Palestinians thank Natalie Imbruglia for refusing to entertain Israeli apartheid
Palestinian artists, cultural organizations and human rights supporters welcome the Australian-British singer Natalie Imbruglia’s cancellation of her March performance in Tel Aviv.
Palestine, 13 February 2017 --
Palestinian artists, cultural organizations and human rights supporters have welcomed the Australian-British singer Natalie Imbruglia’s cancellation of her March performance in Tel Aviv and thanked her for deciding to be “on the right side of history, on the side of the oppressed.”
A spokesperson for the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), which is part of the Palestinian leadership of the BDS movement, said:
“Just as conscientious artists refused to entertain apartheid South Africa, Natalie Imbruglia is refraining from lending her name to cover up Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.”
Around the same time as Imbruglia’s cancellation, four National Football Association (NFL) players in the US have decided not to participate in an Israeli-sponsored propaganda visit, after receiving appeals from Palestinian, American and other activists and cultural icons of the caliber of Danny Glover, Angela Davis and Alice Walker.
In defiance of the recent UN Security Council resolution 2334, which reiterates that all Israeli settlements are a “flagrant violation” of international law, Israel has intensified its construction of settlements and passed a law that would retroactively legitimize its land grab of private Palestinian lands.
Israel has also escalated its forced displacements of Palestinian communities in the Naqab (Negev), Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, drawing condemnation from across the world. Human rights activists often accuse Israel of “turning of Gaza into an open-air prison,” unjustly detaining Palestinian children, who face torture and ill-treatment by Israeli forces, and repression against Palestinian artists.
The PACBI spokesperson said:
“The rise of the far-right in the US and in some European countries, especially Trump and his racist, Islamophobic and xenophobic team, has emboldened Israel to speed up its ongoing colonization and apartheid policies.”
“Under these circumstance, refraining from performing in Tel Aviv becomes an ethical obligation, for else one would become complicit in whitewashing Israel’s egregious human rights violations. We call on all artists and academics not to become an accessory to Israel’s attempts at rebranding.”
When launching the Brand Israel propaganda campaign in 2005, Israeli Foreign Ministry official Nissim Ben-Sheetrit said: “We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theatre companies, exhibits. This way, you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.”
As part of this campaign, Israel has subsidized visits by artists, academics, music bands, among others, to help project an image of modernity and normalcy.
Natalie Imbruglia has supported various justice efforts, from women’s rights through the Northern Rivers Community Foundation to Oxfam.
The nonviolent BDS movement has chalked a number of impressive achievements lately in the academic, cultural and economic spheres. World renowned figures have played a key role in spreading the movement’s human rights messages.
Desmond Tutu, among the earliest leading figures to endorse BDS, once wrote in the context of supporting a BDS-related campaign:
“As South Africans, we recognize institutionalized racism when we see it. We have experienced the corrosive effects of segregation .... It is unconscionable to remain silent, or neutral, in the face of injustice. Neutrality maintains the status quo and compounds the injustice.”
The PACBI spokesperson concludes,
“Despite the expected backlash that artists may receive for their confrontation of oppression through boycotts, we hope that Natalie Imbruglia joins the tide of standing with justice as Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Gill Scott Heron, Elvis Costello and others who have cancelled performances in Israel. This would significantly contribute to our nonviolent struggle for freedom, justice and equality.”