Saturday, September 29, 2012

Peter Brook's Letter to the Cameri: "It is our free choice"

Matilda with the suit.
Earlier this month, we thanked the renowned Peter Brook and the Bouffes du Nord theatre troop of France for taking an anti-apartheid stand and honoring the call to boycott Israel and cancelling their planned performances for December of this year at the Cameri Theater, Tel Aviv, Israel.

We now applaud Mr. Brook's courageous decision to also write a compelling letter to the Cameri, voicing his support for the Palestinian people.

New information has emerged, and according to Sandy Rashty of the Jewish Chronicle, a letter in strong support of the boycott was sent by Peter Brook to the Cameri theater in Tel Aviv. Rashti writes that Mr. Brook was due to perform The Suit, a play set in apartheid South Africa.

According to Rashty:
Mr Brook has declared that his company will not take part because he is “against the act of colonisation”. 
Mr Brook signed a letter to the Cameri which said: “The fact that the Cameri Theatre has accepted to support the brutal action of colonisation by playing in Ariel [in the West Bank] has made us aware that in coming to your theatre we would appear as a support for that brutal action. 
 “This forces us to decline your invitation to perform in your theatre. The decision is entirely ours, and not to come to you, it is our free choice.  We know that there are many amongst you and in your country who share our attitude and it is them we wish to support as well as the people of Palestine. [1]"

Peter Brook discusses his version of Can Themba's play The Suit, set in a 1950s township - an apartheid slum, Sophiatown.  The play is a metaphor of the mortal relentlessness of apartheid.

[1] 28 Sept, 2012 Israeli theatre plans...

ADDITIONAL REFERENCES:,1592,209,69920,.aspx

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Alanis Morissette, WHY?, Apoptygma Berzerk: Latest Trio Flaunted by Israel State Twitter

UPDATE: 22 Oct. Alanis Morissette has scheduled a concert for 3 Dec in Tel Aviv.  Since she has confirmed and tickets are for sale, she is being asked to cancel, respecting human rights and the boycott.
UPDATE:  26 Sept.  Human rights volunteers have set up a facebook page, titled Alanis Morissette: You oughta know it's apartheid , the page can be found at this link:  

The apartheid state of Israel's official government twitter is busy counteracting the boycott by using this latest trio of artists to promote a false image of normalcy which is far from the truth in Israel.  

Does Apoptygma Berzerk know about the boycott?  Do they know about the blot already on their band's name in that now they are associated with ignoring human rights?  Great measures are taken in order to ensure bans will ignore the boycott, some of the most powerful people in the entertainment industry vow to support the apartheid state.  

Is Alanis Morissette aware her good name is being associated with what the UN Committee 2012 concluded was a system equivalent to apartheid?  Does she know that Pink Floyd legend Roger Waters asked his colleagues in the music industry to support the boycott?  Even though Morissette has not yet added Tel Aviv to her event list, the apartheid state twitter hungrily uses her name, and probably plans to do so multiple times until December.

Is Berkeley California based WHY? in agreement with the reasons why the government of one of the least popular states on earth took the time to tweet out their name?  Though WHY? (as of this date) have not even listed Tel Aviv on their tour schedule, the Israeli government eagerly tweets that they willl play in Israel, and will likely tweet this now for months to come.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Massive Attack: Remembering artists who respect the boycott

Robert "3D" Del Naja ("D")
Grant "Daddy G" Marshall ("G")
It was two years ago this September that Massive Attack courageously voiced support for the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and refrained from performing in apartheid Israel.
Robert "3D" del Naja, stated in the New Statesman, that the boycott is the only way forward, and added "It's a good thing to aim for because it applies the continual pressure that's needed."
Del Naja qualifies the cultural boycott as being "not an action of aggression towards the Israeli people" but "towards the [Israeli] government and its policies", arguing that "the Palestinians [in Israel] have no access to the same fundamental benefits that the Israelis do."

In 2010, the band had just released Heligoland, and Paradise Circus became an instant hit, and was certified Platinum.  The album Heligoland topped music charts in Belgium, France, Poland, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, and Germany.  It reached to an impressive No. 6 in the UK.  There are over 11 million views on the youtube version of the hit single Paradise Circus.  The income that the band made from having their music (Paradise Circus) featured in a car commercial for Lincoln Continental Cars, USA, was donated to efforts to clean up the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill disaster   

Massive Attack's groundbreaking blend of hip hop, dub reggae, techno and rock revolutionized Britain's dance club scene in the early ‘90s and gave birth to the trip-hop sound that would eventually be popularized by such acclaimed artists as Portishead, Björk and Sneaker Pimps. All Massive Attack's albums to date are certified platinum and feature a dynamic roster of vocalists including Elizabeth Fraser, Horace Andy, Tracey Thorn and Sinead O'Connor. 

Don't Shake your Palooza in Aparthied

RHCP headlined Lollapalooza 2012 in Chicago.
According to this article in Haaretz, there is no financial rational in having Lollapalooza in Israel [see below], so clearly it could only be for propaganda, probably aimed as an attack on the boycott.  It would likely give musicians the impression others are happy to breach the boycott.  

Industry sources say the announcement was made this summer because it would let the promoters start looking for sponsors. This would give the producers time to gauge the reaction of the public and investors - and see whether a profit could be made from Lollapalooza Israel. An industry executive said such an event would need huge sponsorships, and in the end would not prove profitable. He said the organizers needed around $4-5 million in sponsorships, and a ticket would cost about NIS 500. "I don't think these amounts will draw a big crowd," he said. "For the festival to make a profit, they need about 30,000 people to come every night to Yarkon Park. I can't see that happening."   

Article excerpt, see full text at
The American Lollapalooza music festival is coming to Israel next summer. Lollapalooza Israel will be held on August 20-22, 2013, in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park.
“I’m working on something really big,” Ilan Elkayam, the CEO of Plug Productions Generator, told Haaretz at the end of July. Attempts to get more out of him simply produced an even more mysterious answer: “We’re not talking about a performance by Bruce Springsteen in Israel, but something much bigger than a Springsteen, Red Hot Chili Peppers or Madonna concert. In another week the entire world will know.”
A week passed and the official announcement hit the world press: The American Lollapalooza music festival is coming to Israel next summer. Lollapalooza Israel will be held on August 20-22, 2013, in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park. It will be the first international music festival held in Israel, and dozens of foreign artists and musicians, some very famous, others not, will take part. The list of acts will be released toward the end of the year.
Lollapalooza was founded in 1991 in Chicago by singer Perry Farrell as a farewell tour for his band Jane’s Addiction (which later got back together and appeared in Israel last year ). Farrell said he was excited about how the event had expanded around the world. The festival ran every year from 1991 to 1997, took a break for five years and restarted in 2003. Israel will now join Chile and Brazil as the event’s third location outside the U.S. festival’s site – Chicago’s Grant Park.
Lollapalooza Israel is being produced and promoted by Plug Productions Generator and NMC United, an Israeli home entertainment and music distributor and publisher. The Israeli producers say they expect the festival to be more than a one-off; they plan on it becoming an annual tradition.
The Brazilian and Chilean versions are limited compared with the Chicago original; still, appearing in Chile in 2011 were acts like Kanye West, Jane’s Addiction, 30 Seconds to Mars, the National, the Drums, the Killers, Los Bunkers, Deftones, Cypress Hill and the Flaming Lips. This year Bjork, Foo Fighters and Arctic Monkeys appeared in Chile.
Lollapalooza tries to offer a wide mix of genres including alternative rock, heavy metal, punk and hip hop, as well as dance, comedy and crafts. It also provides a platform for nonprofit and political groups.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

VIDEO: Girl Power in Gaza and the Global BDS Movement

UPDATE:  21 Sept: New video released: The music is by Marcel Khalife, and the video states: 
The original music score for this video was "Teardrop" by Massive Attack.  Massive Attack were brave enough to join the BDS Campaign and two years ago refused to perform in Israel.  Lead singer Robert Del Naja said that the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign is "the only way forward... a good thing to aim for because it applies the continual pressure that's needed."  SOny ATV Publishing and UMPG Publishing, who hold the rights to this music from Massive Attack had the video removed.  We hope that our original call for BDS to students around the world will once again be made available to the public.
Of course, with these powerful, amazing, students in Gaza, the message will get out.  After all, whose gonna mess with girl power like this, enjoy!

UPDATE:  20 Sept: SONY/ATV Publishing has appeared to claim copy-write infringement and so the video below is not viewable.  This seems suspect, as Virgin/EMI publish Massive Attack's work.  Also, there are SCORES of unofficial youtube versions of "Teardrop" on the web.  It should be noted that when the video was released, there were quite a few "dislikes" on it.  I think that the youth of Gaza should be proud their video was so feared and despised in this way, it is a sure sign of its great effectiveness.     
Questionable motives by youtube.  Video not available for college students in the west to view. 

(Original Article) Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack should feel honored. Massive Attack's "Teardrop" was selected by arguably some of the most courageous students in the world as the soundtrack for an impressive video.  Two years ago, Del Naja told the New Statesman in the UK why he supports the boycott of Israel.  

The video, which looks like it could have been directed by Quentin Tarantino (see multi frame at 1:42), features seven students, and is directed by Mohammed El Majdalawi, the talented Palestinian film maker from Gaza. It flies in the face of those who would say that females are suppressed in Gaza.  Five of the students are confident, straightforward females that would make any feminist proud.

As the 2012-2013 year begins for college students in the West and beyond, most students will be thinking about studying, exams and social functions.  Some will be also thinking about sororities, how to decorate their dorm rooms, and the best place to hang out near campus.  

Life as a college student in Gaza brings out special challenges, like how to study without electricity, how to cope with family needs and the absence of clean water.  Its not easy to focus on exams whilst Israel fires on Gaza.

Thankfully, many university campuses have students who are concerned about human rights for Palestinians, and agree that the global BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement will make a huge impact on change.  That change seeks an apartheid-free future for all Palestinians.   

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Peter Brook and Bouffes du Nord Theatre Troop Respect the Cultural Boycott of Israel

Peter Brook takes anti-apartheid stand. Sept, 2012.
Noted British theater director Peter Brook and the Bouffes du Nord theatre troop of France have honored the call to boycott Israel, and cancelled their planned performances for December of this year in Tel Aviv, Israel. Huge thanks and gratitude go out to Peter Brook and to all the members of the Bouffes du Nord theatre troop for their courageous decision to stand against apartheid.

The choice by Peter Brook to respect the cultural boycott of Israel so angered the Israeli theater community, that rumors in the press (in Hebrew, translated below) claim legal action may be taken against him.  Apparently, the Israeli "Cameri Theater" in Tel Aviv was so confident that Brook would appease Israel, that they had already begun selling tickets to his show. The theater's own website boasts that it is supported by "The Government of Israel - Ministry of Education and Culture." [1] 

Boycotting products, or cultural events that are related to settlements, are not controversial to some Israelis.  In 2010, nearly 60 theater professionals [2] announced they would refuse to perform at new cultural center built in West Bank settlement of Ariel.  Some reports have also emerged, that some Israelis prefer to avoid, or to boycott, produce grown or products made in illegal settlements.  But these movements are based on co-existence not co-resistance, as "Faces of Hope" stated in 2005. [3]  Gush Shalom, has gone so far as to promote the idea that a boycott of the settlements would actually serve to legitimize Israel [4], and thus promotes such boycotts actively.  Yossi Gurvitz points out in 972+ mag that even Netanyahu promoted a settlement freeze [5] two years ago.  

Apparently, the Cameri home theater troop willingly and openly performs in the illegal settlements in addition to being funded by the Israeli government. In a similar move 11 months ago, film director John Michael McDonagh pulled out of his planned appearance at the Haifa International Film Festival.  The Haifa festival is funded by the Israeli Minister of Culture.

English translation of article appearing in the press in Israel:
Protesting Against the Occupation: Theatre Director Peter Brook Cancels his Arrival
The renowned theatre director Peter Brook, whose Bouffes du Nord theatre troop was supposed to appear this coming December at the International Festival for Plays of the Cameri Theatre with the play The Suit, today suddenly announced the cancellation of his arrival. The decision came following pressure by pro-Palestinian groups to cancel his participation as a protest against the occupation.
One of the people who sent a letter to Brook, asking that he cancel his participation in the festival is Dr. Anat Matar, a senior lecturer in the department of philosophy at Tel Aviv university. In her letter Matar [writes... "I believe that decisions about cultural and academic boycott need to be taken after due discretion and not blindly...The issue with the Cameri is its support the oppression of the Palestinians by performing on their occupied land".
In a letter sent by representatives of the BDS organization [sic], which acts for boycott as a sanction against the Israeli occupation in the territories, activists noted the fact that the Cameri gives performances in the settlements, including in Ariel. “From our perspective this is a most important achievement,” says Ofer Neiman, an activist in the Yesh Gvul organization, and amongst those who had contact with Brook and his team and encouraged application of the pressure.
“The Cameri, Habima and Beit Lessin are institutions which appear in settlements in the occupied territories, which are direct partners in violating international law, in Israeli apartheid,” adds Neiman. “It is intolerable that such institutions will receive all sorts of bonuses in the form of collaborations with great directors such as Peter Brook. It is important to note that this isn’t automatic opposition to every visit of Brook to Israel. He can come and show this play in another framework, not in cooperation with a law-breaking theatre. Peace-seeking Israelis are invited to come demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinians living under occupation and to see Peter Brook in Hakawati in East Jerusalem or in a theatre in Ramallah.”
Officials in the Cameri expressed anger at the cancellation, which came after the troop had already confirmed its arrival. Everything was arranged and sale of tickets had already begun. In these very moments an emergency meeting is being held by the board of directors, during which the possibility of submitting a legal petition against Brook will be discussed.
Peter Brook is a well-respected British director. Alongside a long list of theatre works, including numerous productions of Shakespeare, Brook directed a number of films, including an adaption of the classic book by William Golding, Lord of the Flies. In 2005 Brook was awarded the Dan David Prize, in cooperation with Tel Aviv University. In 2008 the National Norwegian Theatre gave Brook the Ibsen Award. Translated from Hebrew. Source:,1592,209,69920,.aspx



this article also published by the PACBI at

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Red Hot Chilling Silence

September 11, 2012 § 
Author: Tali ShapiroLeave a Comment
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer, Chad Smith, professing a liberal language of equality and harmony for all.
You book some tour, receive some award, get an event invitation. “They love me! They really love me!” you think. Or maybe “Woah, cool! I always wanted to go to Murmansk!” All of a sudden, out of nowhere, you start getting letters from Arizona:“Dude, we’re trying to have a picket line here, you’re seriously treading on our turf! Boycott racism!” Panicked, you call your agent: “But I just wanted to make music!” Your agent, being payed to be in contact with the corporeal world tells you how it is: “We’ll have to loose some revenue, but let’s donate this concert’s proceeds to these people’s organizations!”, better yet “let’sbuy activists off with free tickets!” Without much debate, you happily pack your bags and head off in your private airplane to the Congo. After all, what do you know about politics?
Inside the Mind of the Artist from an Activist’s Perspective
Many don’t yet know of the world-wide Palestinian lead movement to Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) Israel. Some of these people are artists, musicians, authors, painters, film makers, etc. I can imagine that more often than not, the request for a cultural boycott, really does surprise them. More often than not, the narrative of Palestinian oppression is new to them, not to mention the concept of a Palestinian People, to begin with.
Speaking as an activist for social change, I expect very little from the majority of over-payed, “celebrity” artists. In a reality where art has been commodified by the capitalist market, the line between individual and brand-name comminutes drastically. As an activist, I understand all too well that artists are trapped in a world where courageous truth-speaking could cost you that coveted success. I believe that the people who wrote the BDS guidelines have taken this into serious consideration. And although we, in the movement, share a dream of a world that not only doesn’t do “business as usual” with power, but also speaks truth to power, we have allowed a very wide margin for artists, who need time for a learning process, and can start with the basic act of civil disobedience: Notperforming in Israel.
The case of the Red Hot Chili Peppers is different however. This international-mega-celebrity band managed to somehow ride the waves of catchy base funk tunes, and safely crossover from the subversive garage to the far off land of superstar status, all the while keeping their political integrity and continuing their act of speaking truth to power.
As an activist, who thought for the first 25 years of her life that she was going to be an artist when she grows up, I have serious (vegan)beef with artists who dance around in metaphors, because they’re too afraid to talk about the struggles of their time. One can’t say this about the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their songs are very straightforward, and no one can mistake when they speak about the Native American genocide, Anarchism and resistance, Police oppression, racism, America’s foreign policies, and drug addiction.
Red Hot Chiling Silence
In the past 4 months, I’ve taken a visible role in the campaign to get the Red Hot Chili Peppers to cancel their concert in Israel. A campaign which grew to almost 8000 signatures, more than a dozen letters from organizations around the globe, and managed to get support from other celebrities. Following the band closely, on their current world tour, we’ve seen that it goes beyond the music to support causes it believes in. Be it Treyvon Martin, Pussy Riot, or Captain Paul Watson, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, recognizing their public status, have made a conscious choice to raise awareness about something other than themselves.
Because of the band’s vocal stance against systems of oppression that breed racism, sexism, speciesism and brutally silence resistance, and because we know that they proudly support and are willing to act for the betterment of life of Palestinian refugees, it was surprising that they even booked a concert in Israel, to begin with. Let alone, that they have not cancelled, in spite of a whole campaign that was geared to back them up in this one simple act of solidarity with Palestinian victims of Israel’s apartheid policies and de-facto ethnic cleansing via brutal military occupation.
But all this has already been said. Now- after the Red Hot Chili Peppers have gone through with the act of entertaining the beneficiaries of apartheid, through aproducer that has a special relationship with the colonizing apartheid government, and not protesting while the state of Israel uses them as a whitewashing mechanism, or a bullying tactic against a political minority it has outlawed- it’s time to talk about their chilling silence.
Throughout these 4 months, while vocalizing support for various worthy struggles, neither the band, nor their agents, have made one attempt to contact any one of their petitioners. Unlike other artists who don’t use anyone to coldly negotiate their connections with their audience, the Red Hot Chili Peppers did not make the commercial “mistake” of commenting on the issue so hotly at hand. For many fans, my-naive-self included, this act shattered the band’s image of easy-going accessibility, and the question still looms in my mind: How much money does one have to invest, to be able to afford to seem like one of the common people?
Are the Bodies in My Back Yard Bothering You?
As a woman who is active in fighting violence against women and gender-based discrimination in my community, there’s another aspect of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ silence, which chills me to the bone. Often when confronted, a man who has behaved in violent and sexist ways will just ignore his petitioners. Thinking that beyond degrading his victim, he may also erase her from existence, if he so chooses.

Red Hot Chili Peppers touring occupied Jerusalem (a.k.a. al-Quds), accompanied by Israeli security personnel.
Now before anyone gets their feathers ruffled, I’m not calling the Red Hot Chili Peppers rapists or wife-beaters. To clarify: The band came here, despite very clear explanations of what role they will be playing in the local politics, and their moral obligations as a world-renowned brand-name, as well asAmerican tax-paying citizens. They entertained a segregated audience, singing about “The Power of Equality”. They did it on the remains of an ethnically cleansed Palestinian village. They did it for money. They toured around in occupied territory, enjoying pillaged resources, accompanied by Israeli security personnel, and it didn’t occur to them to ask where their bodyguards got their professional experience and who’s paying their salary.
And while the general strategy for the band, dealing with this image crisis, was to ignore all notifications of human rights violations, perpetrated by the Israeli military regime, that the campaign updated by-the-hour for 4 months (including the day of their performance, which saw the so-called “Israeli Defense Forces” razing water tanks in Nablus, demolishing more Palestinian homes, bombing children in Gaza, enabling more settler violence, arresting and torturingmore Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, and suppressing the right to free speech by means of terror); Chad Smith, the band’s drummer went further and blocked all twitter accounts that made an attempt to raise his awareness to what he was about to lend a hand to.

Wake up Motherfucker and Smell the Slime

Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer, Chad Smith, enjoying the Dead Sea (a.k.a. “pillaged resources”).
As in many cases of calling out a person who behaves in a sexist manner, we take into account that gender violence and discrimination is so normalized in our culture, that the person perpetrating it isn’t even aware that that is what he has done. We give him the benefit of the doubt that that was not his intent. And since ignoring the existence of Palestinians and trampling their ability of obtaining liberation and self determination is so normalized in global culture and in U.S. culture in particular, the movement gives artists, that book Israel, the benefit of the doubt that trampling Palestinian human rights was not their intent. However, the more the movement grows, the more affective its campaigns, it’s getting harder and harder to believe that artists just had no idea.
I write this article not only for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I write this article as an appeal to the many other artists, who carelessly do business with apartheid and entertain its beneficiaries, as we speak. I write this article as the government of Israel, with the help of some music industry fat cat friends, steps up its efforts in branding Israel as a world-class cultural Mecca. As, in the past three years we’re seeing an influx of rock acts coming in, each a bigger brand name than the other, propelling Tel Aviv (a.k.a. “The Bubble”) to a top tourism destination, where foreigners can enjoy the spoils of colonialism in a vibrant environment.
I write this article as an opening shot to the flood of appeals that are due to come to artists who will decide to participate in the Lollapalooza festival that’s scheduled for the summer of 2013. The festival is sponsored by the Israel Tourism Ministry and facilitated by the Tel Aviv municipality. It will take place in the same Yarkon Park, where the moans of the dancing ghosts of Jarisha village were muffled by yesternight’s Red Hot Chili Peppers concert.
Don’t say you didn’t know.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What's Wrong With Chad? Solidarity with Israel?

Just before 2 AM yesterday, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers tweets:
Anti-apartheid volunteers have crossed the globe gaining thousands of signatures on an online petition asking the band to cancel their show in Israel, apparently to no avail.  
There is so much wrong with Chad's statement on twitter:
The band plans to play to a segregated audience in Tel Aviv, how is that uplifting?  
Is it somehow uplifting to those Palestinians who Israel prevents from attending?
The music won't cross over the illegally built apartheid wall that the Zionist state maintains.
The pariah state has already used the Red Hot Chili Peppers' name to whitewash its crimes, attempting to tell an increasingly more aware world, the lie that Israel is a democracy.
If the Red Hot Chili Peppers really want to uplift Israelis through music, there are many other ways to do that which do not violate the boycott.  Why not invite Israelis to watch a livestream of another concert?  How about offering a free music download to all fans in lieu of a concert?
The sad truth is, there is a lot more to the Tel Aviv show than just the desire to play music.  The concert places the band on the side of the oppressor, and shows they have no respect at all for the Palestinian call to boycott.  While other brilliant colleagues in the music industry shun apartheid and stand with Palestinians,  Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith, and Josh Klinghoffer all choose to ally themselves with Israel, with injustice, and with apartheid.  
Its never only about the music when an artist plays in Israel.  That's why the Official Twitter of Israel immediately tweets whenever any band agrees to play there.  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cultural Boycott Victory in Scotland

New Video is Released:  Scotland anti-apartheid volunteers in a huge organized demonstration both inside and outside of the theater.  A clear message is sent to pro-apartheid dancers and to the whole effort by the state funded "BRAND" Israel efforts, that Scotland won't sit silent while Palestinians daily live under occupation and siege.
The show of support for Palestinians is very heartening.  Scotland leads the way here in this bold fearless show of solidarity.
Many more demos are being planned as Batsheva Israel make their way through many venues throughout the UK.
The worried look on the face of the Batsheva director (interviewed in this video) is more than justified.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Normalising Jerusalem film put on hold - Jerusalem Development Authority Implicated

The cultural boycott of Israel sees a major victory this year. 

By Jinjirrie | Kadaitcha | September 4th, 2012
In the vein of its previous documentary project presenting a montage of 24 hours of life in Berlin, the German Zero One film production company has been planning a similar venture on Jerusalem.
Berlin-based Zero One Film will work alongside Palestinian producer Daoud Kuttab and newly founded Israeli prodco 24 Communications. The latter is a joint venture between Israeli prodcos Pie Films and Inosan, which worked on the original version of HBO hit In Treatment.
Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg and Jerusalem Film Fund are backing 24h Jerusalem and the producers hope to secure the remaining €400,000 (US$500,000) of its €2.4m budget at MipTV this week.
Palestinian directors have now pulled out of the project – they were unaware of the presence of the Israeli production company, nor of backing from the Jerusalem Film Fund, which is in turn funded by the Jerusalem Development Authority. Current activities of the JDA include expropriating Palestinian land in East Jerusalem for parks. The JDA received “40 million NIS in 2005 to develop green spaces around the Old City of Jerusalem”.
Designating urban space as a national park is not only easier but cheaper too, the state having no obligation to compensate owners.
The Jerusalem municipality leaves the creation of these parks to the National Planning Authority (in the Ministry of Interior), Bimkom noted, which deals more with the protection of nature and heritage than the rights of Jerusalem’s residents.
The disparity between the management of space for West Jerusalemites compared to their counterparts in the east is stark, with national parks notably absent from the west.
“The Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are crowded and they suffer from extreme neglect and shortage of public infrastructure,” Bimkom architect, Efrat Bar-Cohen, said in a statement.
“The residents are in desperate need of space by which they can improve their quality of life, even if slightly.”
The building of the park will have ramifications beyond the strangling of Issawiya and A-Tur residents.
It will stretch into the E1 area of the West Bank, which represents an important reserve of space for Palestinian development, creating a string of Jewish Israeli-only settlement between the Old City and Ma’ale Adumim settlement.
Elad Kandl is director of the Old City projects at the Jerusalem Development Authority, whose website describes their work as rehabilitating and conserving the Old City.
He expressed succinctly Israel’s aim of curbing Palestinian development in Jerusalem. “When you make it a national park,” he told The Jerusalem Post in reference to open space, “you keep the status quo.”
The JDA, which operates under the 1988 Jerusalem Development Authority Law, was established to further entrench Israeli control over the city and is also involved in the Jerusalem light rail project.
Indeed, the Prime Minister’s Office and the mayor of Jerusalem sponsored a JDA program to work toward this goal. On its website the JDA is very clear about the role of the Jerusalem light rail project, stating that “The investment in the light railway project was one of the government’s key strategies to empower Jerusalem as a capital.”
Palestinian Jerusalem resident Adnan Taha and his family gather amid the rubble of their home which was demolished by the Israeli authorities in Arab east Jerusalem (Ahmad Gharabli / AFP / Getty Images)
The JDA is also an instrumental actor in the proposed construction of 1,400 new housing units in the Gilo Jewish settlement colony, located near Bethlehem in occupied East Jerusalem.
In this light, the involvement of the JDA in the 24h Jerusalem project clearly designates the film as unacceptable normalisation with the Israeli occupation.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) has defined normalization specifically in a Palestinian and Arab context “as the participation in any project, initiative or activity, in Palestine or internationally, that aims (implicitly or explicitly) to bring together Palestinians (and/or Arabs) and Israelis (people or institutions) without placing as its goal resistance to and exposure of the Israeli occupation and all forms of discrimination and oppression against the Palestinian people.” [2] This is the definition endorsed by the BDS National Committee (BNC).
One Palestinian participant in the 24h Jerusalem project, Enas aL-Muthaffar, made clear his objections to the film project in an open letter on August 25th. He reveals that he was not informed at all about the Israeli production partner. Nor were the Palestinian directors to be involved in the editing process.
To whom It May Concern,
When Kuttab Productions first contacted me early July, it failed to mention that Israel is part of this project, although I specifically inquired about this issue. And then again, you sent me an email on July 9th, which also failed to mention that Israel is in fact part of your film production. I only knew about Israel being a co-producer of Jerusalem 24 when I asked specific technical questions about the characters, crew and the editing phase. I was surprised to know that the selected filmmakers are only requested to film on September 6th and that we have no say in the editing phase. Then, you said: The editing phase will happen in Germany where the Palestinian and the Israeli films will be edited in one feature length documentary. This is not information that can simply be passed on in such a way!
I reject to be part of Jerusalem 24: a German/ Israeli/ Palestinian co-production for the following two main reasons:
· I respect and support Palestinian civil society campaign for Boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it complies with International law and respects Palestinian rights.
· I refuse to be part of a peace propaganda machine that continues to ignore Israel’s cruel colonization of Palestine.
There is a longer list of reasons related to the current steps undertaken by Israel that aim at changing the demographic, social and cultural composition of the city of Jerusalem – to name few:
· Advocating the largest act of de-population of East Jerusalem since 1967.
· Continuing expansion of illegal settlements.
· Renewal of closure of East Jerusalem Institutions.
· Building restrictions and home demolitions.
· Revoking residency rights and denying family reunification.
· Continued illegal diggings under al-Aqsa mosque compound.
There is no way in which I can separate my art from who I am, from my life, from my duty to resist everything and anything that doesn’t acknowledge my right to exist on my land in freedom and dignity.
Enas I. aL-Muthaffar
Enas’ stance is confirmed in an Al Akbar piece [Google translation]:
Yesterday, I sent a group of Palestinian institutions and individuals working in the field of culture and art message to «Book of production» declare the absolute rejection of various forms of normalization with the occupier and «standing in the face of attempts to penetrate the cultural front as the line of the clash with the basic occupation, and intellectuals were and will remain the spearhead in the clash of cultures and civilizations with brute occupation force.
Haidar Eid further affirms terms of the PACBI boycott relevant to the joint film project [Google translation]:
That all meetings and projects that combine between the Palestinians and the Israelis must be placed in the proper context against the occupation and other forms of Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, and most importantly that these meetings be pro-boycott by directives issued by the National Committee of the province.
According to Amira Hass, 20 directors, including Israelis, have now pulled out of the film project in support of the cultural boycott and filming, scheduled for September 6, has been halted.