Press Release

Joint press release from Jewish Voice for Peace and Adalah-NY

September 1, 2016–A Palestinian citizen of Israel arrested for a poem posted on Youtube has received widespread support from thousands of people around the world, including hundreds of prominent literary figures. An ad placed in this week’s edition of The Nation by Jewish Voice for Peace calls on readers to join over 300 prominent writers, intellectuals and artists, including Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Dave Eggers, Alice Walker, Viet Than Nguyen, and Edwidge Danticat, who have signed a letter calling for the release of poet Dareen Tatour. The ad is headlined, “Poetry Is Not A Crime.”

While Tatour has gained international support, Israeli authorities are attempting to constrain her ability to defend herself at her upcoming hearing on Tuesday September 6th. In a troubling development, the prosecution asked the judge not to allow Tatour’s defense team to submit their own translation from Arabic to Hebrew of Tatour’s poem that is at the center of the case, “Resist, My People, Resist Them.” Tatour is expected to testify at the September 6th hearing to explain that her poem, which was mistranslated by an Israeli policeman, is in fact a legitimate protest against crimes committed by Israeli settlers and soldiers occupying Palestinian land.

Event

Adalah-NY presents

We Teach Life: Rafeef Ziadah, with Phil Monsour

Join critically acclaimed Palestinian spoken-word artist Rafeef Ziadah for the NYC release of her new album, We Teach Life. The evening will feature a powerful selection of Rafeef's poetry in her signature performance style, with original music compositions from Phil Monsour.

Tickets ($5–$15 sliding scale): https://we-teach-life.eventbrite.com 

"Rafeef’s poetry demands to be heard." – Ken Loach

"Sometimes anger provokes truth: bare, free, not to be stifled or evaded. Sometimes anger, indignation, despair, full blown love of the life of one’s people, one’s own land and planet, can bring fierce flower to the poet’s heart. Then we are blessed with passionate words of resistance that can become the foundation of prophecy. A change for which there is no turning back. Such is the case of this poet." – Alice Walker

Rafeef Ziadah is a Palestinian performance poet and human rights activist based in London. Her performances of her poems ‘We Teach Life, Sir’ and ‘Shades of Anger’ went viral online within days of their release. Since the debut of her first album, Hadeel, Rafeef has toured many countries, and in 2012 she was chosen to represent Palestine at the Southbank Centre Poets Olympiad.

Phil Monsour is a singer/songwriter whose music explores complex issues of identity, solidarity, and politics. Based in Brisbane, Phil has extensive performing and recording experience as a solo performer and with his bands, the Phil Monsour Band, the Cutters, and Popproperly.

Organized by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel. Cosponsored by The New School Students for Justice in Palestine.

Invite your friends and spread the word on Facebook! 

Press Release

Joint press release from Jewish Voice for Peace and Adalah-NY

August 4, 2016 – After three months in Israeli prisons and more than six months under house arrest in an apartment near Tel Aviv, last week an Israeli judge ruled to allow Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour to continue her house arrest in her family home near Nazareth. Tatour’s appeal to move her house arrest from an apartment that her family was forced to rent outside Tel Aviv was granted shortly after over 250 literary figures, including 10 Pulitzer Prize-winners, called for her freedom in a letter stating that “that poetry is not a crime.” Tatour finally returned to her family home on July 26th, and is still under house arrest.

Despite this immediate victory, Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, still faces a maximum possible sentence of eight years in prison if convicted on all charges. Her trial will resume on September 6th. Tatour was arrested at her home in October 2015 by Israeli police. She was charged with incitement to violence primarily over a poem she posted online, “Resist, My People, Resist Them,” and two Facebook posts. The conditions of her ongoing house arrest require her to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet, forbid her to use the internet, and only allow her to leave her home three days a week, for two hours each day.

Dareen Tatour explained, “The accusations against me are an attempt to criminalize any expression of legitimate Palestinian political resistance to Israel's occupation. The poem at the center of the indictment speaks about the killing of innocent Palestinians by settlers and by occupation soldiers. Once again Israel not only kills Palestinians, but at the same time won’t even let Palestinians speak of their experience of victimhood."

Press Release

July 6, 2016 - Today, 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 for Palestinian rights. Legal organizations like the New York Civil Liberties Union and Palestine Legal have stated that Governor Cuomo’s executive order threatens the Constitutional rights of all New Yorkers to engage in boycotts and other economic acts of conscience in support of human rights and social justice struggles.

The protesters marched from the Mount Kisco train station to Cuomo’s residence, holding signs saying, “We will continue to boycott for justice until Israel ends the brutal military occupation of Palestine,” and “Right to Boycott,” and chanting “Andrew Cuomo, what a shame, playing Joe McCarthy’s game.” Hundreds of interested passersby took flyers headlined, “Tell Governor Cuomo: rescind the executive order, we have the right to boycott for Palestinian freedom.” The protesters left behind a cardboard tombstone reading “RIP 1st Amendment” that they were promised will be delivered to Governor Cuomo.

Press Release

Alice Walker, Claudia Rankine, Dave Eggers, Natasha Trethewey & hundreds of others join solidarity campaign for Dareen Tatour imprisoned for a poem


 

July 12, 2016–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. (Full list of signers here).

Press Release

New Yorkers demonstrated outside the Governor’s office after he signed an unconstitutional executive order against using boycotts to advocate for an end to Israel’s human rights abuses.

Thursday June 9, 2016–Hundreds of New Yorkers demonstrated this evening outside Governor Cuomo’s Midtown offices, outraged by the Governor’s unconstitutional executive order requiring the state to create a blacklist and divest from corporations and institutions that support the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel. Protesters carried signs that read “We will continue to stand for justice and boycott Israel until the Palestinian people achieve freedom, justice, and equality,” in defiance of the attempt to repress the growing movement for Palestinian rights.

Demonstrators called on Governor Cuomo to rescind his executive order.

Press Release

Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel calls on individuals and groups to oppose the Executive Order by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that prohibits New York State agencies from dealing with companies and institutions that support the boycott of Israel.  

Boycott is an effective moral strategy that has been used to advocate for justice from Montgomery, Alabama to the fields of California, from Arizona to North Carolina to South Africa. Just two months ago Governor Cuomo himself effectively acknowledged boycott’s power to support human rights by banning taxpayer-funded trips to North Carolina to oppose the state’s discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Whether struggling for freedom for African Americans, farm workers, immigrants, trans people, South Africans, or Palestinians, we must stand together to affirm our right to engage in political action.  

The Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement calls on people to refuse to do business with institutions that profit from or are complicit with Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people. It is both unconstitutional and outrageous that Governor Cuomo has committed the State of New York to punishing those who wish to support basic human rights for the Palestinian people. We must fight together to reverse Governor Cuomo's dangerous decision. 

Press Release


New York, NY, April 20, 2016 – A delegation from Adalah-NY, O/R Books and Verso Books held an impromptu meeting with PEN American Center Executive Director Suzanne Nossel on Tuesday regarding the call for PEN to reject Israeli government sponsorship of the World Voices Festival due to the Israeli government’s human rights abuses and suppression of Palestinians’ freedom of expression. The meeting took place in the PEN American Center office in Manhattan after the delegation delivered a letter signed by 12,500 people that called on PEN to reject Israeli government sponsorship for the annual festival, which begins April 25 in New York City. The letter was accompanied by statements from more than 20 literary figures explaining why they signed the letter to PEN.

Though the delegation had not asked for an appointment in advance, Ms. Nossel agreed to meet. While waiting in the reception area, the delegation picked up hard copies of the program for the 2016 World Voices Festival that lists the Israeli Embassy among the “Champions” of the festival supporting writing and free expression.

Ms. Nossel told the visitors that she had read the statements by writers explaining why they believe PEN should reject Israeli government sponsorship. She said the letter and statements raised “legitimate concerns” and that the points were “not lost on her,” and she said there are diverse views on the issue. Ms. Nossel added that being responsive “may take time and space.” When John Oakes from O/R Books suggested that PEN supporters might fundraise to cover the costs of Israeli writers/participants so that PEN could return the money to the Israeli government, Ms. Nossel said PEN cannot consider returning the money, and asserted that there is a strong reaction against the word “boycott.” She did not elaborate on that point.

Press Release

140 Writers Have Signed the Letter, Including 70 PEN Members and World Voices Festival Participants

April 12, 2016, New York, NY – Twenty-two literary figures who signed a letter calling on the PEN American Center to reject Israeli government sponsorship of its World Voices Festival due to Israel’s human rights abuses have elaborated on their decision in quotes below. The Festival is being held in New York City from April 25-May 1.

The letter, originally signed by 61 writers, was sent to PEN on March 29 by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign to Boycott Israel. PEN indicated in a reply that they would not drop Israeli government funding. The number of letter signers has since grown to 140 writers and 13 organizations. Among the newer signers is Dr. Cornel West, who joins a number of other prominent writers and public intellectuals, including Angela Davis, Pulitzer recipients Junot Díaz, Richard Ford and Alice Walker, and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich.

Press Release

PEN Refusing to Drop Sponsorship, According to a Letter to its Members

New York, NY, April 5, 2016 - In a letter made public today over 100 writers, including Pulitzer Prize winners Junot Díaz, Richard Ford, and Alice Walker, and award-winning author Louise Erdrich, have called on the PEN American Center “to reject support from the Embassy of Israel” for PEN’s annual World Voices Festival. The seven-day Festival takes place from April 25 to May 1 in New York City. In promotional materials, PEN lists the Israeli Embassy as among the “Champions” of the Festival, and as a sponsor of one of the Festival’s panels.

The letter asserts, “It is deeply regrettable that the Festival has chosen to accept sponsorship from the Israeli government, even as it intensifies its decades-long denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people, including the frequent targeting of Palestinian writers and journalists.” The letter was sent to PEN privately on March 29 by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, with 62 individual and 11 organizational signatories. The list of signers has since grown to more than 100 individuals.

Web Action

As part of the thoughtful, hopeful, and principled Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and out of respect for Palestinian self-determination, we affirm that "Brand Israel" is not welcome in New York and we commit to upholding the cultural boycott however we can. We will not participate in events sponsored by the Israeli government or complicit Israeli institutions in New York, Israel, or anywhere else. As a community of New York-based artists and cultural workers, we call on other artists and cultural workers to join this global movement until Israeli occupation, colonization, and apartheid have ended.

Press Release

New York, NY, November 16, 2015 – On Saturday, November 14th, nearly 400 New Yorkers packed the Verso Books Loft in DUMBO, Brooklyn, to capacity for “Palestine Calling: A Launch Party to Amplify the Cultural Boycott of Israel in NYC” (photos). The event featured rousing musical performances by eclectic artists including oud virtuoso Simon Shaheen, Suhel and Tamer Nafar of the Palestinian hip hop group DAM, Brooklyn vocalist and composer Tamar-kaliSonny Singh of Red Baraat, and Daro Behroozi of Lucky Chops. Eighty-eight artists and cultural workers at the event signed on to a New York City-focused pledge of support for the cultural boycott of Israel.

"It was really exciting to be collaborating with so many incredible musicians coming together around the common cause of justice in Palestine,” remarked Sonny Singh. “I hope this concert will inspire many other musicians and artists to join this movement for the cultural boycott of Israel."

Press Release

Nov. 17, 2015 - New York, NY – A video released today 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 BloodMolly Crabapple; and visual artist Swoon.

The 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.