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February 6 Email from Adalah-NY and JVP to PEN America

Dear Ms. Nossel,

We are writing to reiterate the call made almost a year ago by over 100 well-known writers, poets, publishers, and other members of the literary community for PEN America to reject sponsorship from the Israeli government for the annual World Voices Festival. Twenty-two of those writers explained in more detail why they supported that call.

All of them agree that it is wrong for PEN America, an institution with the stated aim of defending writers' freedom of expression, to accept sponsorship from the Israeli government. PEN International has criticized the Israeli government for "the killings and the reported deliberate targeting of certain journalists, media organizations, and their infrastructures” and “the practice of administrative detention against journalists and other writers."

In an April 2016 meeting, you told us that being responsive “may take time and space.” Also in April, PEN International President Jennifer Clement wrote to Adalah-NY that, “PEN International shares your concern. At present we are formalizing our recommended guidelines for the world’s PEN Centres regarding funding from countries with a poor record on freedom of expression."

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We welcome any organizations in cities where Batsheva will be performing to endorse this letter. Please contact us.

To the Batsheva Dance Company:

We are writing as activists and artists from the North American cities you are visiting on your current tour. Palestinian civil society has issued a call for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel, modeled on the call for the boycott of apartheid South Africa. Respecting that call, we urge you to take a stand against the Israeli government’s violations of Palestinian rights. Until you do so, we will not welcome you in our cities and we will support a boycott of your performances due to your collaboration with the Israeli state.

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From: Jakab Orsos
Subject: Message from PEN America
Date: 
March 29, 2016 at 3:21:23 PM EDT

We are writing because, along with some participants in this year's Festival, we have received an e-mail from Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel. The email asks Festival participants to sign an open letter calling upon PEN to refuse sponsorship support from the Israeli government as a contribution to the PEN World Voices Festival (PWVF). As an activist organization dedicated to freedom of expression‎, we respect the right of any group to share and advocate for their views. We want to share our approach to the challenging issues raised by the e-mail.

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A week before Valentine’s Day, as couples in many countries prepare to celebrate their love for one another, at our protest at Leviev diamonds in New York City we remembered that Palestinians do not have the freedom to love whomever they choose due to Israel’s apartheid policies. We celebrated through the stories below the many Palestinians who dare to defy apartheid with love. Leviev, by building Israel settlements, contributes to Israel’s apartheid program. For more information see http://www.loveunderapartheid.com/

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Ms. Taylor Swift
c/o Ms. Tree Paine & Ms. Dana Lobb
PREMIUM PR

September 29, 2015

Dear Ms. Swift,

You have deservedly earned recognition for lending your name and your financial resources to charitable efforts to help victims of bullying, survivors of environmental disasters, and others in need. In light of your support for humanitarian causes, we wish to call your attention to an instance where your inadvertent action threatens to undermine values you uphold. You are featured wearing diamonds from Leviev in two photos in the September issue of Vanity Fair. We are confident that if you were aware of Lev Leviev’s violations of human rights and international law, and unethical business practices in Palestine, Angola and Namibia, you would not tarnish your good name by associating yourself with his companies.

UNICEF, Oxfam America, the British and Norwegian governments and New Zealand’s pension fund are among many organizations that have severed ties with Leviev’s companies as a result of awareness-raising campaigns by activists about Leviev’s human rights abuses. Major Hollywood stars have also distanced themselves from Leviev. In 2008, the website of Leviev Diamonds featured photos of Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, Drew Barrymore, Brooke Shields, Andie MacDowell, Lucy Liu, Whitney Houston, Sharon Stone and others. However, after human rights activists spoke to and sent letters to representatives for these celebrities, some of these stars issued complaints to Leviev and the entire Celebrity section of his company’s website was taken down.

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Click Here for French

September 21, 2015

Dear Mr. Cointreau,

We are human rights activists who are writing with great concern about the partnership of Le Cordon Bleu with SodaStream, the Israeli manufacturer of carbonation devices and soda syrup. We know that Le Cordon Bleu has a longstanding worldwide reputation for its high standards in teaching the finest cooking techniques and in creating the greatest recipes. Surely it would not want to be associated with a company that is complicit in, and profits from, Israel’s violation of Palestinian rights.

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