Tony Greenstein | 18 November 2015 | Post Views:

artists support New York-based campaign for cultural boycott of Israel

Tunde Adebimpe of the band TV on the Radio. (Image: Adalah-NY)

new video released by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of
Israel features eight leading artists stating, “I endorse the cultural
boycott of Israel.” The artists include Tony-nominated stage and television
actress Kathleen Chalfant; musician Roger Waters, a founding member of Pink
Floyd; musicians Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio; musicians Kool
A.D and Tamar-kali; artist and author of Drawing Blood, Molly Crabapple;
and visual artist Swoon.

movement for a global boycott of Israel — launched by a coalition of over 170
Palestinian trade unions, political parties and human rights groups in order to
advance their movement for freedom, justice and equality — has steadily gained
support worldwide over the last decade. The video was released by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel and
is accompanied by an appeal for more cultural workers to pledge their support
for the boycott of Israel.
Roger Waters
asked why she participated in the video, Kathleen Chalfant said: “The
Israeli government and army restrict the freedom of Palestinian cultural
workers almost daily. A growing movement for the cultural boycott of Israel
helps to amplify the voices of Palestinian artists who are struggling under
occupation, and will help to pressure Israel to respect the rights of
Palestinian artists, and of all Palestinians.”
Israeli government launched a Brand Israel public relations campaign in
2006, which attempts to use art and music to distract attention from
Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights. Nonetheless, a growing number of
artists have declined to perform or participate in cultural events in Israel or
with institutions complicit with Israeli rights abuses, including Ms. Lauryn HillRoger WatersElvis CostelloSantanaTalib Kweli, the late Gil Scott HeronCassandra WilsonCat Power,Stevie WonderMira NairKen LoachAlice WalkerMike Leigh,Arundhati Roy, and Jean Luc Godard.
Adebimpe of TV on the Radio commented, “With Israel heightening
its repression of the Palestinian people in the last weeks, we hope that our
speaking out will help encourage others to support the boycott by refusing to
perform in Israel, and refusing to participate in activities funded by the
Israeli government or supported by institutions complicit in Israeli human
rights abuses.”
video begins with Kyp Malone, Roger Waters and Kathleen Chalfant citing three
of many recent examples of Israel’s repression of Palestinian cultural workers.
eight artists then speak in turn about the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians
from their homes by Zionist forces in 1948, and Israel’s ongoing demolition of
Palestinian homes, theft of farmland, arrest of Palestinian children, and siege
and blockade of Gaza, activities subsidized by $120 billion in US aid since
Malone calls for action, “where governments have failed,” and Tunde Adebimpe
follows up, noting that, “In 2004, Palestinian civil society called for a
cultural boycott of Israel.” Swoon then explains, “Cultural boycott is an
ethical rights-based tactic with historical precedent.” The video concludes
with all eight artists stating their support for the boycott, after Roger
Waters implores viewers to “join the cultural boycott of Israel.”
Barghouti, a member of Adalah-NY and a former dancer with the Palestinian dabke
troupe El-Funoun, added, “With this video, which features prominent
artists with connections to New York City, Adalah-NY is also launching a call
for more cultural workers in New York, the US and around the world to publicly
pledge to support the Palestinian boycott call. This is the most significant,
proactive initiative for the cultural boycott of Israel ever undertaken in New
York City.”

New York City cultural workers and groups have already signed a New York City-focused pledge to support the
cultural boycott, including the musician Sonny Singh, the
illustratorSeymour Chwast, and the band the Shondes. On the national
level, over 400 US cultural workers have endorsed a statement supporting the cultural boycott
that is hosted by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of
Israel (USACBI).

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Tony Greenstein

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