Tell Sydney Festival 2022 not to take money from apartheid Israel

Tell Sydney Festival 2022 not to take money from apartheid Israel

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Petition to
Olivia Ansell and

Why this petition matters

Started by BDS Australia

BDS Australia has called upon the Sydney Festival to reject Israeli government sponsorship.

Arts, culture, and politics cannot be separated. Israel funds cultural events and ambassadors to ‘art-wash’ the human rights violations it perpetrates against the Palestinians by presenting itself as a normal ‘democracy’ and one which can be accepted internationally, despite its ongoing grave violations of human rights and international law. This is a conscious policy of the Israeli government. Nissim Ben-Shitrit, former Deputy Director General at the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry has said: “We regard culture as a hasbara [propaganda] tool of the highest order, and I do not differentiate between hasbara and culture”.

We ask the Sydney Festival to seriously reconsider their association with the State of Israel and stand with the Palestinian people and with international law by refusing to accept any sponsorships from or collaborations with Israel until such time as Palestine is free.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) has advocated, since 2004, for a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions. This is based on the fact that these institutions are complicit in the Israeli system of oppression that has denied Palestinians their
basic rights guaranteed by international law, or has hampered their exercise of these rights, including freedom of movement and freedom of expression.

Note that this year, 2021, Israel has been condemned as an Apartheid regime by Israel’s own distinguished human rights organization B’Tselem and also by the preeminent Human Rights Watch (HRW) which described Israel as a “regime of Jewish supremacy.”

International venues and festivals are asked to reject funding and any form of sponsorship from the Israeli government.

Thousands of artists and cultural workers have signed public statements in
support of the cultural boycott. Distinguished cultural figures who have endorsed the cultural boycott of Israel include the late Stéphane Hessel, Holocaust survivor and contributor to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Chuck D, Roger Waters, Lorde, Sally Rooney, Talib Kweli, John Berger, Arundhati Roy, Iain Banks, Judith Butler, Naomi Klein, Ken Loach, Angela Davis, Mira Nair, Mike Leigh and many others.

Top artists including Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Lauryn Hill, Faithless, Marianah, U2, Bjork, Zakir Hussain, Jean-Luc Godard, Snoop Dogg, Cat Power, Lorde and Vanessa Paradis have cancelled performances in Israel or declined to perform there.

The Edinburgh Fringe and the São Paulo Biennial festival are among the high-profile festivals and arts organisations which have rejected state funded Israeli companies from participating in their events.

In August 2020 Israeli armed forces raided a number of Palestinian cultural institutions in occupied East Jerusalem. As a response to these attacks, more than sixty UK musicians, artists, writers, and filmmakers signed an open letter claiming that that the ransacking of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music (ESNCM), the Yabous Cultural Centre and the Shafaq Cultural Network in occupied East Jerusalem, and the arrest of the ir respective directors, ‘threaten to extinguish cultural life for thousands of artists, students and people in wider society’.

Just as South African anti-apartheid activists called on international artists, writers and cultural institutions to culturally boycott South Africa, it is incumbent on us to heed the call for boycott of Israel until Israel complies with international law and human rights conventions.





10,493 have signed. Let’s get to 15,000!