PACBI Statement

Let’s boycott Israel’s “Oud Festival,” an embodiment of Zionist cultural imperialism

October 31, 2011

[While the PACBI appeal regarding the Jerusalem Oud Festival was made to Palestinian citizens of Israel, it goes without saying that the festival should be boycotted by all international artists; we greatly appreciate the cancelation of Martha Frintzila. We encourage international supporters of BDS to urge international artists to refrain from performing at this festival. -PACBI]

My flesh on the walls is your flesh, O son of my mother
A body for a variety of shadows
And you have to walk with no roads
Behind, or ahead, South or North
And to move the steps by the scale
When those who gave you your shackles wish you to
So they can embellish you and take you to the exhibitions, for visitors to see your glory
How lonely you were.

Mahmoud Darwish (from “A Eulogy for the Tall Shadow”)

Despite the peoples’ revolutions that are shaking the thrones of tyranny and striving for democracy, freedom, dignity, and social justice in the Arab World, and in the midst of the hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation prisons and detention centers, we are surprised to hear that a number of Palestinian artists are participating in Israel’s “Oud Festival,” a Zionist propaganda festival that embodies what the late Edward Said termed “cultural imperialism” and that aims to appropriate our cultural heritage, just as it has done to our land and history. The participation of Palestinian artists in this festival would provide a Palestinian fig leaf to an event that explicitly aims to merge “Middle Eastern genres with original Israeli works,” and to celebrate Israel’s musical diversity and its “multifaceted musical idioms that draw on the pluralistic roots of the Jewish people,” according to the Israeli Minister of Culture’s welcoming message in the opening of the festival’s program [1].

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)[2] calls upon all Palestinians, especially in the areas of ‘48 and Occupied Jerusalem, to boycott this festival in every possible way. We urge participating Palestinian artists to immediately withdraw from this festival, and not to provide a fig leaf to cover up the crimes of the Israeli occupation. This is the least they can do, as their participation would undermine the growing movement for the cultural boycott of Israel, one of the most effective forms of our popular and non-violent struggle for freedom, justice, and equality.

The festival is organized by an Israeli institution called “Confederation House,” (also “Zionist Confederation House”[3]) and sponsored by the Israeli government (the Ministry of Culture), the Israeli occupation’s municipality of Jerusalem, and other institutions subject to the boycott due to their complicity in Israel’s violations of international law and human rights. The “Jerusalem Municipality” is involved in the most atrocious chapter of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem since 1967. The Israeli government is involved in ongoing and intensifying colonial aggression against our people from the lethal siege of Gaza, to the systematic destruction of Araqeeb and the neighboring Palestinian Bedouin villages in the Naqab (Negev), the displacement of thousands of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley and other large areas in the occupied West Bank, the burning of mosques with total impunity, and the entrenchment of apartheid ins Israel in light of the recent legislation of a series of racist laws aimed to abolish our identity and our very existence. Is it acceptable for any Palestinian artist to participate in a Zionist festival with such official support? Is it acceptable that prestigious international bands and individuals are increasingly endorsing and/or heeding the cultural boycott of Israel as an effective form of solidarity with the Palestinian people to achieve our inalienable rights, while Palestinian artists still participate in a propagandist Israeli festival like this?

If some of these Palestinian artists have previously participated in this festival without being aware of these facts, without being bothered by the festival’s role in celebrating the establishment of the state of Israel on the ruins of our homeland and through the systematic forcible dispossession and displacement of the majority of our people, and without being moved by the fact that this festival was previously held in the memory of the annexation of occupied East Jerusalem; isn’t it time to refuse being “embellished” and led to exhibitions to dance to the tunes of our oppressors?

In condemning this “Oud Festival” and calling for its boycott, the Palestinian musician from the Galilee, Khalid Jubran, wrote:

“Let the most enlightened people the prophets who preach tolerance, and the believers in coexistence, come and give me one good reason why I should contribute, as an Arab musician (or simply as a spectator), to the fabrication of a musical culture for a people that lack one and that insists on denying my language! Let the greatest advocate of peace, even the Mahatma Gandhi himself, come and try to convince me of the righteousness of turning myself into a fig leaf to help this ‘proud’ racist state to cover some of its [sins].” [4]

We urge you not to give the Israeli Occupation’s Jerusalem municipality and the Israeli Ministry of Culture a cover for their crimes and violations of international law and of our people’s cultural and national rights.

Let’s boycott the Zionist “Oud Festival”!

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel


NOTE: this statement was originally issued in Arabic on 14 October 2011.



[2] PACBI is part of the Palestinian Civil Society campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel until in complies with its obligations under international law.


[4] Khalid Jubran, “On the theft of the Palestinian cultural heritage,” Al-Adab (Beruit), 1/2/3 2010.

October 31, 2011


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