BfW reaffirms the need for cultural BDS: Israeli artist unions accept regime censorship, will not boycott Akko Festival

September 2017

Note from Boycott from Within (BFW): Here is another indication of the need for an institutional cultural boycott of Israel:


Report: Israeli artist unions accept regime censorship, will not boycott Akko Festival

(Hebrew source: NRG/Maariv, link below)

"The unions of artists and artistic Creators have agreed on ending the boycott of the Akko Festival, following the Akko Mayor's decision to [censor] the play "Prisoners of the Occupation", by Einat Weizman, which deals with Palestinian [combatants] imprisoned in Israel. The Israeli Actors Union (Shaha"m), the Union of Independent Artistic Creators and the Union of Theater Directors in Israel (Bat"i) consequently published a joint statement last month, calling for a boycott of the 38 year old festival. Many members of the Festival's artistic committee resigned following the publication [and censorship], including artistic director AviGibson Bar-El.

Yoram Brawerman, Director of the Culture Department at the Jerusalem Municipality, and one of the heads of the Union of Culture Directors, told NRG that he and his colleagues did not agree to enable the destruction of the festival by those calling for a boycott. "Alongside hundreds of boycottersthere are hundreds in another actors' union who are not boycotting. This festival has been running for a long time, it is very important in the theater world, and it has been running professionally for many years. We hope it will continue like that".

Brawerman argues that the boycott is the result of "Much ado about nothing", and says: "The unions of actors and artistic creators do not let the facts confuse them...Whoever cares about the Festival and the theater world must empower the Festival instead of boycotting it. The Festival has proven for years that it allows everyone to express themselves, and it will prove that this year as well". The Festival Director, Albert Ben Shlush, told NRG: "Many artists in Israel are threatened, and there is widespread silencing here by the unions, yet we have succeeded in organizing a proper festival with Israeli artists and very beautiful content. I am glad that there will be Zionist groups in the Festival, unlike in the past".

A source in the Union of Culture Directors had added and clarified that the Union's exceptional message serves to deliver a message to the boycotting artists: "Whoever boycotts [the Festival] - Others will boycott them. We have the power, and we will settle the scores with the boycotters".

Hebrew source:


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