From Israeli citizens: Please say NO to Batsheva and Israeli Apartheid Propaganda! 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 in the occupied West Bank.
We have learned of a planned cooperation between your festival and the Israeli dance ensemble Batsheva. We would like to explain why this cooperation would be wrong.
As Israeli activists, we belong to a small minority who demonstrate, publish reports and condemn our government’s crimes. However, this in itself will 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.
Israeli artistic institutions which collaborate with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs are serving as propaganda tools for an apartheid regime. Inviting Batsheva to perform in Santiago at this time would play into the hands of the Israeli government, as expressed by Mr. Nissim Ben-Sheetrit, a former deputy director general at the Ministry: "We are seeing culture as a hasbara [advocacy] tool of the first rank, and I do not differentiate between hasbara and culture" (http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/about-face-1.170267)
Activists all over the world have been taking action against the use of culture for propaganda purposes by the Israeli government.
We know that the murderous dictatorship in Chile, in the 1970s and 1980s, was supported by Israeli governments and the Israeli military industries. We also know that Chilean citizens of conscience are opposed to our government’s ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people.
As Israeli citizens who are deeply concerned about the future of all people living in the region, we believe that cooperation between the M15 festival the Israeli government via a Batsheva performance would come at the cost of millions of human beings, Palestinians facing expropriation, detention, torture and even massacre, as we have seen this summer in Gaza.
We therefore call on you 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 supported 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)