PACBI Salutes the Palestine Forum in Japan
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) would like to extend its appreciation and support to the Palestine Forum in Japan for its admirable efforts to stop the world renowned novelist, Haruki Murakami, from attending the Jerusalem International Book Fair and accepting the ‘Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society’ on February 15th, 2009.
At the best of times, Mr. Murakami’s visit to Israel would be morally reprehensible and tantamount to supporting its colonial regime, but now, in the aftermath of the heinous war crimes Israel has committed in Gaza, it is utterly unimaginable. Mr. Murakami’s proposed visit comes against the background of Israel’s brutal assault against occupied Gaza, which killed over 1300 Palestinians, injured thousands, and which systematically destroyed civilian infrastructure, targeting and bombing UN schools, a university, mosques and reducing entire neighbourhoods and villages to rubble. Princeton academic Richard Falk described the siege Israel has imposed on Gaza as a “preclude to genocide”, even before Israel unleashed this latest military violence against the imprisoned and defenceless civilian population in Gaza. What we are witnessing in Gaza is the dangerous escalation of the deliberate processes of ethnic cleansing through which Zionist forces dispossessed the native Palestinians and established an exclusivist Jewish state in 1948. The slow genocide in Gaza, implemented through the siege, the massacres and the terrorising of the civilian lives there, is an acceleration of the same ethnic cleansing. This continues systematically today as Israel brutalises, displaces, and dispossesses the indigenous Palestinian population in order to colonise more and more land for exclusive Jewish use, and to maintain its racist apartheid system.
In the past few weeks, throughout the world, groups of novelists, artists, students, academics and associations, including, the Palestine Forum in Japan, have consolidated their efforts to show solidarity with the occupied Palestinians, to condemn Israel’s war crimes and its apartheid system regime, and to call for effective political action such as boycotts, divestment drives, and sanctions (BDS). They have been joined by jurists, human rights organisations, and the UN to hold Israel responsible for its violations of human rights and international law.
We believe that this recent and growing effort is an important first step towards the adoption of a world-wide broad BDS policy against Israel’s occupation, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Just as the struggle against apartheid in South Africa was successful in isolating the state and bringing about justice, we hope that together we will isolate the state of Israel and eventually bring about freedom and justice for the Palestinians, and to realise their right to live in dignity with equal rights in their homeland.
We salute your action in urging the novelist Murakami not to attend the Jerusalem International Book Fair, 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 seek to silence, intimidate and crush anyone who speaks out and opposes these brutal crimes.