On February 3, 2019 New Yorkers demonstrated at Carnegie Hall against a fundraising brunch and performance by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
Palestinian, US Jewish, and Israeli groups joined theater artists in signing a letter calling on Toronto, New York and Pittsburgh arts organizations not to host Israel’s Gesher Theatre or partner with the Israeli government.
Prominent U.S. poets, writers, playwrights and publishers issued statements today in support of imprisoned Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour ahead of her upcoming trial verdict on October 17. The statements calling for her freedom, and demanding that Israel drop all charges against Dareen, released by Jewish Voice for Peace and Adalah-NY, come just as the Israeli government threatens to cut funding to a Yaffa Theater that agreed to host an artists’ solidarity event for Tatour on August 30th. Tatour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was arrested by Israeli authorities 22 months ago, in October 2015, and charged with incitement to violence primarily over a poem she posted online, “Resist, My People, Resist Them,” as well as two Facebook posts.
In a letter made public today, over 60 theater artists have called on Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, a leading U.S. arts institution located in Manhattan, to cancel Israeli government-sponsored performances by two Israeli theater companies scheduled for July 24–27. The signers of the letter have won numerous awards for their work in theater, including four Pulitzer Prizes, three Tony Awards, and nine Obie Awards. The letter signed by the artists asserts that the performances by Israel’s Ha’bima National Theatre and the Cameri Theater of Tel Aviv will help “the Israeli government to implement its systematic ‘Brand Israel’ strategy of employing arts and culture to divert attention from the state’s decades of violent colonization, brutal military occupation and denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people.”
Human rights advocates welcome the decision by PEN America to hold the World Voices Festival of International Literature without funding from the Israeli government.
On Saturday, February 4, New Yorkers will protest Batsheva Dance Company’s evening performance at Brooklyn Academy of Music due to their role as a cultural ambassador for the Israeli government. The protest will call for a boycott of Israeli cultural institutions like Batsheva that are complicit in Israel’s human rights violations.
Batsheva Dance Company of Israel is on a North American tour. More than a dozen activist organizations call for boycotting its performances unless it ceases its role as an ambassador for the Israeli government and condemns Israeli human rights violations.
Over 150 renowned writers, poets, translators, artists and literary figures signed an open letter in solidarity with Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour. Susan Abulhawa, Rae Armantrout, Carl Dennis, Dave Eggers, Carolyn Forché, Jorie Graham, Naomi Klein, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Naomi Shihab Nye, Claudia Rankine, Tracy K Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Ayelet Waldman, Alice Walker and Jacqueline Woodson were among the award-winning literary figures who joined the call for the immediate release of the Palestinian poet who was imprisoned for her poetry.
Yesterday, a diverse group of about 150 New Yorkers protested in front of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Westchester County residence, calling on him to rescind his recent executive order attacking the grassroots boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS) for Palestinian rights. They chanted, “Andrew Cuomo, what a shame, playing Joe McCarthy’s game.”
New York human rights advocates released a parody video of a Taylor Swift song that called for the pop star to publicly distance herself from Israeli diamond and settlement mogul Lev Leviev. The video release followed a Saturday afternoon musical protest at the Leviev diamond store in Manhattan in the run-up to Valentine’s Day, with protesters arriving for the third time in a row to find the store closed on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.