Cultural Boycott

OVERVIEW

Cultural boycott is one element of the international boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign (BDS) called for by Palestinians and supported by individuals and organizations around the world. BDS aims to place pressure on Israel and sends the message that there will be no business as usual until it ends its occupation, colonization, and apartheid policies.  Recognizing that Israeli cultural institutions have failed to respond to their government’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights, and that many institutions are active in whitewashing Israel’s crimes, Palestinians launched the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

In July 2004, PACBI issued a call to international artists to refrain from participating in cultural events in Israel and to international civil society to boycott Israeli-sponsored cultural events around the world.

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New York, NY, June 18, 2014 – Twenty New York human rights advocates protested this morning at NBC’s Today Show and NBC’s headquarters at Rockefeller Plaza in midtown Manhattan, chanting and holding signs calling on NBC to stop filming its new archeological drama DIG in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem with support and funding from the Israeli government. The crowd, crew and security at NBC’s Today Show turned to look at the colorful signs and Palestinian flags, and to listen to the chants as the protesters circled the plaza.

NBC received a $6.2 million grant from the Israeli government to film DIG as part of an Israeli government initiative to “brand Jerusalem and the State of Israel in a positive light.” NBC is filming DIG now in East Jerusalem despite letters of protest from Hanan Ashrawi of the PLO, and from Palestinian and US human rights groups. A Jerusalem-based human rights advocate recently walked onto the DIG set in a tunnel in East Jerusalem and spoke with the show’s star, Jason Isaacs, explaining to Isaacs that, “just meters from us Palestinians are targets of ethnic cleansing.”

Abstract: 

Like most seasoned conductors, Zubin Mehta has built his reputation on interpretations of a core repertory, in his case the music of Romantic-era giants like Bruckner, Tchaikovsky and Mahler. But on tour with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, an ensemble that named him music director for life in 1981, he is increasingly in demand for his exegesis of a long-winded drama fueled by high passions of a different kind: Middle East politics.

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MEDIA CONTACT: info@adalahny.org

October 29, New York, NY – Outside Manhattan’s normally staid Lincoln Center cultural complex tonight, 50 New Yorkers delivered a clear message rejecting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s (IPO) deliberate use of art to whitewash Israel’s systematic and brutal repression of the rights of the Palestinian people. The IPO, which was holding a fundraising concert, calls itself “Israel’s musical ambassador throughout the country and the world” and helps to project a positive image of Israel, diverting attention from Israel’s human rights abuses, as part of the Israeli government’s “Brand Israel” initiative.

Many of the well-dressed patrons, who had paid up to $5000 apiece for tickets to the IPO concert at the Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, looked disturbed to encounter a radical marching band, the Rude Mechanical Orchestra (RMO), and a crowd of protesters with chants that included, “Your orchestra is classy, your piano is so grand, we’d love to have you play for us when you stop stealing land;” and “Oboe, trumpet and bassoon, apartheid is out of tune.”

Other passers-by read the literature being distributed by protesters and, in some cases, took up signs and joined the demonstration. Eight dancers in a second floor Alice Tully Hall studio with floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the protest, inspired by the RMO’s renditions of “Which Side Are You On?” and “We Shall Not Be Moved,” treated the crowd to an impromptu dance performance.

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