Palestinian boycott activists salute the 1,000+ Black activists, scholars and artists for endorsing BDS for Palestinian rights

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Occupied Palestine, August 25, 2015 — Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists have today welcomed the statement( issued by more than 1,000 African American activists, artists and scholars in solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, justice and equality and in support of BDS.

The statement unequivocally calls for BDS and places an emphasis on the right of Palestinian refugees to “return to their homeland in present-day Israel” as “the most important aspect of justice for Palestinians.”

Mahmoud Nawajaa, the general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the broad Palestinian civil society coalition that leads the BDS movement, welcomed the declaration by saying, “The statement’s support for BDS against Israel’s regime of occupation, settler colonialism and apartheid is particularly inspiring as it translates principled positions into morally-consistent actions that are capable of righting injustices.”

“The US civil rights movement has always been a key inspiration for us in the BDS movement. We are deeply moved by this powerful proclamation that evokes the spirit of that heroic civil rights struggle and the inspirational Black Lives Matter movement and epitomises speaking truth to power,” Nawajaa added.

Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, reacted to the statement, “This deeply moving and noble declaration by our Black brothers and sisters in the US and elsewhere is not just a genuine expression of effective, altruistic international solidarity. It is a poignant testament to the organic links that connect the Palestinian struggle for self-determination with the struggle of the oppressed around the world, including ongoing struggles for racial and economic justice by black people in the US and across the world.”

Barghouti added, “Despite the obvious differences, there are compelling similarities between the forms of oppression that both Palestinians and African-Americans live under. Dehumanization, dispossession, racial injustice and discrimination, state violence, criminalization of entire communities and impunity are all key characteristics are of the oppression faced by black Americans and Palestinians.”

The leading Black activists, scholars and artists’ call for boycotts and divestment against the private security company G4S is especially noteworthy. “G4S harms thousands of Palestinian political prisoners illegally held in Israel and hundreds of Black and brown youth held in its privatized juvenile prisons in the US,” their statement said. It profits from “incarceration and deportation from the US and Palestine, to the UK, South Africa, and Australia,” the statement added, rejecting notions of “security” that “make any of our groups unsafe” and insisting that “no one is free until all of us are.”

In 2012, the BNC was one of several Palestinian human rights and civil society organisations that launched a large international BDS campaign against G4S, the British-Danish private security company that is deeply involved in Israel’s violations of prisoners’ rights and international law.

The boycott campaign has cost G4S many contracts around the world, including in the US, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, among others.

Under this intense pressure from the BDS movement, G4S has announced that it will not renew its contract with the Israeli Prison Service when it lapses in 2017. However, G4S has not yet made any written confirmation of this decision or ended any of its contracts supporting Israeli settlements, prisons, checkpoints and military bases, so Palestinian organisations are calling for the G4S campaign to continue.

BNC secretariat member Rafeef Ziadah said, “The BDS movement joins hands with the 1,000 Black activists that have issued this statement and with communities across the world in calling for the intensification of campaigns against G4S. Let us resist the role the company plays in human rights violations across the world, from Florida to Jerusalem and everywhere in between.”

“The current surge of mass Black activism for justice rekindles the whole world’s hope for a more peaceful, just and dignified world,” Ziadah added.


Press Release: Freedom Theatre from Palestine coming together with Jana Natya Manch of India

20th august, 2015: In the first ever India-Palestine Theatre collaboration, The Freedom Theatre(TFT) from Jenin is collaborating with the Indian theatre group, Jana Natya Manch this coming winter.

The Freedom Theatre is one of the leading Palestinian Theatres. Just as safdar Hasmi was killed during a performance in 1989, the founder of TFT Juliano Mer Khamis, was shot dead outside the theatre.

In November 2015, eight artistes from TFT will arrive in India for three months. They will take part in intensive workshops with the Indian theatre experts. Along with the actors from Janam, they will prepare a joint production, which will travel to a dozen Indian cities in December- january. These cities will include- Bhopal, Lucknow, Delhi, Bombay, (two cities of) Kerela, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Patna, Shimla.

“It will be a great experience for the young artistes from Palestine to share their ideas of freedom and liberation with Indian audiences,” said Faisal Abu Alhayjaa, the artistic leader of the project. “Indian culture, cinema, and theatre have been great inspirations for us, and we hope that this will lead to many more such cultural exchanges between our two countries.” When he was asked about the language barrier in performing in India, he said that art meant for heart will reach the heart irrespective of language barrier.

“Art for us is an identity and the third intifada in Palestine will be an art intifada,” said Jonatan Stanczak, one of the co-founder of Freedom Theatre, who was also present at the press conference

“Over Twenty Different cultural organisations are partnering with Janam to make this incredible tour happen,” said Sudhanva deshpande the artistic leader of the project from the Indian side. “A number of artistes are keen to associate with the production and tour in variety of ways.” He also said that theatre must have social relevance.

Many leading artistes and intellectuals have welcomed the tour. The famous Indian Actress Sharmila Tagore says, “I think it is very important for artists of different countries and culture to connect with each other. That the artistic collaboration is taking place without the mediation of any funding agency or International organisation, makes it more exciting as it is a direct dialogue between artistes of the two kindred civilisations.”

Sanjana Kapoor, co-director, Junoon, who are one of the partners in this project, says, “This is really important journey, where people from two lands get to meet each other, through performance. Palestine will meet India in this totally unique and wonderful way.”

“The Palestine Solidarity Committee(PalSol) welcomes this upcoming artistic collabortion,” said Prabir Purkayastha on behalf of the Palestine Solidarity Committee. “We pledge this initiative all support.” The committee consists of leading public figures including film-makers Shyam Benegal and Saeed Mirza, writers Githa Hariharan and Nayantara Sahgal, and artist Vivan Sundaram.

Let our cultural events say No to Israeli apartheid! InCACBI protests against Israeli film festival hosted by the Israeli Consul in Bangalore

Let our cultural events say No to Israeli apartheid!
InCACBI protests against Israeli film festival hosted by the Israeli Consul in Bangalore

We, a group of academics, artists and activists in India came together in June 2010 to extend support to the international campaign for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel ( We have, over the years, appealed to cultural and academic event organisers to not involve, in any way, the Israeli Embassy in India, or any other Israeli state affiliated body, in their festivals.

We now learn that as a TERI “initiative”, an Israeli film festival is being held in association with the Suchitra Film Society and the Consulate General of Israel in Bengaluru from August 20th to 27th at the Bangalore International Centre, TERI Complex.

We in InCACBI condemn the film festival in Bangalore as yet another plan to promote links between Indian and Israel by compromising cultural practitioners as well as citizens of conscience in both India and Israel. The new government in Delhi has already expressed its intention to draw even closer to Israel. By doing this, it will further implicate all Indians of conscience in the subjugation of Palestinians by Israel.

The subtitle of the film festival in Bengaluru is “Spirit of Creativity”.

Consider Israel’s “spirit of creativity”: the brutal bombing of Gaza; and the continuing Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and its apartheid policies.

Should Israel be admitted into the global cultural arena when it does not respect international law and recognize the Palestinian people’s right to freedom, equality and justice? 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, we urge you to reflect upon the ethical implications of any collaboration with Israel’s official bodies or representatives. Your collaboration would inadvertently help whitewash Israel’s practices, making it appear as though business with Israel should go on as usual. We hardly need to remind you what the Israeli state stands for: the day-to-day realities of occupation all Palestinians – including cultural practitioners — face.

Please don’t let your wonderful festivals and other cultural events be used to legitimize home demolitions, illegal raids, the use of white phosphorous, political and child imprisonments, racist marriage bans, piracy and execution in international waters, collective punishment, Occupation, checkpoints, roadblocks, and the bombing and closing of educational institutions. If you eschew collaboration with the Embassy of Israel, you will also be encouraging other writers, artists and academics around the world to follow your lead, and take a stand for justice and an end to apartheid.

We appeal to you, as cultural organisers and practitioners of conscience, to boycott all collaboration with representatives of the Israeli state. This is NOT a boycott of Israeli artists and intellectuals, but of official Israeli institutions which, by virtue of being state institutions, help perpetrate the illegal and inhuman occupation of Palestine and the imposition of a state of apartheid there. The logic of the boycott is that we have to add international pressure to put an end to the occupation of Palestine.

We appeal to all members of the theatre and arts world in India, and civil society, to join us in protesting against these attempts. Israel’s policies cannot be whitewashed with “culture”, “art” or “festivals”. We appeal to Indian groups such as Suchitra Film Society and TERI to withdraw from their partnership with the Israel Consul. In the spirit of international solidarity and resistance to injustice and oppression, we call upon fellow Indians to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli cultural partnerships between Israel and India.

For The Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
(Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel)

Anand  Patwardhan (Film-maker)
Saeed Mirza (Film-maker)
Amar Kanwar (Film-maker)
Saba Dewan (Film-maker)
Gargi Sen, (Film-maker)
N Pushpamala, Convenor (Artist)
Githa Hariharan, Convenor (Writer)
Sukumar Muralisharan, Convenor (Journalist)
Prabir Purkayastha, Convenor (Delhi Science Forum)
K Satchidanandan (Writer)
Ritu Menon (Publisher)
Achin Vanaik (Academic)
Pamela Philipose (Journalist)
M.K. Raina (Theatre)
Ram Rahman (Artist)
Sheba Chhachhi (Artist)
Sudhanva Deshpande (Theatre)
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

PRESS CONFERENCE: ​India and Palestine come together for theatre of resistance​

The Palestine Solidarity Committee and Jana Natya Manch invite you to

PRESS CONFERENCE: ​India and Palestine come together for theatre of resistance​

Jana Natya Manch and The Freedom Theatre, Jenin Refugee Camp, Palestine, collaborate on a theatre jatha in over 12 Indian cities, with support from the Palestine Solidarity Committee in India.

Jana Natya Manch (Janam) is India’s leading left​-wing theatre organisation. Founded in 2006, The Freedom Theatre (TFT) trains youth for cultural resistance to the Israeli Occupation. In April 2011, one of the founders of the theatre, Juliano Mer Khamis, was shot dead outside the theatre, just as Janam lost Safdar Hashmi in 1989. Today, TFT runs a professional repertory company, a theatre school, and an audio-visual training centre.

The Palestine Solidarity Committee in India is a broad based body set up to organise activities in solidarity with Palestinians and their resistance to Israeli occupation.

The press conference will be addressed by: Sharmila Tagore (actor), Feisal Abu-Alheja and Jonatan Stanczak of The Freedom Theatre, Sudhanva Deshpande of Jana Natya Manch. Prabir Purkayastha of the ​Palestine Solidarity Committee in India will chair the Press Conference.

Kindly send your reporter and photographer to cover the Press Conference.

Date: Thursday, 20 August 2015

Time: 4 pm

Venue: Indian Women’s Press Corps, Windsor Place


Prabir Purkayastha (Palestine Solidarity Committee)

and Sudhanwa Deshpande (Jana Natya Manch)