Press Release

Press Release

New York, NY, July 24 – An Israeli government-supported theater initiative begins tonight at Lincoln Center, despite a protest letter signed by over 80 artists. The Lincoln Center performances are taking place against a backdrop of heightened Israeli government repression of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and revelations that 43 Senators hope to implement a law that could make it a felony for Americans to support similar boycott protests against Israel. Reported plans by Israel’s anti-Palestinian Minister of Culture Miri Regev to travel to New York for the performances underline the importance the hardline Israeli government places on its Lincoln Center partnership.

In the letter to Lincoln Center the artists called for the cancellation of Monday’s performance because it is part of the Israeli government’s Brand Israel public relations strategy and because the Israeli theater groups involved, Ha’Bima and Cameri, have played in and legitimized Israel’s illegal settlements. The signers of the letter to Lincoln Center include winners of numerous theater awards, including four Pulitzers, three Tonys, and nine Obies.

Press Release

Love Culture, Hate ApartheidNew York, NY, July 5, 2017 - In a letter made public today, over sixty theater artists have called on Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, a leading US arts institution located in Manhattan, to cancel Israeli government-sponsored performances by two Israeli theater companies scheduled for July 24 – 27. The signers of the letter have won numerous awards for their work in theater, including four Pulitzer Prizes, three Tony Awards, and nine Obie Awards. The letter signed by the artists asserts that the performances by Israel’s Ha’bima National Theatre and the Cameri Theater of Tel Aviv will help “the Israeli government to implement its systematic ‘Brand Israel’ strategy of employing arts and culture to divert attention from the state's decades of violent colonization, brutal military occupation and denial of basic rights to the Palestinian people."

Lincoln Center is advertising the performances by the Israeli theater companies as presented “With support of Israel’s Office of Cultural Affairs in North America.” The artists’ letter says that the performances are part of the Israeli government’s “Brand Israel” public relations strategy which, according to an Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, sends “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.” The artists also criticize Ha’bima and Cameri theaters because, despite past opposition from artists, they have repeatedly performed in and legitimized Israel’s illegal settlements built on Israeli-occupied Palestinian land. The letter calls on Lincoln Center “to respect the Palestinian civil society call for a boycott of those Israeli cultural institutions that are complicit in the denial of Palestinian rights.”

Press Release

New York, NY,  March 24, 2017 - Braving the cold and wind on Wednesday night, thirty-five New York human rights advocates protested on the sidewalk outside Israeli musician Idan Raichel’s performance at the City Winery in Manhattan. Raichel calls himself a cultural ambassador for Israel and is an outspoken and uncritical supporter of the Israeli army. Raichel regularly performs at Israeli government events as part of the government’s Brand Israel public relations campaign, which uses art and music to divert attention from Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights.

The protesters chanted, “Idan let us set you straight. Israel is a racist state.” And “Voice of peace? That’s a lie! Idan plays while people die!” They held signs saying, “Idan Raichel, Apartheid Tool, Not Cool,” and “Boycott Israeli Apartheid.” City Winery covered over the large glass windows that normally provide a view of their concert space from the street, possibly because the demonstration outside Raichel’s 2015 concert there was visible to Raichel and attendees inside. The protesters called on City Winery, which is hosting Raichel’s concerts in a number of cities, to end their complicity with Israeli apartheid, chanting “City Winery, don’t you see, Art should be apartheid free.” City Winery also serves a number of wines from illegal Israeli settlements.

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 23, New York, NY—Human rights advocates welcome the decision by PEN America to hold PEN’s annual World Voices literary festival without funding from the Israeli government.
The decision followed a campaign and a call supported by leading literary figures asking the organization to reject Israeli government sponsorship. PEN America accepted Israeli government support for the World Voices Festival four of the previous five years, and despite writers’ opposition in 2016. The leading US free expression and literary organization announced its program last week for the May 2017 World Voices Festival in New York.

PEN America did not, however, offer a reason for the absence of Israeli government support for World Voices in a February 2017 email exchange with Adalah-NY and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).

Press Release

February 5, Brooklyn, NY – On Saturday evening, February 4, about 100 New Yorkers braved an icy wind to protest the appearance of Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, and to do some dancing themselves, as part of a North American campaign for a boycott of the group’s tour.

Batsheva is being boycotted by advocates for Palestinian rights due to its role as what Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls one of Israel's greatest cultural ambassadors. Batsheva’s North American tour is supported by the Ministry. The dance company is part of the Israeli government’s “Brand Israel” initiative that uses art and culture to “show Israel’s prettier face” and divert attention from Israeli repression.

The street dancing attracted attention from ticket-holders and passersby. It featured a brass band, Palestinian dabka dancers, and a dance parody based on the current repertoire of Batsheva. The radical marching band the Rude Mechanical Orchestra and the Freedom Dabka Group brought arts out of the theater and into the wintry street, infusing bodily movement with a political movement sensibility.

A small group of protesters from the anti-Arab hate group the Jewish Defense League (JDL) protested in support of Batsheva, shouting “there’s no such thing as Palestine,” "settlements will rise," "terrorist Arab monkeys,” and "Isis wants you” at those who came to support Palestinian rights. 

Press Release

New York, NY – Fifty human rights advocates with Adalah-NY and affiliated groups outshined the jewelry of Leviev Diamonds Friday night in Manhattan. Boycott advocates arrived to find Leviev Diamonds had closed for the organization’s protest for the fourth time in a row, all during the year’s biggest shopping periods. This year Adalah-NY scheduled the 10th annual holiday caroling protest against the companies of Israeli settlement-builder Lev Leviev to coincide with the Global Week of Action targeting Hewlett-Packard (HP). After caroling at Leviev, protesters marched to a nearby Staples store selling HP products for the second half of the demonstration.

Protesters, many wearing Santa hats, sang holiday carol tuned parodies calling for boycott of the two Israeli apartheid-profiting companies. They dazzled Manhattan’s Upper East Side with cheerful, anti-Apartheid holiday greetings and Palestine-solidarity messages, to the sounds of music and jingle bells.

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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.

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."

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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

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.

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