Saturday’s J14 arrests sparks call for cultural boycott from writers opposed to the BDS movement. (Photo: Yotam Ronen/ Activestills.org)
Last Thursday, Israeli writers swiped a tactic from the BDS movement and called for a cultural boycott against Tel Aviv’s White Night festival, exposing the Jewish exclusivity of the J14 protests.
The boycott was sparked after Saturday’s police violence where 89 Jewish Israelis were arrested while protesting for economic reform. In response, the writers Etgar Keret, Orly Castel-Bloom, Alex Epstein, Dof Alfon, and Yaheli Sobol announced they would not attend the literature festival which is part of an annual municipal cultural celebration. Coincidently Etgar and Castel-Bloom’s involvement comes after years of ignoring requests from the BDS movement to cancel appearances in international literature festivals where the two represented Israel.
Haaretz reported the writers explained their decision in a statement last week:
‘Following the violence of the police against demonstrators for social justice, and many other violent acts over the last week, we have decided to cancel our participation in the White Nights events scheduled to take place this Thursday, under the sponsorship of the Tel Aviv municipality,’ the participants announced. ‘Tel Aviv is a beloved and important city to all of us, but right now it has no reason to celebrate.’
The move to boycott the event comes weeks after J14 organizers barred Palestinian women in the Ma’an workers movement—who planned to discuss labor, not the occupation—from speaking on stage at a demonstration. Conversely, last year the social justice leaders gave a platform to Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich, a rightist Knesset member who supports jailing Israeli leftists who oppose deporting African asylum seekers.