PEN American Center

Press Coverage

JTAThe Times of Israel

Abstract: 

The literary writers’ group PEN American Center is refusing to drop Israeli government sponsorship from its annual festival, despite calls by dozens of members to do so.

According to a news release issued Tuesday by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, more than 100 writers signed onto a letter demanding PEN “reject support from the Embassy of Israel” for its World Voices Festival to be held later this month in New York.

Press Coverage

The Forward

Abstract: 

An American writer’s group will keep the Israeli embassy as a sponsor of its literature festival, despite calls by writers to drop the endorsement.

Over 100 writers, including Pulitzer Prize winners Junot Díaz, Richard Ford, and Alice Walker, were among those who signed the message, sent last week to PEN American Center by pro-BDS organization Adalah-NY.

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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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Israeli government is no “Champion” of freedom of expression

To PEN American Center:

We, the undersigned, including participants at PEN World Voices Festival, ask the Festival to reject support from the Embassy of Israel. The Embassy of Israel is listed among the “Champions” of the World Voices Festival, and as a sponsor of a panel.

Given PEN American Center’s mission of supporting freedom of expression, 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.

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