To: Monsieur Noël Coret, Director of The Salon d'Automne
We are Israeli citizens who are active against our government’s policies of racism, apartheid and occupation towards the Palestinian people. In particular, many of us are veteran activists in the campaign against Israel’s illegal colonization and settlement construction policies in the occupied West Bank.
We have received unconfirmed reports about a planned cooperation in Tel Aviv between the Salon d'Automne and the Israeli government. We would like to explain why this cooperation is wrong.
As Israeli activists, we belong to a small minority who demonstrates, publishes reports and condemns our government’s crimes. However, this in itself does not suffice: The decades-long reality of our government’s racist policies has brought us to the conclusion that in order to bring its crimes to an end, complicit institutions which profit from these policies must face sanctions.
The Israeli government, and the Municipality of Tel Aviv, work hard to market Israel as an enlightened democracy, covering up the nature of the regime here. In particular, There is a special campaign to "Brand Tel Aviv" as a "cool" place, which people should visit. For example:
"Part of this has to do with the fact that the Foreign Ministry and Tourism Ministry government offices are using Tel Aviv as a city that exhibits the different Israel, without wars, politics, Intifada- but culture, nightlife, young people and beaches. We are the means of public relations for the whole state."
Gidi Schmerling, Tel Aviv municipality spokesperson
However, Tel Aviv is the financial center of Israel's apartheid economy. International artistic events in Tel Aviv help the Israeli government perpetuate its occupation and its settlement project. Furthermore, the story of Tel Aviv-Jaffa itself (the full name of the city) contains the story of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestine in 1948:
"Jaffa was the largest city in historic Palestine during the years of the British mandate, with a population of more than 80,000 Palestinians in addition to the 40,000 persons living in the towns and villages in its immediate vicinity. In the period between the UN Partition resolution (UNGA 181) of 29 November 1947, and the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel, Zionist military forces displaced 95 percent of Jaffa’s indigenous Arab Palestinian population. Jaffa’s refugees accounted for 15 percent of Palestinian refugees in that fateful year, and today they are dispersed across the globe, still banned from returning by the state responsible for their displacement".
As Israeli citizens who are deeply concerned about the future of all people living in the region, we believe that cooperation between the Salon d'Automne and the Israeli government would come at the expense of millions of human beings, Palestinian facing expropriation, detention, torture and even massacre, as we have seen this summer in Gaza.
We therefore call on the organizers of the Salon d'Automne in Paris to cancel the invitation immediately.
We would like to stress that the BDS call regards institutional cooperation with the government of Israel. Individual Israeli artists who are not complicit in war crimes and are not sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, can be invited to international events.
We will gladly address any questions or comments.
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (Boycott from Within)