Cultural Boycott

Tamar-kali with her band and special guest Sonny Singh at "Palestine Calling"
Brooklyn vocalist and composer Tamar-kali with her band and special guest Sonny Singh at our "Palestine Calling" event on November 14th, 2015.

Press Coverage

Newsweek

Abstract: 

The yelling and cheering could be heard more than a block away from the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Saturday evening. For an hour and a half before Batsheva Dance Company performed at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House, protesters gathered in support of a cultural boycott of Israel, part of the larger Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against the country. The protesters’ signs, held high around a Palestinian flag waving in the frigid wind, featured slogans like “Don’t dance around apartheid” and “Batsheva proud ambassador of racism.”

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. 

Document

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.

Web Action

The PEN American Center accepted funding from the government of Israel for its 2016 World Voices Festival.

We believe it is wrong for PEN American Center to accept such funding when 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."

PEN American Center is an institution with the stated aim of defending writers' freedom of expression.

Palestinian civil society has called on people of conscience around the world to engage in a peaceful campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS), focusing – not on individuals – but on the Israeli government and complicit companies and institutions.

OVER 200 WRITERS have already called on PEN American Center to reject cultural sponsorship from the Israeli government, asserting that such partnership amounts to a tacit endorsement of Israel’s systematic violations of international law & human rights.

Today, we continue that call.

Press Release

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.

Event

Adalah-NY presents

We Teach Life: Rafeef Ziadah, with Phil Monsour

Join critically acclaimed Palestinian spoken-word artist Rafeef Ziadah for the NYC release of her new album, We Teach Life. The evening will feature a powerful selection of Rafeef's poetry in her signature performance style, with original music compositions from Phil Monsour.

Tickets ($5–$15 sliding scale): https://we-teach-life.eventbrite.com 

"Rafeef’s poetry demands to be heard." – Ken Loach

"Sometimes anger provokes truth: bare, free, not to be stifled or evaded. Sometimes anger, indignation, despair, full blown love of the life of one’s people, one’s own land and planet, can bring fierce flower to the poet’s heart. Then we are blessed with passionate words of resistance that can become the foundation of prophecy. A change for which there is no turning back. Such is the case of this poet." – Alice Walker

Rafeef Ziadah is a Palestinian performance poet and human rights activist based in London. Her performances of her poems ‘We Teach Life, Sir’ and ‘Shades of Anger’ went viral online within days of their release. Since the debut of her first album, Hadeel, Rafeef has toured many countries, and in 2012 she was chosen to represent Palestine at the Southbank Centre Poets Olympiad.

Phil Monsour is a singer/songwriter whose music explores complex issues of identity, solidarity, and politics. Based in Brisbane, Phil has extensive performing and recording experience as a solo performer and with his bands, the Phil Monsour Band, the Cutters, and Popproperly.

Organized by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel. Cosponsored by The New School Students for Justice in Palestine.

Invite your friends and spread the word on Facebook! 

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