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 (www.incacbi.in). 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