Someone approached me on the Friends of Palestine stall and aggressively and condescendingly said: “Isn’t this the country that is always bombing another country?!?”
I said: “No, no, you’re thinking of America.”
There are reports of an escalation in Gaza as we speak… Four rockets have reportedly have been fired into the Naqab, and Israeli gunboats have fired into the coastal areas, as well as the deployment of apaches, and possibly F16s.
Pray that the innocents are kept safe, please.
We call on Russell Brand, as a conscientious human of moral integrity, to cancel his appearance in Israel during the ‘Messiah Complex’ world tour, in accordance with the call of the Palestinian civil society to uphold a cultural boycott of the State of Israel. In 2005, the Israeli government launched the ‘Brand Israel’ campaign, which seeks to display a veneer of vibrant plurality and egalitarianism in Israel by utilising the guise of diverse cultural events being both exported and imported. Arye Mekel, deputy director general for cultural affairs in the Israeli foreign ministry, said of this campaign: “This way you show Israel’s prettier face…” In response, many prominent cultural figures (writers, academics, etc), at the request of the ‘Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)’ have opposed any invitation to Israel, these include (amongst many more): Stevie Wonder, Stephen Hawkings, Judith Butler, Ken Loach, Iain Banks, Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker and Roger Waters. The call to boycott the State of Israel is no more a political statement than the engagement with the State, which amounts to a whitewashing of ethnic cleansing and apartheid. Indeed, such cultural events serve only the privileged, while a few miles away Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza navigate an internationally illegal military occupation, and many more live another day exiled in refugee camps. Russell Brand intends to export his tour to countries that are “relaxed about free speech,” but, if held in Israel, roughly 3 million Palestinians will be instantaneously cut off from attending as a result of the illegal military occupation: Is that not the most effective stifling of free speech? “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Russell Brand, the international community and the Palestinian civil society call sincerely and wholeheartedly on you not to appear in Israel as part of your world tour. No to (Russell) Brand (In) Israel.
Share this far and wide! Russell is politically aware and is in the public spotlight, meaning a BDS victory here is possible (dare I say probable) and would be in the media.
Appeals to reason, international law, U.N. resolutions and simple human decency mean — it is now obvious — nothing to Israel… I would urge all writers, artists and others in the creative arts, as well as those academics engaging in joint educational projects with Israeli institutions, to consider doing everything they can to convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation, preferably by simply having nothing more to do with this outlaw state.
The GMB, one of the largest worker unions in Britain, passes resolution in response to the funding group’s opposition to a boycott of Israel.
This is possibly the largest BDS victory in the UK so far - the GMB is a huge trade union!