Oct 1, 2010

#BDS: IPSC "Irish artists' pledge to boycott Israel"

In August 2010 the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) launched the following pledge, initially signed by over 140 Irish creative and performing artists, whereby they undertake to boycott the Israeli state under present circumstances:
"In response to the call from Palestinian civil society for a cultural boycott of Israel, we pledge not to avail of any invitation to perform or exhibit in Israel, nor to accept any funding from any institution linked to the government of Israel, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights." - See the full list of signatories here.
***If you are an Irish artist or an artist based in Ireland and would like to add your signature, please contactculturalboycott [at] ipsc.ie***
Described by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) as "a ground-breaking initiative", this pledge has so far been signed by over 140 Irish creative and performing artists: novelists, playwrights, poets, actors, composers, singers, dancers, painters, sculptors and filmmakers, ranging from those starting out on their careers to household names. - See here for the full PACBI statement of endorsement.

ccording to IPSC Cultural Boycott Officer Dr. Raymond Deane, "These artists are aware of the Israeli Foreign Ministry's statement in 2005 that “We see culture as a propaganda tool of the first rank, and...do not differentiate between propaganda and culture.” These artists refuse to allow their art to be exploited by an apartheid state that disregards international law and universal principles of human rights, but look forward to the day when normal cultural relations can be re-established with an Israel that fully complies with such laws and principles."
Dr. Deane, himself a classical composer and a signatory of the pledge, recalled Nelson Mandela's dictum that "boycott is not a principle, it is a tactic depending upon circumstances." Dr. Deane added: "Five years ago, when 170 Palestinian civil society organisations called a campaign of  Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, they provided a central plank for worldwide activism on behalf of their cause."
Dr. Deane continued, "Culture cannot stand aloof from such activism. Whether or not art is 'above politics', its presentation and representation in the real world can all too easily be hijacked by oppressive states. With this pledge, Irish artists have an opportunity to distance themselves from such exploitation, and to take a non-violent stand on behalf of the oppressed Palestinian people."

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