Press Release

November 19, New York, NY –  Demonstrators protesting the performance of Israeli musician Idan Raichel overflowed police barricades in front of Symphony Space Tuesday evening (PHOTOS). With creative signs, songs, poetry, dance and hip-hop performances, over 60 New Yorkers braved the sub-freezing temperatures to highlight the contradiction between Raichel’s self-image as a representative of a “tolerant, multi-ethnic Israel” and his role as a cultural ambassador for Israel and its brutal policies toward Palestinians.

Raichel’s image as a musician who crosses cultural boundaries has made him an important cultural ambassador for Israel in its rebranding campaign. Israeli Foreign Ministry official Andy David said of Raichel: “I think Idan is maybe the best ambassador that Israel has through his music and his inclusiveness.” Raichel has affirmed his role in drumming up support for the Israeli government, saying, “I believe that our role as artists is to enlist in the Israeli propaganda campaign [Hasbara].”

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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.

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!”

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New York, NY, July 9, 2014— As Israel escalated its assault on the Palestinian people, more than 100 human rights activists gathered Monday evening near New York City’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge to mark the 9th anniversary of the July 9, 2005 Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

The protestors spoke out against the current onslaught of Israeli military and settler violence against Palestinians, and vowed to intensify BDS campaigns targeting Israel, with the aim of ending Israeli apartheid and occupation. Since Monday, Israeli bombs have killed 40 Palestinians, including 13 children, in the Gaza Strip alone.

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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.”

New York, NY, April 22, 2014—On Earth Day, 70 human rights activists gathered on New York City's Upper West Side outside the iconic Zabar's store, demanding that SodaStream home carbonation devices be removed from the shelves because they are made in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank (photos; video). The demonstration was coordinated by the NYC Coalition Against SodaStream, which is made up of Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, Jewish Voice for Peace—NYC Chapter (JVP), Jews Say No!, and Park Slope Food Coop Members for BDS.

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March 8, New York, NY— On a sunny day, 100 New Yorkers marched through crowds of shoppers on Broadway in lower Manhattan today, chanting, singing and carrying signs calling for a boycott of Israel. The protesters stopped to sing boycott songs at Ricky’s, Best Buy, Crate and Barrel and Staples, stores that sell the Israeli settlement products Ahava and SodaStream, and at Israeli-owned businesses Aroma Espresso Bar and Max Brenner, both of which have ties to Israel's military occupation. 

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