Dear organizers of the Bratislava Jazz Days Festival,
We are citizens of Israel who oppose our government’s policies of colonialism, military occupation, and apartheid against the Palestinian people . We write to you in support of the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli institutions , and specifically the call to boycott Israeli academic and cultural institutions . We support this campaign since it follows universal principles of human rights, including opposition to any form of racism.
We are writing to you about the sponsorship provided by the Israeli embassy to your festival. By accepting the sponsorship of the Israeli embassy, you are providing the Israeli government with a cheap cover to distract from its real record. This record has been condemned by every credible report on human rights, including UN experts .
Israeli policies include a continued occupation, now in its 50th year, whereby millions of Palestinians live without basic rights , in addition to systematic discrimination of those Palestinians who are citizens of the state .
Accepting Israeli sponsorship lends the Israeli government a much sought after distraction from its own human rights violations. It is the stated policy of the Israeli foreign ministry to use cultural events for such purposes, as stated by an Israeli official: “We see culture as a propaganda tool of the first rank, and I do not differentiate between propaganda and culture” . This creates a perverse situation whereby a jazz festival is used to perpetuate gross human rights violations.
For the sake of your reputation and for the sake of respect for human rights, please refuse to accept Israeli sponsorship of your festival.
We would be interested in your comments.
(Aka Boycott from Within, Israeli citizens for BDS)