Attacks on Palestinian Cultural Workers’ Rights

Last Revised: 

July 19, 2016

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Palestinian cultural workers are not exempt from the brutality and human rights violations that characterize Israeli treatment of all Palestinians. Palestinian cultural workers have been denied visas by the Israeli military establishment, preventing them from participating in conferences and performances internationally. Artists have been detained at checkpoints, arrested, stripped of instruments, and exposed to the same violence perpetrated by the Israeli army on all Palestinians.Most cultural work is impacted on a daily basis by the realities of occupation and apartheid. Some stories of individual artists and what they have had to face have been collected and illustrated by cartoonist Ethan Heitner. You can read their testimony here:

In a letter to Batsheva Dance Company, written on February 21, 2012, Palestinian dancer Hana Awad, Art Center Director Eman Fakhouri, and dancer Houria Al Far spoke about the impact of the Israeli occupation on them and on other Palestinian cultural workers.

Violinist Tom Suarez has detailed the difficulties and harassment faced by the Palestine National Orchestra from Israeli authorities in an article on the website Mondoweiss.

There have been many other reported instances of Israeli government attacks on Palestinian cultural workers and repression of Palestinian cultural production, including:

Even international artists are not safe. In May 2010, the Israeli authorities deported Spain’s most famous clown, Ivan Prado, who was planning to establish a clown festival in Ramallah. In September 2008, Israeli security officers at Tel Aviv’s Airport forced Alvin Ailey dancer Abdur-Rahim Jackson, the only African-American member with a Muslim/Arab-sounding name, to perform twice for them in order to prove he was a dancer before letting him enter the country with the rest of the company. In October of 2014, French cartoonist Maximilien Le Roy was denied entry to Israel at Ben Gurion airport, where he had come to attend the first Palestine Festival of Comics, and was banned for 10 years from reentry.