Call to protest the inauguration of the 3rd Delhi International Film Festival 2014 by the Israeli Ambassador
The 3rd Delhi International Film Festival 2014, to be held from 20th to 27th December in New Delhi, will be inaugurated by the Israeli Ambassador, Daniel Carmon, and the Spokesman of the Israeli Embassy in India, Ohad Horsandi, among others. The festival is organized by The Social Circle, a civil society organization, in association with the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). The festival is a part of the centenary celebrations of the NDMC.
Along with artists and citizens of conscience, we in the Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (InCACBI, www.incacbi.in) protest against the involvement of representatives of the Israeli state in our cultural events. We believe that art and culture cannot be separated from matters of conscience and principle. The Israeli state consistently and ruthlessly tramples on the academic freedom and cultural life of the Palestinian people. When Palestinian students and teachers are not allowed to reach their universities because of permit laws and checkpoints; when universities and schools are levelled by bombs and tanks; food, textbooks and medical supplies are prohibited from entering Gaza; and when artistic events are closed down in Jerusalem, none of the foundational principles on which academic and cultural contact are based can ever be fulfilled.
Just a few months back, Israel unleashed yet another wave of attacks on Gaza as well as the West Bank. The repression continues in what is supposed to be a time of ceasefire, as do the ongoing realities of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and the rampant discrimination against Palestinians within Israel.
The Social Circle states that its objective is to further “social inclusion” and “holistic community development”( http://delhiinternationalfilmfestival.com/). The NDMC’s professed aim is to provide “better civic services to citizens” (https://www.ndmc.gov.in/AboutNdmc/Vision.aspx). Are these objectives compatible with inviting functionaries of the Israeli state to preside over a key programme they are organizing?
The apartheid policies of the Israeli state – genocidal military attacks, exclusionary walls, large-scale demolitions and evictions, construction of illegal settlements, discriminatory laws, unrelenting economic and civic blockades – have deprived the Palestinian people of even the most basic social, economic, political and cultural rights. Associating with the instruments of such a state is unconscionable to any freedom loving person.
We are not against Israeli artists and intellectuals, but are opposed to official Israeli institutions, which by virtue of being state institutions, help perpetrate the illegal and inhuman occupation of Palestine and the imposition of state apartheid there. At a time when the international movement to isolate Israel is gaining ground in response to the escalation of Israel’s colonial and racist policies, should we hold events under the patronage of the Israeli state in India?
We condemn the invitation of key Israeli officials to inaugurate the Delhi International Film Festival as another plan to promote links between India and Israel by compromising cultural practitioners as well as citizens of conscience in both India and Israel. The current government in Delhi is unabashedly intent on forging ever-closer ties with Israel. By doing this, it will further implicate all Indians of conscience in the subjugation of Palestinians by Israel. In the spirit of international solidarity and resistance to injustice and oppression, we call upon all fellow Indians to protest every such attempt. We call on all our fellow citizens to protest against involving the Israeli Embassy, or any other institution associated with the Israeli state, in the Delhi International Film Festival, 2014.
For The Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (InCACBI)
(Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel)
N Pushpamala, Convenor (Artist)
Sukumar Muralisharan, Convenor (Journalist)
Githa Hariharan, Convenor (Writer)
Prabir Purkayastha, Convenor (Delhi Science Forum)
Seema Mustafa (Journalist)
Saeed Mirza (Film-maker)
Gargi Sen, (Film-maker)
Amar Kanwar (Film-maker)
Anand Patwardhan (Film-maker)
Saba Dewan (Film-maker)
Ira Bhaskar (Film-maker)
Ein Lall (Film-maker)
K Satchidanandan (Writer)
Ritu Menon (Publisher)
Achin Vanaik (Academic)
Pamela Philipose (Journalist)
M.K. Raina (Theatre)
Ram Rahman (Artist)
Sheba Chhachhi (Artist)
Vivan Sundaram (Artist)
Amita Kanekar (Writer)
Ayisha Abraham (Artist)
Brijesh Kumar (Theatre)
Geeta Kapoor (Art Critic)
Meena Menon (Writer)
Moloyshree Hashmi (Theatre)
Saba Hasan (Artist)
Sriram Ananth (Writer)
And 200 other members of InCACBI