Asking Writers to Stand up for Justice, Don’t endorse Israel’s International Writers’ Festival

Feb, 2012

This year Israel’s International Writers’  Festival is to be held in Jerusalem from May 13-18, 2012. This is another opportunity for Israel to use internationally acclaimed authors to promote a false image of progressive culture to Israeli citizens and the world.

On 25 February the PACBI published “Public appeal to international writers: do not partake in celebrating apartheid Jerusalem!”

The PACBI states

” … we would like to call on international solidarity groups to put pressure on international participants of the International Writers’ Festival to cancel all forms of participation, and to explain to them the political meaning of their participation.”
Writers are often very receptive people, loving to hear about all people’s opinions.  Some writers are unaware of the call for justice and equal rights for Palestinians.  Sometimes with increased awareness, an author is willing to make a bold stand for humanity.

When a writer is aware of the boycott and its reasons, their continued persistance to be a part of the machinery that churns daily by Israel to create a false sense of “peace” means they do not really care about peace for all people.  Let’s hope the following authors will reconsider their present plans to be a part of that “hasbara.”

PACBI writes

“This is especially … given the festival’s ties to the Israeli political and cultural establishment, which uses the festival as an opportunity to rebrand Israel as a normal country by showing its “prettier face”–its vibrant cultural and artistic community. [1]  Israel, however, is not a normal country and should not be admitted into the global cultural arena until it respects international law and recognizes the Palestinian people’s right to freedom, equality and justice.”

“Pertinent facts concerning this festival include the announcement that, in accordance with the tradition of previous festivals, the President of the state will preside over the festival s opening; that it expects to be funded by the Jerusalem Foundation, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Jerusalem Municipality; and that the festival is envisioned by its organizers as a public-relations exercise to ‘improve the image of Jerusalem.’ “

These 9 writers are already on the agenda to present in Israel:

  • Vikas Swarup (“Slumdog Millionaire”)  Contact at http://www.vikasswarup.net/index_files/Page1952.htm
  • Tracy Chevalier (“Remarkable Creatures,” “Falling Angels”) Email her at http://www.tchevalier.com/contact.html twitter @tracy_chevalier
  • Boualem Sansal of Algeria (“Harraga,” “Dis-moi le paradis” and winner of the 2011 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.  His novel “Le Village de l’allemand”  is the first of Sansal’s novels to be translated into English, and was published in the US as “The German Mujahid” and in the UK as “An Unfinished Business.”Boualem Sansal during the 2011 German Book Trade Peace Prize ceremony (© picture-alliance/dpa)
  • Howard Jacobson (“No More Mister Nice Guy,” and author of the article “Why Alice Walker shouldn’t sail to Gaza“)
  •  Aleksandar Hemon (“Nowhere Man,” “The Lazarus Project”) Email this natice from Sarajevo who now lives in Chicago at sasha@aleksandarhemon.com<sasha@aleksandarhemon.com>
  • Gary Shteyngart from the United States (“Super Sad True Love Story,” “Absurdistan,”) He’s on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/shteyngart?sk=wall and has over 6500 fans, publishing photos and short interesting comments frequently. He’s also an avid twitterbug@Shteyngart
  • Gerard Donovan Irish-born and currently residing in Plymouth, England working at Plymouth University  (“Doctor Salt” and “Schopenhauer’s Telescope”)  Write to in care of School of Humanities and Performance, Faculty of Arts Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA
  • Lorenza Mazzetti of Italy (“The Sky Falls” the 1961 book was made into a film in 2000)
  • Claudia Piñeiro of Argentina (“Betibu,” “El secreto de las rubias”)

Lets hope these authors will decide to be on the right side of history, standing with justice, human rights and equality, instead of with Israel and its apartheid policies.  Contact them with details about why they should boycott.

Author Alice Walker has endorsed the boycott, watch her here in Gaza

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