We are Israeli citizens, including Jerusalemites, who are active against our government's policies of occupation, colonialism and apartheid. We have been promoting human rights and peace for many years within our society.
We are appalled by the City of Prague’s decision to host an official
Israeli propaganda event within its quarters. If the festival was given its
appropriate name - Days of Apartheid in Prague - it would make perfect
sense. The current act of propaganda carried out by the Israeli Ministry of
Foreign Affairs means celebrating the so-called “United City of
Jerusalem”, which is in reality one of the most divided and explicitly
racist cities in the world today.
The State of Israel, via the Jerusalem Municipality, refuses to acknowledge
East Jerusalem as occupied Palestinian territory even though the ICJ had no
difficulty in establishing this simple fact [2 ICJ 7/2004]. At the same
time, Israel and the Jerusalem Municipality carry out an explicitly racist
policy which shamelessly includes the ethnic cleansing of the city’s
Palestinian population and denying them residency [3 Jerusalem 2020],
racist zoning and planning policies, discrimination in access to
infrastructure and services, incursions and nightly arrests of residents
including many child arrests..
In addition to the Old City wall, the State of Israel has erected a new
tall concrete wall which literally cuts through East Jerusalem
neighborhoods separating families from each other, children from their
schools or the sick from adequate medical care.
Those of us who live in Jerusalem witness the state-sponsored violence and
discrimination which is routine practice against the city’s Arab
population. For example:
* On the so-called “Jerusalem Day”, thousands of Israelis are escorted by
Israeli police as they march in occupied East Jerusalem while chanting
"Death to the Arabs" and as local Palestinians are forced to take shelter
in their homes.
* Tens of thousands of Palestinians in occupied east Jerusalem are being
denied access to water.
* The Israeli police regularly kidnaps children as young as 9 from their
beds in the middle of the night, arrests and abuses them.
* Such children who are imprisoned by Israel may undergo torture, often
carried out at a notorious detention centre on the outskirts of the city.
* The municipality of Jerusalem and the Israeli government are constantly
demolishing houses in occupied East Jerusalem. These houses are built by
Palestinian families on their own land, but the authorities rarely grant
them the needed permits for construction, deeming virtually all Palestinian
construction illegal and due for demolition. It has been shown that this
practice serves the purpose of driving away as many Palestinians out of the
city and into the rest of the West Bank.
The aforementioned human rights violations are taking place in the occupied
and “united” city of Jerusalem, but they are only one element in many forms
of apartheid policies which are carried out by Israel against the
Palestinian people - those in the occupied Palestinian territories, those
inside Israel and those who are in forced exile.
In order to counter such criminal policies and blatant human rights
violations, we urge the city of Prague to immediately cease its complicity
in these crimes and join the global campaign for equality, freedom and
justice in Jerusalem and throughout historic Palestine.
We also call on all Czech citizens of conscience to join the BDS campaign
in holding Israel accountable for its actions. More specifically, we call
on you to stand up to the current Czech government if it continues to be
morally and politically complicit in the violations of human rights and
international law being committed by the Israeli government.
Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to the Czech activists who
advocate for a boycott of the "Days of Jerusalem in Prague" propaganda
event. We hope that our letter sheds some light on the true nature of this
festival. We would like to stress that Israeli artists are welcome to
perform their art but they should not be welcome to act as apartheid
ambassadors collaborating with the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs.
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (aka Boycott from