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November 13, 2014, New York, NY - On busy Lafayette Avenue outside Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), 80 New Yorkers gathered last night to dance and sing in protest of Batsheva Dance Company's performances in BAM's 2014 Next Wave Festival (photos). Batsheva's appearance is part of the “Brand Israel” initiative designed to distract from the facts of Israel’s ongoing occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, and its denial of rights to Palestinians the world over. The demonstration was organized by Adalah-NY and endorsed by 15 other local human rights organizations including the BDS Arts Coalition, Brooklyn For Peace, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and the Ya-Ya Network.

Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs touts Batsheva as "perhaps the best known global ambassador of Israeli culture." Batsheva is funded in part by that government office as well as by the Ministry of Culture and Sports. While Batsheva artistic director Ohad Naharin has criticized Israeli abuses of Palestinians, Batsheva Dance Company continues in its role as a prominent cultural ambassador of the Israeli state.

November 4, 2014, New York, NY - In a public letter, over 4000 individuals and 50 groups from around the world have called for the New York-based World Music Institute (WMI) to cancel their presentation of a concert by Israeli musician Idan Raichel on November 18 at New York City’s Symphony Space due to Raichel’s role as a cultural ambassador for Israel who provides “uncritical support for the Israeli military and government.” Raichel will be performing with the Malian musician Vieux Farka Touré.

Current signatories to the letter calling on WMI to drop Raichel include filmmaker and WMI honorary board member Mira Nair; the Grammy-nominated Haitian band Boukman Eksperyans, scheduled to perform with WMI in May; Egyptian writer and activist Ahdaf Soueif; musician Shubha Mudgal; writer and art critic Lucy Lippard; poet Ammiel Alcalay; actor David Clennon; the Palestinian hip hop group DAM; playwright Naomi Wallace; and groups from the US, India, South Africa, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.

October 27, 2014 – The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported today (article in English) that representatives from Africa Israel (AI) and its construction subsidiary Danya Cebus, targets of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, say they will stop building Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including in Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem. Yedioth Ahronoth reported that protests against settlement construction beyond the Green Line were among the main reasons for AI’s decision. The Israeli newspaper cited Africa Israel’s past construction the settlements of Har Homa, Gilo, Ma'aleh Adumim, Ariel, and Mattityahu East. However, Adalah-NY believes that this announcement - undoubtedly the result of seven years of pressure generated by Adalah-NY and allied groups worldwide and a sign of the growing strength of the BDS movement - should be greeted with vigilance because Africa Israel has in the past made similar statements that proved to be untrue.

In fact, according to the Israeli watchdog group Who Profits, “In October 2010, in an official letter to Who Profits, Africa-Israel stated: ‘Neither the company nor any of its subsidiaries and/or other companies controlled by the company are presently involved in or has any plans for future involvement in development, construction or building of real estate in settlements in the West Bank.’ However, the company soon after received a 78 million shekel contract to construct the C-Jerusalem project in the settlement neighborhood of Gilo in East Jerusalem.”

Tell the World Music Institute that presenting Idan Raichel is not in line with your values or theirs.

This letter was emailed to the World Music Institute on October 2, 2014. After WMI failed to respond it was made public here on October 9.


 

To the staff and board of the World Music Institute:

As organizations and individuals who support the struggle for justice, human rights, equality and democracy in the Middle East, we are contacting you because we do not feel that Idan Raichel’s presence on the Symphony Space stage (scheduled for November 18, 2014) for a concert presented by the World Music Institute is in keeping with our values or yours. Idan Raichel has publicly endorsed torture and explicitly describes his role as an artist in terms of uncritical support for the Israeli military and government. He wrote in the Jerusalem Post in June 2014 that “In creating this musical project we feel as if we are cultural ambassadors for Israel.” He added, “When I look back over the past few years, I see an Israel I am happy with.”

Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel endorsed a demonstration at the Brooklyn Nets - Maccabi Tel Aviv game on Tuesday, Oct. 7.  The demonstration was centered around protesting the Nets' hosting of 12 Israeli Defense Forces members who participated in this summer's military attack on Gaza.  That attack killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, the vast majority civilians, including more than 500 children.  This demonstration concluded at 8 p.m., hours before the Nets game ended. According to reports that have been brought to our attention, the NYPD is investigating an incident in which a Mr. Leonard Petlakh claimed he was attacked by "pro-Palestinian demonstrators" after the game and sustained a broken nose.

Adalah-NY wants to make clear that the demonstration and the alleged assault on Mr. Petlakh are two distinct events, occurring at different times of day. The demonstration was a peaceful protest and should not be conflated with a post-game altercation.

Tell the Brooklyn Book Festival to no longer accept partnerships with the Israeli government or complicit institutions.

To the Brooklyn Book Festival Inc. and the Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council:

We, the undersigned, including participants and exhibitors at the Brooklyn Book Festival, recently noticed that the festival has chosen to accept support from Israel's Office of Cultural Affairs in New York for one of its panels.

It is deeply regrettable that the Festival has chosen to accept funding from the Israeli government just weeks after Israel's bloody 50-day assault on the Gaza Strip, which left over 2100 Palestinians – including 500 children – dead, displaced a fourth of the population, destroyed homes, schools, and hospitals, and involved numerous potential war crimes. Sustaining a partnership with the Israeli Consulate at this time amounts to a tacit endorsement of Israel's many violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.

New York, NY, September 2, 2014 - On August 23, the Los Angeles group Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) released a widely reported on statement in Billboard Magazine - “200 Hollywood Heavyweights Support Israel.” What was not reported is that CCFP is a “creative” front group for the right-wing, pro Israeli settler nonprofit StandWithUs, that has a close relationship with the Israeli government. Though CCFP carefully avoids explaining this on their website and materials, CCFP is the same legally-registered nonprofit as StandWithUs (SWU), and, as of October 2013, operated from within SWU’s LA office.

Felice Gelman from Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel commented, “We wonder if CCFP explained to the Hollywood luminaries who signed its statement, like Ziggy Marley and Sarah Silverman, that its apolitical message of ‘art building bridges for peace’ is actually a sanitizing front for the right-wing, pro-settler organization StandWithUs, that has deep ties to the Israeli government? We are also concerned that US media covering the statement did not report on who CCFP really is.”

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New York, NY, July 24, 2014 – Tonight close to two thousand New Yorkers protested Israel’s military assault on Gaza in a rally at Foley Square. The crowd, led by protest organizers, spoke aloud the names and ages of the over 170 Palestinian children killed in Israel’s current assault. The protesters then marched through lower Manhattan carrying Palestinian flags and signs demanding an end to the US government’s and New York City elected officials’ support for Israel’s current massacre in Gaza, and Israel’s ongoing occupation and colonization of Palestine. They also called for a boycott of companies profiting from Israel’s human rights abuses, and an end to the siege of Gaza.

The march stepped off to the rhythms of an activist marching band, the Rude Mechanical Orchestra (RMO). Protesters chanted, “Israel bombs, we protest—boycott, sanction, and divest!” As the group passed, cars honked in support, and tourists videoed and gave thumbs-up signs. The march ended next to the Hudson River, where the RMO led the group in singing the popular Palestinian song “Wein a Ramallah.”

New York NY, July 12, 2014—On the evening of July 11, 400 New Yorkers gathered at Union Square in lower Manhattan to protest the escalation of Israel’s ongoing violence against Palestinians, and to reaffirm their support for the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law. (photos)

As of early morning on Saturday, July 12, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza reported that Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip had killed 114 Palestinians—of whom 94 were civilians, including 26 children and 18 women. 799 others had been wounded, mostly civilians.

Activists handed out fliers to passersby and held signs and banners expressing sorrow and outrage over the attacks on Palestinians, and urging international solidarity in the form of BDS. Dozens of protesters wore signs each bearing the name of a Palestinian killed by Israel in Gaza over the last days. Marching down Broadway south of Union Square through Friday evening traffic, the group called out chants including, “Gaza is under attack! What are you gonna do? Stand up, fight back!” and “BDS - heed the call, fight for justice...for all!”