Letter from PACBI to the Irish Academy of Artists (Aosdana)
The motion came in response to a statement made in August 2006 by over 120 Palestinian artists, filmmakers and cultural workers calling on artists and cultural institutions around the world to join a cultural boycott of Israel. This appeal was issued within the framework of a call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) endorsed by over 200 Palestinian political parties, grassroots and non-governmental organizations, and unions.
We think that this recent motion is an important first step towards the adoption of a cultural boycott by your association and other artists and associations in Ireland and in other countries in the world.
In less than two months, the Palestinian people will commemorate 40 years of Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and in a year's time, we will commemorate another tragic date, that of 60 years of the ethnic cleansing of the majority of our people from our homeland, and the declaration of the state of Israel over 80% of our lands.
During the last 40 years of occupation we have witnessed the worsening of our living conditions on all levels, political, social, economic and cultural. Despite the peace process that started 14 years ago, and which should have led to the creation of a Palestinian state alongside an Israeli one, we find ourselves surrounded by a concrete wall and illegal Israeli settlements. We witness humiliation, killing, and assassination on a daily basis, restrictions on our freedom of movement, and the endless creation of new systems to control that oppress us. We find ourselves having lost more during these past 14 years of “peace” than we did during the 26 years of occupation that preceded it.
We have come to the realization that unless the international community exerts pressure on the State of Israel to end its system of apartheid in the land of Palestine, the worsening of our situation will continue. Just as the struggle against apartheid in South Africa was successful in isolating the state and bringing about justice, we appeal to people like yourselves, artists and professional associations, to take a stand in the hope that efforts to isolate the state of Israel will eventually lead to a just solution to the Palestinian cause.
We salute your action in passing such a motion, despite the pressure from representatives of the state of Israel, who are not only willing to defend the crimes against humanity that their country commits every day, but who will also give themselves the permission to thwart any opposition to these crimes in other countries as well.
PACBI- The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel