Artists sign letter calling for boycott of Berlin music festival

The letter, published on the website of "Artists for Palestine UK," was signed by filmmaker Sivan and 13 other Israeli artists who called on people to boycott the event.

By ALEX WINSTON
August 19, 2019 19:54
2 minute read.
Manifestants pro-BDS à Berlin

BDS activists in Berlin. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Israeli filmmaker Eyal Sivan signed an open letter last week supporting a boycott at the international Berlin Pop-Kultur Festival due to its sponsorship from the Israeli Embassy in Berlin.

Sivan is also a visiting professor in filmmaking at Sapir Academic College, School of Sound and Visual Arts in Sderot.

The letter, published on the website of “Artists for Palestine UK,” was signed by Sivan and 13 other Israeli artists, who called on people to boycott the event, “given its complicity with Israel’s racist regime.”

The artists claim that the partnership between the festival and the Israeli government will be used “as part of its efforts to whitewash its occupation” and to “rebrand itself through culture.”

The signatories also condemned the recent decision decision by the German parliament to designate the BDS movement as antisemitic.

“We agree with 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars who called on the German government not to endorse the recent anti-Palestinian Bundestag resolution that falsely equated the BDS movement for Palestinian rights with bigotry, adding that they ‘are shocked that demands for equality and compliance with international law are considered antisemitic,’” the letter stated.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel wrote on the BDS website that, “Pop-Kultur organisers have repeatedly made clear, in stark, vulgar and anti-Palestinian terms, that partnering with Israel is more important than maintaining its own artistic programme.”

Matan Peleg, CEO of the Israeli watchdog Im Tirtzu that first reported the letter, said that this is another example of the damage caused by radical Israelis.

“While tremendous amounts of resources are invested in Israel and throughout the world to combat the international BDS movement, there are radical Israeli professors undermining these efforts by promoting BDS from within Israel,” Peleg said.

“This is further evidence of how radical Israelis play a leading role in promoting BDS and delegitimization against Israel,” he continued, “and universities must immediately work to root out this severe phenomenon.”

The event, to be held August 21-23 in Berlin, is an annual music festival bringing together musicians and artists from all over the world. The Israel Embassy logo appears on the festival's website under the title “Artist and Travel Support.”

In 2018, several artists who were scheduled to perform at Pop-Kultur withdrew because of BDS pressure..

The letter was signed by BDS supporters including Aviad Albert, Avi Hershkovitz and Yonatan Shapira.

The full list of signatories is as follows:

Aviad Albert, musician

Dror Dayan, filmmaker and film scholar

Ohal Grietzer, musician

Avi Hershkovitz, film director

Liad Hussein Kantorowicz, performance artist

Jonathan Ofir, violinist and conductor

Michal Peleg, author

Ben Ronen, visual artist

Michal Sapir, writer and musician

Yonatan Shapira, musician

Professor Eyal Sivan, filmmaker

Oriana Weich, artist

Eyal Weizman, artist and architect

Karen Zack, photographer


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