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.

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! 

Press Coverage

Salon

Abstract: 

Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was arrested because of her posts on social media.

Tatour’s story is one of many. From October 2015 to July 2016, the Israeli government arrested roughly 400 Palestinians for social media posts, according to local rights groups.

Salon organized an interview with Tatour. The interview was conducted in person, in Arabic, and translated with the help of Yoav Haifawi, an activist who runs the Free Haifa blog, where he posts updates on Tatour’s case.

Press Coverage

Publishers Weekly

Abstract: 

In 2016, Adalah-NY, a grassroots organization arguing for a boycott of Israel due to what it sees as an apartheid regime “founded as a Jewish state on land ethnically cleansed of its indigenous Palestinian population,” criticized PEN for accepting Israeli sponsorship for its World Voices Festival this past May. (Nossel said PEN has been receiving “minor”support from Israel since roughly 2006, before she took charge.)

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."

Press Coverage

Artforum

Abstract: 

More than 150 artists, authors, and cultural figures have banded together to urge Israel to release Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet, from house arrest. Tatour was charged with incitement to violence on October 11 for publishing her work on social media, including a poem titled “Resist My People, Resist Them” (“Qawim ya sha’abi, qawimhum”) that was posted on YouTube.

Press Coverage

Haaretz

Abstract: 

More than 150 literary figures, including nine Pulitzer Prize winners, are calling for Israel to free an Israeli-Arab poet charged with inciting violence through social media.

The open letter announced Tuesday in support of Dareen Tatour, who has been under house arrest since October, was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace and Adalah-NY (The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel). Authors Alice Walker, Claudia Rankine and Dave Eggers were among those who signed on in asserting “poetry is not a crime.”

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