Open Letter

Campaigners to restaurant chefs: cancel your participation in Tel Aviv Round Tables tour

October 21, 2016
/ By /

Between 8-26 November 2016 head chefs from 13 famous restaurants from cities around the world will spend a week cooking in Tel Aviv as part of a PR initiative to bring international prestige to Israel’s culinary scene. Civil society groups from these countries have appealed to the chefs to cancel their participation and to Italian sparkling water bottler Ferrarelle to withdraw sponsorship. 

 

Check out our Action Alert - take action now - tell these food chefs to cancel their presence in #ApartheidRoundTables

Letter:

CANCEL YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THE ROUND TABLES TOUR

- TAKE APARTHEID OFF THE MENU -

 

To the attention of:

Indian Accent, New Delhi - Chef Manish Mehrotra

L’Ami Jean, Paris - Chef Stéphane Jégo

Maruja Limon, Vigo - Chef Rafael Centeno Móyer

Belcanto, Lisbon - Chef Jose Avillez

Triciclo, Madrid - Chefs Javier Goya, Javier Mayor Chef Matt Lambert & David Alfonso

The Musket Room, New York - Chef Matt Lambert

Gustu, Bolivia - Chef Kamilla Seidler

Mallin & Schmidt, Denmark - Chef Thorsten Schmidt

Matador Room, Miami - Chef Jeremy Ford

La Bottega, Geneva - Chef Francesco Gasbarro

Taller, Coppenhagen - Chef Karlos Ponte

Nahm, Bangkok - Chef David Thompson

Chef Diego Munoz, Lima
 

We, the undersigned civil society groups, are writing to you regarding your planned participation in the Round Tables Tour culinary event taking place in Tel Aviv from November 8-26, 2016. We urge you to reconsider your involvement in this initiative aimed at using haute cuisine to mask Israel’s denial of Palestinian basic rights.

In 2014 Israeli tanks, fighter jets and gunboats were pounding the besieged Gaza Strip, killing over 2100 Palestinians, including more than 500 children, in just the latest of what have tragically become periodic massacres carried out by the Israeli military with impunity. Along with homes, hospitals, schools and factories, Israeli attacks destroyed farms, greenhouses, water wells, orchards, crops and livestock [1].

Israeli army snipers regularly fire upon Palestinian farmers in Gaza and frequent military incursions destroy crops. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights documented 534 land incursions and 544 shooting incidents between 2006 and 2013, killing 179 civilians and injuring 751 [2]. Documents obtained via a court battle show Israel used cynical calorie calculations to determine the number of truckloads of food allowed in through its illegal blockade of the coastal enclave, placing Palestinians in Gaza on a starvation diet [3].

In the occupied West Bank, research by the Israeli organization Kerem Navot details how Israel is using agriculture as a means for wholesale theft of Palestinian land. Since 1997, agriculture in illegal Israeli settlements has increased in area by 35 per cent, while cultivated Palestinian agricultural land has dropped by one third [4].

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that, according to United Nations reports, only 35 per cent of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation are food secure [5].

Palestinian citizens of Israel, which make up 20 per cent of the population, hardly fare any better. Palestinian communities are being forced off their land as part of Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing. Israel refuses to recognize 176 Palestinian towns and villages within its internationally-recognized borders, many predating the creation of the state, denying them even the most basic of services such as water and electricity. Israeli bulldozers regularly demolish entire villages leaving families homeless.

And though you will have no problem traveling to Tel Aviv, roughly 7 million Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons resulting from Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing are denied the right to return to their lands as guaranteed under International Law [6].

As we write this letter, Israel continues on a daily basis to conduct incursions into Palestinian towns, detaining youth and children illegally without charge, depriving Palestinians of freedom and basic rights, including the right to life, and entrenching its colonial occupation in defiance of international law and much of the world.

While the Round Tables event is presented as a “fruitful dialogue about culture, economy, and social issues,” it is instead an appalling use of the time-honored tradition of sharing culinary experiences as a means for whitewashing widespread violation of Palestinian fundamental rights, including the right to food.

In fact, among the partners of the American Express-sponsored event are the Israeli ministries of Tourism and Foreign Affairs and the municipality of Tel Aviv. Israeli ministries have for years been involved in the “Brand Israel” project, aimed at using culture and the arts as a way of distracting from its horrendous Human Rights record in order to create a positive image [7]. Tel Aviv, a city itself built on top of four destroyed and ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages as well as the historic Palestinian city of Jaffa, is the center of Israel's regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid and deeply complicit in whitewashing Israeli violations of Human Rights and International Law. And event partner Golan Heights Winery operates in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights in direct violation of International Law [8].

In 2005, over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations called for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as a means for putting pressure on Israel until it ends its Human Rights violations, which have continued undeterred and in complete impunity for decades [9]. As part of this call, international artists, performers, academics, and even chefs, are urged not to perform in Israel. The list of those heeding the call continues to grow [10].

By choosing to cook in the privileged bubble of Tel Aviv, surrounded by millions of Palestinians living under Israeli oppression, not only will you be knowingly disregarding this principled call from the oppressed, you will also become complicit in Israeli violations of Palestinian Human Rights and the perpetuation of Israeli occupation, apartheid and settler colonialism.

Respecting the Palestinian BDS call is the best way to ensure that Palestinians, in the words of famed South African anti-apartheid campaigner and BDS supporter Archbishop Desmond Tutu, are not reduced to “picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself [their] master,” but rather have “the full menu of rights.”

We urge you not to lend your culinary talents to mask Israel’s crimes. Please cancel your participation in the Round Tables event until everyone has a place at the table. We look forward to your response by Thursday, 20th of October.

Signed:

Land Defense coalition (LDC), Palestine

Palestinian Farmers Union (PFU), Palestine

Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network/Friends of the Earth-Palestine, Palestine

Stop the Wall Campaign, Palestine

Alternative Information Center (AIC), Palestine/Israel

Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from within, Israel

Frauen in Schwarz (Wien), Austria

Grupo de acción por palestina, Chile

Grupo de Acción por Palestina, Chile

Juventud Árabe por Palestina de Valdivia, Chile

BDS Colombia, Colombia

Boykot Israel, Denmark

Comité de Solidaridad Permanente EcuadorXPalestina, Ecuador

BDS France Campaign, France

Association France Palestine Solidarité 63, France
Collectif Judeo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Palestine, France
Collectif 69 de soutien au peuple palestinien, France
Coordination Bds37 (Tours), France
CSPRN, France
Comité solidarité Palestine région nazairienne, France
Mouvement contre le Racisme et pour l'Amitié entre les Peuples - Gironde (MRAP33), France

Collectif BDS Metz, France

Comité BDS France 34 - Montpellier, France
Bds France Marseille, France
Abna Philistine (Enfants de la Palestine)

AK Nahost Berlin, Germany

AKtion Gerechter Frieden Nahost, Germany

BDS Berlin, Germany

BDS Hamburg, Germany

Deutsch-palästinensische Gesellschaft , Germany

Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost, Germany

Palästinakomitee Stuttgart, Germany

ACS - Associazione di Cooperazione e Solidarietà, Italy

Associazione Casale Podere Rosa (Rome), Italy

Associazione Culturale Sogni di un Mondo Diverso, Italy

Associazione senza paura - Genova, Italy

Associazione Stelle Cadenti, artisti per la pace, Italy

Assopace Palestina, Italy

BDS Italia, Italy

BDS Sardegna, Italy

Comitato per non dimenticare Sabra e Chatila, Italy

Comitato Pistoiese per la Palestina, Italy

Comitato varesino per la Palestina, Italy

Confederazione Cobas, Italy

Coordinamento BDS Roma e Provincia, Italy

Coordinamento Nord Sud del Mondo, Italy

Donne in Nero / Women in Black, Italy

Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l'Acqua, Italy

Forum Palestina, Italy

Friends of the Palestinian Red Crescent, Italy

G.A.MA.DI. (Gruppo Atei Materialisti Dialettici), Italy

Gruppi Informali, Italy

Italian Communist Party, Italy

Italian Jews against Israeli Occupation, Italy

Lo Sguardo di Handala (Rome), Italy

Luisa Morgantini, former VP European Parliament, Italy

Rete Radiè Resch – Gruppo di Salerno, Italy

Rete Radié Resch di solidarietà internazionale, Italy

Rete Radié Resch Varese, Italy

Rete Romana di Solidarietà con il Popolo Palestinese, Italy

Salaam Ragazzi dell'Olivo Comitato di Trieste, Italy

Servizio Civile Internazionale, Italy

U.S. Citizens Against War - Florence, Italy

U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice - Rome, Italy

ULAIA ArteSud onlus, Italy

Un ponte per..., Italy

Article 1 Collective, Netherlands

docP, Netherlands

Nederlands Palestina Komitee (NPK), Netherlands

Federación Palestina del Perú, Peru

Associação Abril, Portugal

Colectivo Mumia Abu Jamal, Portugal

Comité de Solidariedade com a Palestina, Portugal

Conselho Português para a Paz e Cooperação, Portugal

Grupo Acção Palestina, Portugal

MPPM - Movimento pelos Direitos do Povo Palestino e pela Paz no Médio Oriente, Portugal

Panteras Rosa - Frente de Combate à Lesbigaytransfobia, Portugal

SOS Racismo, Portugal

BDS Slovenia, Slovenia

Red Solidaria contra la Ocupación de Palestina (RESCOP), Spain

• Network composed by 43 organisations: Asociación Al-Quds de Solidaridad con los Pueblos del

Mundo Árabe (Málaga), Asociación Andaluza por la Solidaridad y la Paz – ASPA, Asociación de

Amistad Palestina-Granada «Turab», Asociación Hispano Palestina Jerusalén (Madrid),

Asociación Pro-Derechos Humanos de Andalucía, Asociación Unadikum, BDS Catalunya, BDS

Madrid, BDS País Valencià, Castelló per Palestina, Comité de Solidaridad con la Causa Árabe

(Madrid, Asturias), Comité de Solidaridad con los Pueblos – Interpueblos (Cantabria),

Comunidad Palestina en Canarias, Comunitat Palestina de Catalunya, Comunitat Palestina de

València, Coordinadora de apoyo a Palestina (La Rioja), Ecologistas en Acción (Confederal),

Fundación IEPALA, Fundación Mundubat, Asociación Palestina Biladi, Anticapitalistas, Komite

Internazionalistak (Euskal Herria), MEWANDO (Euskadi), Movimiento Solidaridad Internacional

Catalunya – ISM Cataluña / Valencia, Mujeres en Zona de Conflicto – M.Z.C., Mujeres por la Paz

– Acción Solidaria con Palestina (Canarias), Paz Ahora, Paz con Dignidad, Plataforma de

Solidaridad con Palestina (Sevilla), Plataforma Palestina Ibiza, Plataforma Solidaria con Palestina

de Valladolid, Red de Jóvenes Palestinos, Red Judía Antisionista Internacional -IJAN, Sodepau,

Sodepaz, Sodepaz Balamil, Taula per Palestina (Illes Balears), UJCE (Unión de Juventudes

Comunistas de España), Grupo de Cooperación Sevilla Palestina, CERAI (Centro de Estudios

Rurales y de Agricultura Internacional), BDS Alacant (dentro de BDS País Valencià), Palestina

Toma la Calle, Coalició Prou Complicitat amb Israel

Coalició Prou Complicitat amb Israel (CPCI), Catalonia, Spain

• Network composed by 14 organisations: Rumbo a Gaza, Junts-Associació Catalana de Jueus i

Palestins, Comunitat Palestina de Catalunya, NOVACT, BDS Catalunya, Pau Sempre, SUDS, Servei

Civil Internacional de Catalunya (SCI-Cat), Centre Euro Àrab de Catalunya, En Lluita, Unadikum,

Pallasos en Rebeldía, Asociación Cultural Arte & Maña and International Solidarity Movement

BDS Galicia

(ISM) Catalunya

Red Antisionista de Sevilla, Spain

Centro Cultural Palestino Biladi, Basque Country, Spain

Revolta Global-Esquerra Anticapitalista, Catalonia, Spain

Unadikum, Spain

Vent, associació cultural, Spain

BDS Switzerland, Switzerland

BDS Zürich, Switzerland

Bernese Vigil for a just peace in Israel / Palestine, Switzerland

Palestine Solidarity Campagn, Thailand

BDS Thailand, Thailand

Artists for Palestine UK, United Kingdom

Cambridge Palestine Solidarity Campaign, United Kingdom

Camden Palestine Solidarity Campaign, United Kingdom

Camden Palestine Solidarity Campaign, United Kingdom

Inminds, United Kingdom

Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, United Kingdom

Merton PSC, United Kingdom

Northern Women for Palestine, United Kingdom

Palestine Solidarity Campaign, United Kingdom

Stop G4S, United Kingdom

York Palestine Solidarity Campaign, United Kingdom

Association of Palestinian Communities in Scotland, Scotland, United Kingdom

Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Scotland, United Kingdom

Adalah-NY; the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, United States

CODEPINK Women for Peace, United States

 

Notes:

[1] http://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-palestinian-territory/agriculture-post-war-gaza-strip-18-09-2015

[2] http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/palestine-under-fire-report-en.pdf

[3] http://www.gisha.org/UserFiles/File/publications/redlines/redlines-position-paper-eng.pdf

[4] http://972mag.com/resource-how-agriculture-is-used-to-take-over-west-bank-land/84993/

[5] http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/press-releases/food-insecurity-palestine-remains-high

[6] http://www.badil.org/phocadownloadpap/Badil_docs/publications/Q&A-en.pdf

[7] https://electronicintifada.net/content/behind-brand-israel-israels-recen...

[8] http://www.whoprofits.org/sites/default/files/WhoProfits-IsraeliWines.pdf

[9] http://www.bdsmovement.net/call

[10] http://www.bdsmovement.net/activecamps/cultural-boycott

    http://www.bdsmovement.net/successes/

 
October 21, 2016
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