Why We Are Boycotting Your Performances at the Joyce Theater in New York City
September 17, 2010
Dear Batsheva Dance Company,
We are a group of New York-based human rights activists and artists calling for a boycott of your performances at the Joyce Theater in New York City due to your collaboration with the Israeli state and its Brand Israel campaign. Launched in 2005, Brand Israel is a government public relations initiative which uses cultural productions to distract from Israel’s daily human rights violations. In 2009 Arye Mekel of Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated, "We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits... This way you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.” While efforts to promote a positive image of Israel abroad persist, Palestinians continue to suffer from Israeli state policies.
Here are some of the realities the Brand Israel campaign would like to distract us from: Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands is the longest in modern history. 223 Jewish-only settlements and “outposts” on Palestinian land have been built in violation of International Law. Israel has built an “Apartheid” wall in the West Bank that further appropriates Palestinian land and separates Palestinian farmers from their land. The Israel Defense Forces have demolished over 24,000 Palestinian homes since 1967 and continue to do so. The 2009 invasion of Gaza killed over 1400 Palestinians, prompting allegations of War Crimes by UN Fact Finding Mission Justice Richard Goldstone.