Israeli citizens Call for Rejection of Israeli Sponsorship of the World Music Festival Bratislava 2018

September 2018 

Israeli citizens Call for Rejection of Israeli Sponsorship of the World Music Festival Bratislava 2018


Dear organizers and participants of World Music Festival Bratislava 2018,

We are a group of Israeli citizens active against our government's policies of racism, occupation and apartheid [1]. After decades of campaigning for democracy and equality here, we have come to the conclusion that the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, led by Palestinian civil society, is the only means of bringing about such democracy and equality in Israel/Palestine. We have learned that Bratislava is to host the World Music Festival Bratislava this month, that Israeli musician Adam Ben Ezra will be performing and that the Israeli Embassy is a partner to this event. We are asking you to refuse the Israeli government’s sponsorship of this event.

As we write this letter, Israel is committing an ongoing massacre of unarmed civilian protesters on the besieged Gaza Strip border. These protesters are claiming their basic human rights and dignity, as well as an end to the siege and their right to return to their homeland [2]. The Israeli government and its military have murdered more than 150 Palestinians [3] in the Gaza Strip in the past five months, including minors and children. Furthermore, in the West Bank, as well as within Israel itself, Palestinians are subjected to a growing system of apartheid, with over 60 laws denying them basic equality and civil rights [4]. Persecution of Palestinian political parties is also escalating [4], and blood libels by Israeli public officials against the Palestinian population are common [5]. Moreover, the Israeli parliament has recently enacted a racist law of grave constitutional importance - the 'Nation-State Law', which consolidates the discrimination against Israel's Palestinian citizens [6]. The State of Israel is committing systematic house demolitions and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Bedouin communities [7], including the ongoing Israeli government's attempt to demolish the Bedouin village of Khan Al Ahmar in the West Bank and uproot its inhabitants [8].


One of the main strategies used by the Israeli Foreign Ministry is known as 'whitewashing': Israel diverts attention from its violations of international law to music and art, with a clear propaganda purpose [9]. The Israeli government counts on events such as yours to support this propaganda campaign. In other words, the Israeli government subverts artistic work for the perpetuation of a racist oppressive system.


A music festival can be the highest expression of the values and qualities of humanity. However, by accepting Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs funding, your festival would lend legitimacy to our government's war crimes and violations of international law, and would whitewash an oppressive system of occupation and apartheid. We urge you again to refuse Israeli government sponsorship.


We note that the BDS campaign does not target individual Israeli artists who perform privately abroad (for example, when the local festival pays for their flight and accommodation). However, if the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including Israeli embassies,is a sponsor of the festival, Adam Ben Ezra's performance should be conditional upon cancellation of Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs funding, since this would be used to whitewash apartheid and severe human rights violations, as we have already mentioned above.


As Israeli citizens, it is our responsibility to resist the criminal policies of our government – the legalized discrimination against non-Jewish citizens, the occupation, the apartheid system, and the expulsion of the native Palestinian population.


Therefore, we urge you to refuse the sponsorship of the Israeli embassy, and stand on the right side of history.


We would be interested in any question or comment you may have.



Boycott from within (Israeli citizens for BDS)