Israeli citizens against the “Days of Jerusalem” propaganda Festival in Pilsen and Prague

June 2015


Israeli citizens against the “Days of Jerusalem” propaganda Festival in Pilsen and Prague

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 decision by the European Capital of Culture Pilsen 2015 to host an official Israeli propaganda event within its quarters. If the festival was given its appropriate name – Days of Apartheid in Pilsen and Prague – it would make perfect sense. The upcoming festival is an act of propaganda carried out by means of celebrating the so-called “United City of Jerusalem” [1], which is in reality one of the most divided and explicitly racist cities in the world today.


Moreover, we would like to protest against the involvement of the “New Spirit” NGO in the upcoming festival. “New Spirit”  seeks to promote the ethnocratic order in Jerusalem, and does not confront the municipality for its apartheid policies in the city. In fact, “New Spirit” has recently sponsored an award ceremony, which included an award in the field of “Jewish Revival”, yet no award has been given for Arab/ Palestinian/ Christian/ Muslim Revival. [2]

The State of Israel, via the Jerusalem Municipality, refuses to acknowledge East Jerusalem as an occupied Palestinian territory even though the International Court of Justice (ICJ) had no difficulty in establishing this simple fact [3]. At the same time, Israel and the Jerusalem Municipality carry out an explicitly racist policy which includes the ethnic cleansing of the city’s Palestinian population and denying them residency [4], while further imposing racist zoning and planning policies, practicing 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 are routine practice against the city’s Palestinian 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 [5] [6].
  • Tens of thousands of Palestinians in occupied east Jerusalem are being denied access to water [7].
  • The Israeli police regularly snatch children as young as 9 from their beds in the middle of the night, arrest and abuse them [8].
  • Such children who are imprisoned by Israel may undergo abuse, which is often carried out at a notorious detention center on the outskirts of the city [9].
  • 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 hence due for demolition. It has been shown that this practice serves the purpose of driving away many Palestinians out of the city and into the rest of the West Bank [10].

The aforementioned human rights violations are taking place in the occupied and “united” city of Jerusalem on a daily basis, 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 Pilsen and the company Pilsen 2015 as the organizers of the European Capital of Culture Pilsen 2015 to immediately cease its complicity in these crimes and join the global campaign for equality, freedom, and justice for the Palestinian people.

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 any Czech government which is morally and politically complicit in the violations of human rights and international law committed by the Israeli government.

Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to the Czech activists who advocate a boycott of the “Days of Jerusalem in Prague” propaganda event. We hope that our letter can shed 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 government and Jerusalem Municipality.


Ronnie Barkan
Shir Hever
Ofer Neiman
Herzl Schubert
Yonatan Shapira

On behalf of
Boycott! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within (aka Boycott from Within)



The open letter was sent by Boycott from Within to the organizers of the European Capital of Culture Pilsen 2015 event (to the mayor of the city of Pilsen Martin Zrzavecký, to the director of the company Pilsen 2015 Mr Jiří Suchánek, and to the mayor of the city of Prague Mrs Adriana Krnáčová).

A copy of the letter went to:
Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic (main partner)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic
Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner responsible for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport
European Commission’s European Capitals of Culture (ECOC)
The Monitoring and Advisory Panel for the European Capital of Culture
Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council (EU’s Council of Ministers)
Xavier Prats Monné, Director-General of DG Education and Culture, European Commission: Culture
Studio Alta (main partner)
Mama Coffee (main partner)