We are Israeli citizens active against our country's policies of occupation, colonialism and apartheid. We are appalled to hear of the decision by the Thessaloniki Book Fair to make Israel its “guest of honor”.
As we write these words, millions of human beings are placed under siege, curfew and closure so that our government can celebrate what it refers to as Independence Day. Furthermore, the decision to honor the State of Israel on May 8, the same week marking the 66th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba - the systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine from its indigenous people for the sake of building an apartheid state on its remains, serves to legitimize the State of Israel's past and present acts of ethnic cleansing against the non-Jewish inhabitants of this land.
The Nakba is not a thing of the past. The state of Israel is brutalizing and uprooting Bedouin villages in the Naqab/Negev area (http://972mag.com/photos-a-life-of-discrimination-for-the-negevs-bedouin/88714/), such as the village of El-Arakeeb which was demolished over 50 times in past years, even though these villages had existed long before Israel was established! The organizers' invitation to the Israeli government cannot be understood in any way other than participating in Israeli propaganda efforts, while facilitating the continuation of such Israeli crimes, some of which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
We would like to quote the dissident Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai in a statement several years ago:
“Any other kind of exhibition in which the Israeli state is invited, is not a way to promote peace in the Middle East, and not a way to bring justice to the Palestinians, but only propaganda to give Israel an image of being a liberal and democratic society. A state which maintains an occupation & commits daily crimes against civilians does not deserve to be invited to whichever cultural week.”
We are therefore, asking the organizers of the Thessaloniki Book Fair to immediately rescind their invitation to the Israeli government. Furthermore, we would also like to thank and encourage Greek human rights activists who have protested against the fair, for its apparent complicity in whitewashing Israeli crimes. We are certain that more and more people in Greece will realize the ethnic supremacist and criminal nature of the Israeli regime, realize the urgency to speak up against it and join us in the ever growing global BDS campaign - until equality, freedom and justice prevail in the Holy Land.
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (aka Boycott from Within)