence, and other ego defense mechanisms.

        People are biased to think of their choices as correct, despite any contrary evidence.

        The anxiety that comes with the possibility of having made a bad decision can lead to rationalization, the tendency to create additional reasons or justifications to support one’s choices.

        This bias gives dissonance theory its predictive power, shedding light on otherwise puzzling irrational and destructive behavior.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        That describes all Zionists. It stems from the choice they made for Zionism.

        In the first place, if anyone objects that this point of view is immoral, I answer: It is not true: either Zionism is moral and just, or it is immoral and unjust.

        But that is a question that we should have settled before we became Zionists. Actually we have settled that question, and in the affirmative.

        We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done, no matter whether Joseph or Simon or Ivan or Achmet agree with it or not.

        There is no other morality.

        Jabotinsky, The Iron Wall

      • john h
        December 7, 2011, 5:07 pm

        I support a state that built itself up from nothing

        Darn right it was nothing. It only became something by building on the backs of others. The British, the Palestinians, the Americans.

        That something is a pariah nation that rides roughshod over anyone and everyone that stands in its way. It is built on shifting sand and will one day collapse like the pack of canards it is.

        That you support it tells us much about who you are. Like most Zionists, it is not mere support but the bowing of the knee to an idol that is to be defended even at the cost of one’s own soul.

      • Inanna
        December 7, 2011, 8:12 pm

        Actually, the Israeli state built itself up from theft of the property and denial of rights of almost a million people, as well as a lot of help from other states. The fact that this does not even enter your consciousness shows just how much your sectarian viewpoint has killed your compassion as well as your sense of observation.

    • samsoum
      December 7, 2011, 5:06 am

      So individuals are not only responsible for the actions of their government, but also for the actions of all past governments, too.

      Interesting, hophmi. Would like to explain how this also applies to Israel and Israelis? You know, for consistency’s sake. :-)

  4. john h
    December 6, 2011, 8:42 pm

    This is the stand of all who work for justice in Palestine:

    We refuse to be complicit. Conscious of our political responsibility as artists and as citizens, we express our support for the boycott, and we pledge … to struggle against the impunity that Israel enjoys through the support of the great powers … for as long as persist the occupation and the colonization of the Palestinian territories, for as long as equality is denied Palestinian who are citizens of Israel, and for as long as the right of return of the refugees is refused.

  5. DanMazella
    December 7, 2011, 8:46 am

    Inanna, its sad you support the Arabs who stole over 1 million Jewish holmes in the Arab countries and attacked Israel in 48 with the intentions of commiting a massacre against Jews.

  6. DanMazella
    December 7, 2011, 8:47 am

    To funny, these people think Israel is going to be swamped by millions of Arabs.
    Yeah and i’m from Lake Stupid.
    Opposing Arab colonialism and Muslim oppression of women and non-Muslims, and supporting the free and democratic state of Israel are progressive positions.

    • Woody Tanaka
      December 7, 2011, 9:13 am

      “supporting the free and democratic state of Israel are progressive positions.”

      Exactly. EVERY progressive I knows has NO problem, no problem at all at holding millions of people as stateless individuals without recourse to the democratic process based solely on their etho-religious background. Why, that’s virtually the definition of progressivism.

    • john h
      December 7, 2011, 1:39 pm

      supporting the free and democratic state of Israel

      Too right this is a progressive position.

      A state that is so free it can thumb its nose at international law and hold millions of people in a vast prison.

      A state that is so democratic that it gives an automatic right of return to any Jew who had not lived there and an automatic refusal of return to any non-Jew who had lived there.

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